Good nutrition in the absence of any underlying disease process results from the
ingestion of a balanced diet.
The MyPyramid (formerly the Food Guide Pyramid) consists of food groups that are
presented in proportions appropriate for a healthy diet, including grains, vegetables,
fruits, oils, milk, and meat and beans.
The National Research Council recommends that at least half of the body’s energy needs
should come from carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 from Healthy People 2010 recommends that
people reduce their fat intake to 20% to 35% of their total daily caloric intake.
An average adult requires an estimated 20 to 35 calories per kilogram of body weight per
day, leaning toward the higher end if the person is critically ill or very active and the
lower end if the person is sedentary.
The recommended daily protein intake is 0.8 to 1 g/kg of body weight.
Vegetarians can have vitamin or protein deficiencies unless their diets are well planned.
Culture, personal preferences, socioeconomic status, and religious preferences can
influence food choices.
The nurse should include cultural and ethnic considerations when assessing the patient’s
diet history and implementing interventions that require dietary changes.
Malnutrition is common in hospitalized patients.
With starvation, the body initially uses carbohydrates (glycogen) rather than fat and
protein to meet metabolic needs. Once carbohydrate stores are depleted, protein begins to
be converted to glucose for energy.
Factors that contribute to malnutrition include socioeconomic status, cultural influences,
psychologic disorders, medical conditions, and medical treatments.
Regardless of the cause of the illness, most sick persons have increased nutritional needs.
Each degree of temperature increase on the Fahrenheit scale