Serving sorbet before nursing home meals improves food intake, researchers find

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Nursing home residents who have a sorbet appetizer tend to eat more at mealtime and maintain their weight, according to findings from a small study done by researchers at Gonzaga University and the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater.

Twenty-two nursing home residents completed the two-phase study. In the first phase, they consumed two ounces of a non-citrus beverage before lunch and dinner for six weeks. This was followed by six weeks in which they ate two ounces of lemon-lime sorbet instead.

The residents ate significantly more food at dinner while on the sorbet regimen, the researchers found. They also drank less liquid during the meal. Overall, 18 either gained or maintained their weight, and four lost weight during the study period. The results suggest that a larger study is called for, the researchers said.

Findings appear in Geriatric Nursing.

Previous research has shown that sorbet consumption increases salivation more than drinking water does. The increased salivation was linked with more food consumption.

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