Oral Nutritional Supplements

Oral Nutritional Supplements (ONS) are a type of Food for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP) and are specially-made food products with energy, protein and other nutrients.

They come in different forms, flavours and textures, and can be taken throughout the day. It is useful within a management plan to use these products as a nutritional support for people considered to be malnourished. However, it is important that these products are used under medical supervision.

ONS are useful for all people considered to be malnourished. For example, people with specific medical conditions. The objective of ONS is help these people to get an additional daily intake of at least 400kcal and 30g of proteins¹.

Scientific studies have shown that the regular consumption of ONS decreases weight loss, improves physical fitness and immunity and, contrary to what you might think, does not affect appetite and can even improve it. In a nutshell, ONS can improve a person’s quality of life.

It has even been demonstrated that the use of ONS decreases hospitalisation rates and lowers health costs if taken appropriately.

In conclusion, ONS represent a safe and effective way to fight malnutrition.

For information about relevant international standards, see the ISDI brochure on Foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP).

Download the factsheet.

1. Dorothee Volkert, et al. ESPEN guideline on clinical nutrition and hydration in geriatrics, Clin Nutr. 2019 Feb;38(1):10-47. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2018.05.024

2. Better care through better nutrition: Value and effects of Medical Nutrition. Medical Nutrition International.

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Managing adult malnutrition

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Introducing a patient to the benefits of ONS