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What are medical foods?

What are medical foods and what is their role in therapeutic nutrition?

What are medical foods, and what is their role in therapeutic nutrition? According to the FDA, medical foods must have the following characteristics:

  • Specially formulated for consumption or enteral administration under the supervision of a physician.
  • Intended for the specific dietary management of a disease or condition with established nutritional requirements based on recognized scientific principles and medical evaluation.

Medical foods differ from foods for special dietary use since they are not simply recommended as part of an overall diet to manage the symptoms or reduce the risk of a disease or condition. Instead, medical foods are specially formulated and processed for patients who require their use as a major component of a disease or condition’s specific dietary management. See a few examples:

  •  The use of a ketogenic diet in the dietary management of intractable epilepsy.
  • Specific nutritional formulas to improve glucose control and manage type 2 diabetes.
  • Renal-friendly oral nutritional supplements for patients with end-stage renal disease.
  • Special formulas for infants with inborn errors of the metabolism.

Do you know any other examples of medical foods? Leave your comment below or contact me at [email protected] to discuss innovation and commercial opportunities in this space.

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