Oral nutritional supplements are typically used in addition to the normal diet, when diet alone is insufficient to meet daily nutritional requirements. These products may be needed for a brief amount of time, such as after surgery, or for a longer period of time, such as aiding with weight gain. Oral nutritional supplements are specially formulated to help you meet your calorie, protein and micronutrients needs when you are unable to take enough food in. These products may be consumed individually, incorporated into other foods or beverages or used in cooking to make delicious recipes which can be easily prepared in your home.
Enteral nutrition, also known as tube feeding is another method of nutritional therapy and should be used in patients who cannot meet their nutrient requirements by oral intake, yet have a functional gastrointestinal tract. The process of tube feeding involves having a small tube inserted directly into your stomach or intestines. This may be done through your nose, mouth or through a small hole made in your abdomen. Tube feeding formulas are specially formulated with appropriate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and fluids to mimic an ideal diet. Enteral nutrition can be used as a supplement to someone's diet, or it may be the sole source of nutrition.