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Why Do Chemo Patients Lose Appetite and Interest in Food?
Dealing with cancer is an incredibly challenging ordeal. Coping with the side effects of chemotherapy can be just as painful. Side effects such as nausea, fatigue, hair loss, and mouth sores can make living with cancer a dreadful experience. Of all the side effects of chemotherapy, the loss of appetite is one of the most impactful. A loss of appetite can result in malnutrition, which can keep a chemotherapy patient from recovering as they should. To get the nutrients they need while enduring appetite loss during chemotherapy treatment, cancer patients can drink nutrition shakes. To learn more about why chemotherapy patients lose their appetites and interest in food and how ENU nutritional shakes can be used for nutritional support for cancer patients, continue reading.
Why Does Appetite Loss Occur in Chemotherapy Patients?
Most cancer patients know that chemotherapy can be just as painful as the cancer that it’s meant to treat. Cancer itself is not often the cause of loss of appetite. Chemotherapy and its side effects can lead to a loss of appetite. Cancer can create changes in a patient’s metabolism, which can affect their body’s relationship to hunger and appetite. Most of the changes in appetite, however, come from the side effects of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy often causes nausea and an upset stomach, which can result in a loss of a desire to eat. Chemotherapy can also make patients feel fatigued and depressed, another source of a loss of appetite. Some chemotherapy patients may lose their appetite because it is physically difficult to eat—chemotherapy can cause patients to develop mouth sores (also known as oral mucositis), have trouble swallowing, and lose their sense of taste.
What to Do If You Have No Appetite During Chemotherapy Treatment
Even though many chemotherapy patients have to endure a loss of appetite, it’s still vital that they get the nutrients they need. One way to get a balanced profile of nutrients is to drink meal replacement shakes, but some other habits and techniques can be implemented to make eating more manageable, such as the following.
Only Eat When You’re Hungry
Waiting to eat until you truly feel hungry, instead of forcing yourself to eat, can be an effective way to eat a more considerable amount of food. Instead of the traditional model of three meals a day, chemotherapy patients should try eating small meals throughout the day, tailored around peaks in appetite and activity. If, for example, you know that you are usually hungriest in the morning, eat a large breakfast and then continue to eat smaller meals as the day goes on. Be prepared to make the most of your appetite, whenever it appears.
Don’t Drink Liquids with Meals
Liquids take up valuable space in the stomach that can be used to store food instead. Chemotherapy patients can increase their appetites by refraining from drinking liquids at mealtimes and instead focusing on consuming food. To avoid dehydration, drink plenty of water and other fluids between meals.
Aim for Calorie Density
Chemotherapy patients who are struggling with a loss of appetite can make the most of the food they eat by choosing calorie-dense foods. Look for fatty foods since fat has a high-calorie density—milkshakes are always a good option, as is cheese and foods cooked with butter. Foods that are high in protein are a good idea, too, since they can help build muscle mass.
Getting All of The Nutrients You Need During Chemotherapy
When your appetite is compromised, getting nutrients should be a top priority. A balanced diet can not only boost the immune system, but it can also help maintain high levels of energy, prevent anxiety and depression, and decrease the risk of infection.
ENU nutritional shakes have a full nutrient profile that can keep chemotherapy patients satiated and nourished so they can have the strength to fight their cancer and the side effects of chemotherapy. They contain all of the macronutrients that the body needs to function properly (protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats) in a ratio that promotes optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients.
ENU nutritional shakes can be incorporated into recipes to meet the whims of the appetite. It should be noted, though, that ENU nutritional shakes should be used as a liquid nutritional supplement for cancer patients to well-balanced meals comprised of fresh foods.
Protein is a necessary macronutrient because it helps with the growth and repair of damaged body tissue and helps maintain a functioning immune system. Chemotherapy patients should make protein intake a priority because protein can help with weight management, which is essential for chemotherapy patients who are facing weight loss due to appetite loss. The protein in ENU nutritional shakes is derived from whey isolate, one of the most quickly absorbed sources of protein.
The body needs carbohydrates for energy, which is why chemotherapy patients should seek nutritional shakes that have a healthy amount of carbohydrates. ENU nutritional shakes contain carbohydrates that come from complex carbohydrate sources such as brown rice, quinoa, and tapioca.
Healthy fats are necessary for aiding the absorption of other nutrients and providing a sense of satiety. The fats in ENU nutritional shakes come from sunflower oil and coconut oil, which are high in medium-chain triglycerides and Omega-6s.
Nutrition Shakes for Chemotherapy Patients Suffering From Appetite Loss
Getting all of the nutrients that your body needs—protein, carbs, fats, and vital vitamins and minerals—is a crucial part of making it through chemotherapy. ENU’s tasty meal replacement shakes can help. If you or someone you know is seeking a way to get nutrients despite a loss of appetite during chemotherapy, get in touch with ENU today by calling (855) 266-6733 or visiting us online.