There is much to be said about Nestle Health Science, and that information can be found here. To recap briefly, Nestle Health Science has aggressively campaigned against the blenderized diet community for many years through extremely unethical practices, pushing their enteral formulas their enteral formulas onto the tube-fed community instead.
Nestle Health Science used to present warnings on its website that blenderized diets have high levels of bacteria and contribute to illnesses. No study ever done has shown that blenderized diets contribute to illness. Studies that are cited to claim blenderized diets are filled with bacteria were conducted in Iran in hospitals already well documented to contain food in their kitchens that is highly contaminated and other similar circumstances (For example, see this study here).
They have since removed this warning, but still hint at it on their website when they mention blenderized diets. Still, the use of blenderized diets has continued to dramatically increase.
Now that Nestle Health Science has seen that so many in the tube-fed community have rejected their formulas and refused to be bamboozled or coerced by their practices and that their sales were dropping as time passed, they have developed a prepackaged pureed food designed for tube feeding. You can learn many of the reasons why I do not support or condone the use of this product here.
Nestle Health Science itself is marketing themselves to sound as though the are the very first company to develop a shelf-stable product of pureed food as if this was their idea. Seeing that claim in their marketing was a little difficult for me to take in at first. Nestle Health Science is not the first company do this.
The very first person to get this idea to develop a diet of ready-to-feed real, nutritious food for tube-fed people is a woman named Robin Gentry McGee. After her father suffered an injury from a fall and after she watched him wasting away with the enteral formulas currently available, she determined there must be something better for the tube-fed community to turn to.
While Nestle Health Science was busy chugging out sugar-laden beverages for tube feeding, Robin was spending 8 years researching various ingredients to produce a product that she believed would be the best diet for a medically compromised person to consume. She concluded that a diet that is organic, non-GMO, and plant-based was the best diet she could offer the tube-fed community. She developed this idea long before Nestle Health Science ever gave it a thought, and Functional Formularies, the makers of Liquid Hope and Nourish, was born. Functional Formularies was the first to come up with this idea.
Years later, Nestle Health Science has now launched their product, claiming to be the “first” simply because they added chicken and fruit to their product. It would not bother me so much that Nestle Health Science is not the first to come up with this idea. What bothers me is that they are making claims that are “technically” true (they are indeed the first to use organic chicken and fruit in a product like this.) It isn’t a false claim, but it is misleading as it could easily be perceived to mean that they are the first to develop the idea of a pre-made, real-food product. If they willing to participate in such marketing techniques, what else are they willing to do to us?
But, let’s go with what they are saying. They are the first to create a product of pureed food for enteral feeding that includes organic fruit. OK. And it seems they are using quite a bit of it at that. In one product, mango is listed as the very first ingredient. In the other, pears is the second ingredient if you don’t count the water.
Look, I’m not against people eating fruit, but fruit should not be the most abundant ingredient in a person’s diet. A well balanced diet does not consist of a person eating more mango than anything else, for example. If you look at the MyPlate visual, provided by choosemyplate.gov, you will notice that the fruits category is most certainly not the largest of food groups. On the contrary, it is one of the smaller groups.
As nutritious as fruit is, eating too much means a diet high in fructose. Diets high in fructose are associated with a variety of medical issues (see this review here, see the brief introduction and its cited references here, and look over this study about fructose-rich diets here). Some people actually are better off consuming no fruit and avoiding fructose entirely whether temporarily or permanently.
By comparison, Nourish, made by Functional Formularies, contains whole foods like cooked brown rice, sprouted quinoa, whole peas, and olive and flax oil rather than ingredients like canola oil and excessive amounts of fruit purees. These ingredients were chosen by Functional Formularies because they are high quality ingredients that contribute to positive health outcomes.
I once spoke with Robin, the founder of Functional Formularies, to ask why she chose not to include fruit in her products. She explained that there are many people who are better off not consuming fructose due to medical reasons. For those that would like to use fruit, it can easily be added in. However, if she adds fruit to the products, it cannot be taken back out. It made more sense to just leave it out.
And speaking of talking to Robin, I’ve asked Robin lots of questions about her products. I’ve asked questions about her reasons for choosing various ingredients and also questions about how they manufacture Liquid Hope and Nourish. She has answered every question I have asked. I know many tubie mamas who had questions as well, and they were always answered in full.
Compare this to Nestle Health Science. A mom I know recently reached out to Nestle Health Science to ask some basic questions about their products. I was wondering about some issues, too. I notice, for example, they list “puree” on their ingredients. What this implies is that they are possibly purchasing their ingredients already pureed and then, combining them. However, I was unsure of this and was curious to find out.
The reason this matters to me is it could mean the food is heated to high levels two separate times rather than only once. Does this make a difference? I don’t know. But, it might. And because it might, that would be important information to know.
You see, to make a product shelf stable, it has to be brought to higher temperatures. This does change some aspects of the food. That does not mean the food is no longer beneficial, of course. But, it does change the food. The question is, then, does this change all the more if it’s heated to sterilize a second time? And if so, would that be enough change to push things over the edge where very important benefits are lost completely? This would be important to know.
And so, my friend reached out to Nestle Health Science, and asked whether the food is heated two separate times. She asked whether they get whole food and puree and heat it themselves or whether they get the food already pureed and heated and then, mix it together and heat for sterilization again.
Nestle Health Science refused to answer. If you have the choice between a company that openly answers your questions so you can be as informed as possible about a product and a company that hides important information, which company would you feel most comfortable with?
Then again, could we expect anything else from a company that has expected children and adults to live off of formulas with multiple times the recommended daily limit of sugar?
Nestle Health Science brags in its marketing that it’s the only maker of pre-made, ready-to-feed shelf-stable pureed food that has forty years of experience in the food industry. Perhaps that would be something to tout if it were not for the fact that the foods this company has made during those forty years are so unhealthful. Their experience thus far has been to produce enteral formulas absolutely loaded with added sugar that they conducted virtually no proper research on whatsoever. That’s not exactly a history to be proudly shouting from the mountain top.
What we know about Nestle Health Science, based on the information I present here, is Nestle Health Science has consistently shown a complete disregard for the health of its consumers. They have not earned our trust. Taking it a step further, they have earned our distrust. Their most recent marketing about them being the first organic blah, blah, blah confirms that all the more. Functional Formularies was the first to offer an organic, non-GMO option for enteral feeding, and they did this years before Nestle Health Science did.
Once again, I implore you to reject this product and turn to those available that are far superior.
If you would like much more in-depth information about the scientific data surrounding enteral nutrition, check out my book, Stand for Food, here.
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