Tag Archives: Nutrition loss through rethermalization

Hospital Food: Will evidence and accountability be the end of rethermalized food?

The food served in hospital may be directly linked to chances of survival for critically ill patients according to Dr. Daren Heyland, a staff physician at Kingston General Hospital.

Heyland and his research team has just received a grant from the U.S. National Institute of Health to continue research into meeting the nutrition needs of high risk, critically ill patients. According to release from Queen’s University, such a grant to a Canadian researcher is rare.

“The optimal amount of energy and protein given to a critically ill patient remains unclear but CERU’s (Queen’s University Clinical Evaluation Research Unit) review of current intensive care unit nutrition practice shows over recent years the amount of energy and protein delivered to critically ill patients is too low,” the release states (emphasis added).

There’s no question that every time you process food, it loses much of its nutritional value.

When a hospital converts from fresh to rethermalized food service, the patient meals lose more nutrition in the cooking, freezing, and reheating process. This is a scientific fact.

The proteins that patients need are altered in the process, or what some call “denaturing.” According to one source, “protein molecules are long chains of 100 or more amino acids all linked together forming a coil called an alpha helix. When a protein is stressed, as it is when it is heated or cooked, it begins to uncoil and changes, losing or altering some of its properties.”

Earlier this year OPSEU took advantage of the freedom of information process to seek food costs at South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC).

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