Challenges of being underweight & benefits of nutrition beverages: Q&A with Jennifer Yan, RD

What types of people need help with gaining weight?

Many individuals have trouble gaining and maintaining weight and this can happen at any age. It’s more than an inconvenience. In fact, being underweight can be just as dangerous to your health as being overweight. Common groups affected include the elderly and those who suffer from eating disorders, autoimmune disease, and GI disorders to name a few. As a Certified Specialist in Oncology, I work closely with people going through cancer treatment, or cancer survivors who, usually because of the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, often have trouble putting on weight and muscle mass, and have a low appetite. Many of my colleagues have also indicated that weight gain challenges and low appetite are also common for those living with other chronic health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, and AIDS.

Why are high-calorie beverages helpful for those with trouble gaining weight?

High-calorie beverages (also branded as nutritional supplements), such as Reason, are an effective product in helping people improve weight and muscle mass. These drinks contain more calories and protein per serving compared to other health beverages, and when consumed regularly, they can lead to favorable weight gain, muscle gain, and they can improve one’s overall appetite. I recommend these products for my patients and would recommend them for anyone struggling with persistent weight loss. That said, not all high-calorie beverages are made the same. I would implore anyone looking to add these beverages to their diet to do their research and learn about the ingredients and quality of the product.

What are your thoughts on Reason’s Nutrition Beverage?

Reason’s Nutrition Beverage is an effective product for people looking to gain weight for two reasons:

The flavor, the mouthfeel, and the lack of an aftertaste are all positives. Most high-calorie drinks have a lasting aftertaste and a very odd consistency – a “chalky” feel inside their mouth. These products often taste like the person is consuming a medical drink. This is not the case with Reason’s Nutrition Beverage. My patients have told me it tastes great and many have compared their experience to consuming chocolate milk you buy at the grocery store. Ultimately if the beverage tastes good, this is what matters most for people with low appetite and low weight. If they like how it tastes, they will continue to drink it regularly and eventually see results. 

The nutritional profile of the beverage is also quite good. All-natural, non-GMO ingredients and MCT oils are all beneficial for people looking gain weight, while ensuring they’re putting the right stuff in their body. One factor that appeals to many patients is that it is lower in sugar content than most. This is a big deal these days, as we’re learning more and more about the harms of sugar as a potential risk factor in developing certain diseases and chronic conditions, in addition to sugar being a known culprit in unhealthy weight gain. It’s difficult to achieve a high-calorie beverage without adding a lot of sugar. Many commercial products to support weight gain are high in sugar so it’s nice to see a product like Reason’s Nutrition Beverage that has a low glycemic index. The coconut derived MCT oil in the beverage has also been shown to support digestion and stimulate appetite while being a healthy fat to consume. All in all, the ingredients are clean and I’m seeing that while taste continues to be the dominant factor affecting my patient’s choice of beverage, more and more are looking at the ingredients and paying attention to what they are putting in their body.

There are many nutritional beverages on the market, why would you recommend Reason?

I work with people who are going through cancer treatment and many of them struggle with ongoing weight loss as a result. Side effects from cancer treatment can include nausea, loss of appetite, and for people with certain cancers, they’re not able to chew and swallow food, often requiring them to go on a liquid diet. Reason’s Nutrition Beverage can support what they need. Plain and simple. The product has a favorable taste, it’s well digested, and it has healthy ingredients. When I see a beverage that is getting healthy calories into people who have trouble with eating and maintaining an appetite, I deem it appropriate and will recommend they incorporate the product into their regular dietary plan. These individuals need the extra calories and the beverage is easy for them to sip a little – and enjoy each sip – and get a lot of calories. And since Reason provides much higher calories than other similar products on the market, my patients only need to drink a few bottles as opposed to five or six bottles of another nutritional drink.

What have your patients been telling you about Reason’s Nutrition Beverage?

Most are brief in their feedback and tell me it just tastes good. As I mentioned, many have told me it tastes like regular chocolate milk which gives them a familiar sensation from life before they started their cancer treatment. This is wonderful to hear. Prior to having my patients try Reason’s Nutrition Beverage, I recall them commenting that most high-calorie beverages they tried had poor consistency and they often could taste additives in the drinks. This made it an unpleasant experience. Patients tell me that Reason has a good mouthfeel without the aftertaste. This palatability is important because it keeps them consuming the beverage in the long-term which gets them back to a healthy weight and supports their full recovery following cancer treatment.

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