Liquid diets become a way of life for some Crohn’s disease patients, with many choosing the much safer liquid formulas over taking medications with dangerous side effects.
Liquid formulas can be especially beneficial to children, whose developing bodies can sometimes be adversely affected by the side effects of many Crohn’s medications.
One of the biggest downsides of liquid formulas is that they are simply difficult to get actually consume, with tastes that have been likened to flavored chalk.
Below are a few different types of formulas with a description of their palatability, from worst to best.
Sold by Nestle, Peptamen is a member of the enteral family of Crohn’s formulas. Peptamen not only provides Crohn’s patients with all their nutritional needs while going easy on the digestive system, the product also contains peptides that has been found to reduce diarrhea.
The product has been said to have a bitter taste, causing many to question whether polymeric formulas like Ensure are just as affective while being easier to swallow.
This herbal remedy for Crohn’s comes in powder form, intended to be mixed with water and put through a blender. Slippery Elm works by coating the digestive tract, including the small intestines, and the antioxidants found in Slippery Elm help reduce inflammation. Additionally, Slippery Elm is said to create excess mucus production in the gastrointestinal tract, which can reduce acidity, helping ease Crohn’s symptoms.
While Slippery Elm doesn’t necessarily have a repulsive taste, its taste is neutral enough that Crohn’s patients can stomach it to achieve the desired results.
Also available in powder form to be dissolved in water, licorice is said to help battle bacteria in the intestinal tract, which helps cut down on inflammation. Since inflammation causes many of the symptoms experienced by Crohn’s sufferers, this can help combat the effects of the disease.
Known for its candy-like flavor, licorice root has been described as sweet and mellow, making it easily digestible by Crohn’s patients.
Perhaps the best-known polymeric liquid formula, Ensure comes in a "plus" version to help with weight gain when needed. Polymeric liquid formulas are designed to relieve stress on the digestive system, as well as providing extra nutrition and energy.
The good news about Ensure is that its popularity has given customers a wide range of flavors from which to choose. Current offerings include chocolate, vanilla, strawberries and cream, butter pecan, and coffee.
While expensive, this formula gets high marks for its taste. Available in flavors like French vanilla, chocolate, berry, and unsweetened vanilla, Absorb Plus is designed to remove bowel stress in Crohn’s patients. Absorb Plus creates a less solid, usually runny stool that passes through the colon.
While taste isn’t the only factor in choosing a nutritional formula for Crohn’s disease, with so many products on the market, it should be easy to find a formula with a taste that you like without having to spend a fortune.
Since some patients find themselves exclusively on a liquid diet, it’s important to find a formula with a variety of flavors to prevent burning out on the same flavor, day in and day out.