Every patient needs a nutritious diet when they are in hospital

Myth: It’s OK if overweight people in hospital don’t eat for a while, they’ve got weight to lose.

That’s false. The truth is very different. No matter what weight a person is, their body will react the same way when food intake is limited. So taking a ‘food first’ approach for all patients who can eat and drink is essential.

Within 24-72 hours of not eating, the body will have used up its readily available energy stores.

It will then start to break down fat and protein stores from muscles in the arms and legs and even internal organs to make sure the body can continue to function. Patients who have not eaten will feel tired and have less muscle function to undertake normal activities putting them at increased risk of infection, skin damage and falls.

We can all play a part in encouraging patients to eat and drink as an essential part of the care we provide. This ultimately will help patients recover quicker and can reduce their time in hospital.

For more information, visit: www.nhsggc.org.uk/foodfirst