ucsf-logo.jpg In a bid to look slim, teens end up starving themselves to the point of anorexia. When such adolescents receive treatment for the same, usually by a process of refeeding, they failed to put on weight in the initial week while in the hospital, as reported by professionals from the University of California (UCSF).

According to the guidelines from the American Dietetic Association and The American Psychiatric Association, the patients are fed around 1,200 calories every day, slowly progressing to 200 calories each day. This kind of ‘begin low and advance slow’ avenue seemingly led to restraining the refeeding syndrome. The latter is a life-threatening condition mostly occurring when the nutrition therapy has just begun for a food-deprived individual.

Andrea Garber, PhD, RD, associate professor of pediatrics in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at UCSF, commented, “Our findings show that the current recommendations are just not effective.”

For the investigation, about 35 female adolescents admitted due to malnutrition, low blood pressure, BMI, heart rate and body temperature, were incorporated. They were then exposed to low calorie diets as per the present recommendations.

The subjects were made to consume 6 small meals each day and in case of food denial they were given a supplant in the form of a high calorie liquid supplement. The electrolytes and other important symptoms were inspected 2 times each day.

Though the low calorie diets appeared to prohibit the refeeding syndrome, the girls apparently failed to gain weight and also encountered substantial weight loss at the initial stage in the hospital.

The experts are of the opinion that weight gain is critical during the patients’ limited stay in the health care home. Basically, the team found that starting with a low calorie diet did not supposedly help. Beginning with a high calorie diet resulted in the patients staying for a relatively less time in the hospital. Also, the proportion of calories started off at the start of the nutrition therapy indicated the amount of weight loss attained by the patient. This implied that a low-calorie diet prescribed at the start led to considerably greater weight loss.

The outcome also showed that high calorie diets given to anorexic patients presumably did not lead to any sort of harmful side-effects. The professionals concluded that gaining weight by consuming high calorie food could be the right way to combat anorexia.

The study is published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.