Meals & Feeding Studies

Research Meals & Feeding Studies

Bionutritionists are experienced in the design and implementation of test meals and research diets to provide a specific nutrient composition for a study. The Bionutrition Research Kitchen is specially equipped and the staff is highly trained to prepare and serve meals and to document their consumption.  Test meals of specific nutrient composition can be served on a timed schedule.  Research meals can be served at any CTRC unit or can be packed and sent home with a participant.  

The Bionutrition Unit is especially skilled at the long-term provision of research meals to participants, also known as Feeding Studies.

Research Meals are packed and sent with participants for home consumption for any length of time, from days to months. Diets can be designed for weight management gain or loss, with regular monitoring and adjustments by bionutritionists to ensure goals are met. An ad-lib feeding study, where food in excess of the participant's weight maintenance needs is provided, can measure the affect of a diet on food consumption.

Meals for Research Participants

Inpatient meals are provided by OHSU Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) if the participant is not on a research diet.  When study participants visit any of the OCTRI outpatient units run by the Clinical and Translational Research Center after a period of fasting, the Bionutrition Unit can provide continental meals containing simple breakfast foods. In addition, snacks are available for participants who must be in clinic for extended visits.  Bionutritionists can also help arrange box lunches or other meals for outpatient participants; availability varies by CTRC location.

Why use CTRC Bionutrition Meal Services?

An analysis conducted in 2017, comparing the consistency of meal delivery times delivered to the unit by OHSU Food & Nutrition Services, showed that only 7 out of 15 meal trays arrived within a window of +/- 10 minutes of the scheduled delivery time. The remaining 8 meals arrived at times ranging from an hour early to 20 minutes late. Meals arriving early must be held and will either be served at an undesirable temperature or will require nursing time to heat them up. Further analysis of the carbohydrate content showed that only 7 our of 18 food items weighed within 10% of the expected weight. The remaining food items ranged from -40% to 99% of the expected weight. This variance can impact studies for which insulin dosing may affect study data.

For studies needing precisely timed meals with accurate nutrient content, the BIonutrition Unit is the best option.