By: Dr. John Bagnulo, Director of Nutrition

The arrival of Nourish, Functional Formularies new pediatric formula, represents another important milestone in the world of enteral nutrition and critical care. Up until now, young children that could not eat food orally and those who require tube feeding have not had an organic, whole food-based feeding formula option. While over the past three years, some families and care providers have chosen and have had success with Liquid Hope, Functional Formularies’ formula created to meet the nutritional needs for adults, there is now a more age-specific fit. This helps alleviate some of the stress and decision making that care providers have had in trying to decide between a sugar-laden, highly refined, chemically-preserved pediatric formula and an organic, whole food, no sugar added adult formula for their child or patient.

While both Liquid Hope and Nourish are made up of a short list of organic ingredients, there are some distinct differences that are worth discussing in greater detail. First, Nourish is free of almond butter and that helps children who may have a nut allergy. The exception of almond butter in Nourish now makes Nourish free of the top 8 food allergens (soy, milk, wheat, shellfish, peanuts, eggs, shellfish, and tree nuts). Another major difference between Liquid Hope and Nourish is in the source of each formula’s fats. Liquid Hope relies primarily on organic flax oil and while Nourish still contains some organic flax oil, the majority of its fat is delivered in the form of organic, extra virgin olive oil. The essential fatty acids found in the organic flax oil are important, but children need less of them and the organic, extra virgin olive oil provides both a stable and physiologically compatible fat for children.

Additionally, there is less fiber and less protein in Nourish than in Liquid Hope, but these are changes that Functional Formularies feels are actually less important than the two changes discussed previously. Both Liquid Hope and Nourish have safe levels of fiber and protein, but these changes have come at the request of care providers who have expressed concern around the amount of plant protein found in Liquid Hope.

In the end, the decision "Liquid Hope or Nourish?" should primarily take into account a person’s nutritional needs. Does the person need more vitamins and minerals or less? More protein and fiber or less? More calories in a given volume or less? Is almond butter or food allergies a concern? The decision is best suited for a person’s Registered Dietitian or physician, but can be helped by the patient and/or caregiver and the interdisciplinary team of healthcare providers.

Dr. John Bagnulo is the Director of Nutrition at Functional Formularies and leads nutrition research and development initiatives. Learn more about Dr. Bagnulo here.