Substantial nutrient loss in food occurs in hospital foodservice operations, according to Montclair State University researchers whose findings were recently published in the Journal of Foodservice
The study, led by Dr. Charles Feldman, a professor at MSU’s Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences, quantifies how much Vitamin C – as a marker of nutrient quality – is retained at various stages of processing at two New Jersey hospitals.
The study found that the nutrient quality of Vitamin C was significantly reduced– by as much as 86 percent at a hospital in an inner-city neighborhood – by the time the food reached patients.
Many nutrients, including Vitamin C, degrade at high temperatures. This loss may result from food being heated to a temperature much higher than recommended by hospital foodservice so as to still be warm when served to patients.
As improved nutritional status correlates with faster healing and recovery, leading to reduced hospital stays, the study’s authors concluded that hospitals need improved cooking methods to reduce the loss of nutrients in foods served to patients.