Keeping weight on (nutritional supplements)

Pancreatic Cancer Action
Patient Information Booklets

Diet and Nutrition for Patients

This booklet contains information about how pancreatic cancer can affect your diet and nutrition. Provides information on managing dietary symptoms such as malabsorption, enzyme replacement, poor appetite, weight loss and managing diarrhoea. Contains a section about dietary supplements and information about diabetes and diet.

Recipe Book Front Cover
Patient Information Booklets

Patient Recipe Book

This recipe book provides advice on how best to combat cancer-induced weight loss and other eating related problems whilst undergoing pancreatic cancer treatment. It features over 80 quick, easy and energy dense recipes for nourishing meals and snacks that have been created specifically for people who find it hard to maintain a healthy weight.

Many people with pancreatic cancer will find that they have difficulty maintaining or putting on weight. Nutritional supplements may be helpful to maintain weight and to ensure that you are getting enough vitamins and minerals.

Nutritional supplements are used to supplement your diet and where possible should not be used in place of ordinary foods. 

There are many different types of products available – some you can buy (non-prescription) and others are only available on prescription. Some have a sweet taste and others savoury and some have no taste at all and can be added to other foods. Nutritional supplements come in three main groups: 

  • Nutritional drinks – juices, milkshake and high energy shots 
  • Energy and protein supplements – powders to add to milk, cream and soups 
  • Nourishing puddings – useful for people struggling to swallow. 

If you are in doubt about whether you need a nutritional supplement and which one will be best for you, always consult your dietitian or GP. 

Nutritional drinks

Nutritional drinks will come in either savoury, sweet or neutral (non-flavoured) varieties and can be served hot or cold. Other foods such as fruit and ice cream can be added to make them tastier. Non-flavoured drinks can be taken on their own or flavourings such as milkshake syrups can be added. 

nutritional supplements

Nutritional drinks and supplements on prescription

Your medical team and dietitian will advise you if they feel you need nutritional supplements on prescription and how often you should take them. Many supplement products have a high sugar content and people with diabetes should seek advice from their doctor, diabetes nurse or dietitian before commencing on a course of nutritional supplements. 

If you are in doubt about whether you need a nutritional supplement and which one will be best for you, always consult your dietitian or GP.

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Information Product № PCA0015v1 Published 15/10/2019
Last Updated 02/07/2024 Next Review Due 27/06/2027