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Access to a pre-sleep protein snack increases daily energy and protein intake in surgical hospitalized patients.

Clinical Nutrition 2024 March 29
BACKGROUND & AIM: In hospitalized patients, daily protein intake remains far below WHO requirements for healthy adults (0.8 g·kg-1 ·d-1 ) as well as ESPEN guidelines for patients (1.2-1.5 g·kg-1 ·d-1 ). Providing access to a pre-sleep protein dense snack between dinner and going to bed may serve as a great opportunity to increase daily energy and protein intake in hospitalized patients. However, it remains to be assessed whether protein provision prior to sleep effectively increases protein intake, or may reduce food intake throughout the remainder of the day(s). The present study evaluated the impact of giving access to a pre-sleep snack on daily energy and protein intake in patients throughout their hospitalization.

METHODS: Patients admitted to the surgical wards of the Maastricht University Medical Centre+ were randomly allocated to usual care (n = 51) or given access to a pre-sleep snack (n = 50). The pre-sleep snack consisted of 103 g cheese cubes (30 g protein) provided between 7:30 and 9:30 PM, prior to sleep. All food provided and all food consumed was weighed and recorded throughout (2-7 days) hospitalization. Daily energy and protein intake and distribution were calculated. Data were analyzed by independent T-Tests with P < 0.05 considered as statistically significant.

RESULTS: Daily energy intake was higher in the pre-sleep group (1353 ± 424 kcal d-1 ) when compared to the usual care group (1190 ± 402 kcal·d-1 ; P = 0.049). Providing patients access to a pre-sleep snack resulted in a 17% (11 ± 9 g) higher daily protein intake (0.81 ± 0.29 g·kg-1 ·d-1 ) when compared to the usual care group (0.69 ± 0.28 g·kg-1 ·d-1 ; P = 0.045). Protein intake at breakfast, lunch, and dinner did not differ between the pre-sleep and usual care groups (all P > 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Providing access to a pre-sleep protein snack, in the form of protein dense food items such as cheese, represents an effective dietary strategy to increase daily energy and protein intake in hospitalized patients. Patients consuming pre-sleep protein snacks do not compensate by lowering energy or protein intake throughout the remainder of the days. Pre-sleep protein dense food provision should be implemented in hospital food logistics to improve the nutritional intake of patients.

TRIAL REGISTER NO: NL8507 (https://trialsearch.who.int/).

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