Effects of dietary enrichment with conventional foods on energy and protein intake in older adults: a systematic review

Nutr Rev. 2015 Sep;73(9):624-33. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv023. Epub 2015 Jul 14.


Context: Decreased food intake is a common problem among older adults; it is a known cause of weight loss and may lead to malnutrition.

Objective: The objective of this systematic review was to determine the effects of dietary enrichment with conventional foods on energy and protein intake in older adults.

Data sources: Studies were identified through systematic searches of the following electronic databases: MEDLINE, via PubMed; CINAHL, via EBSCO; Web of Science; Scopus; and Google Scholar.

Study selection: Studies in older adults were included without restrictions for sample size, length of follow-up, comparators, or date or status of publication. Eligible studies were dietary-enrichment interventions with conventional foods and powdered modules that aimed to increase the energy and protein density of meals without significantly increasing the final volume of the meals.

Data extraction: Outcomes assessed included changes in energy intake, protein intake, nutritional status, body weight, functional status, and episodes of infection.

Data synthesis: Nine studies were included. The results suggest that dietary enrichment can improve energy intake in older adults. While dietary enrichment seems to increase protein intake, there is not enough evidence of sufficient quality to confirm this observation or to determine whether dietary enrichment improves other outcomes assessed in this population.

Conclusions: Additional large clinical trials with long-term interventions are needed to establish the effects of dietary enrichment in older people at risk of malnutrition.

Keywords: aging; diet therapy; malnutrition; nutritional status.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Weight
  • Diet
  • Dietary Proteins*
  • Elder Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Status
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Dietary Proteins