Background A randomized controlled trial previously conducted in radiation oncology patients demonstrated that nutrition intervention had a beneficial impact on body weight, nutritional status, and quality of life compared with standard practice, but it did not report on dietary intake data.
Objective To determine the impact of nutrition intervention compared with standard practice on dietary intake in outpatients receiving radiotherapy.
Design Prospective, randomized, controlled trial.
Subjects Sixty consecutive radiation oncology outpatients (51 men and nine women; age 61.9 +/- 14 years [mean +/- standard deviation]).
Setting Australian private radiotherapy facility.
Intervention Patients were randomly assigned to receive either nutrition intervention (n=29) (nutrition counseling following the American Dietetic Association [ADA] medical nutrition therapy [MNT] protocol for radiation oncology) or standard practice (n=31) (general nutrition talk and booklet).
Main outcome measure Dietary intake (protein, energy, fiber) assessed at baseline and at 4, 8, and 12 weeks after starting radiotherapy.
Statistical analyses Repeated-measures analysis of variance done on an intention to treat basis.
Results The nutrition intervention group had a higher mean total energy (P=0.029) and protein intake (P
Conclusions Intensive nutrition intervention following the ADA MNT protocol results in improved dietary intake compared with standard practice and seems to beneficially impact nutrition-related outcomes previously observed in oncology outpatients receiving radiotherapy. The ADA MNT protocol for radiation oncology is a useful guide to the level of nutrition support required.