Why can’t I just follow a low protein diet?

One of the first things you learn about PKU is that it requires a diet consisting of a special PKU formula and foods low in protein. It’s natural to wonder why the formula is needed. Why can’t you just follow a diet low in protein and skip the formula?

Let’s start with why protein is important to our bodies. Protein is an essential nutrient for good health. Protein helps build strong bones, healthy muscles, skin and blood. Our bodies depend on protein for many necessary functions. A lack of protein can leave us weak and tired.

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People with PKU typically can’t meet their daily protein requirements from foods without their blood phenylalanine (PHE) levels becoming too high. High blood PHE levels can leave you feeling tired, foggy, anxious, and unable to focus. Limiting your PHE intake to the amount set by your metabolic dietitian and keeping blood PHE levels within a target range is key for managing PKU.

That is why PKU formula is so important. It is specially designed to provide your body with the required amount of protein through a balanced mixture of all the amino acids, except PHE (or with very low levels of PHE). This special formula allows for your body to get protein without the harmful PHE. Many PKU formulas also provide you with other nutrients such as fiber, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals to help you maintain an overall healthy diet.

Your PKU formula can be a great tool to help you stick to your low-PHE diet. Dividing your daily formula into at least 3 servings spread throughout the day can help keep your PHE levels steady and help you avoid feelings of hunger. When our bodies are overly hungry, we may tend to eat more or be less mindful of the foods we choose. Drinking your formula throughout the day can help avoid spikes in hunger that can lead to overeating.

What are you looking for in a formula?

Taste? GMP-based protein? Flexibility? Less-to-drink?

PKU formula packaging

Nutricia offers a wide variety of PKU formulas and low protein foods for you to choose from.  Learn more about our family of products. Additionally, we have a team of specialists to help you with formula coverage and finding a local supplier of the formula. Here is how to connect with them.

Nutricia North America offers a range of products that are medical foods for the dietary management of inborn errors of metabolism and must be used under medical supervision.

© 2021 Nutricia North America

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