Cerebral Palsy Child Drinking Soylent to Boost Calorie Intake


#1

A dear friend of mine has a child with cerebral palsy. She is five years old and one of the challenges the parents have it making sure she consumes enough calories in a day. Because of her condition and the way her muscles work, a typical day she needs roughly 2,500 calories. Her increased metabolic rate can exceed what she can consume.
We were discussing the different approaches to increasing her calorie intake, such as drinking whole milk (sometimes with 1/2 and 1/2 mixed in) lots of ice cream, butter, etc.
It got me wondering if soylent can improve on this or at least give her something else to drink that is fairly well balanced.

Soylent is 444 grams is 2010 kcal
add 150 grams (4 scoops) cyto gainer (chocolate) for an additional 560 kcal for increased protein
add 3 cups (almost 1 liter) of whole milk adds another 450 kcal
add 1 cup of vanilla ice creams adds another 280 kcal

Gives her 3,300 in a 2 liter pitcher or 825 kcal per 500 ml glass or 500 kcal for 380 ml (little more than 12 oz glass).

tldr: I want to make the most nutritionally/calorie dense meal that a small child can consume roughly 2,500 calories per day.


#2

I do know the nutritional requirements differ between children and adults, though I don’t know by how much. You can always add more calories to Soylent by adding in more macro nutrients.


#3

Fat is the most calorie-dense macronutrient. Fat has 9 calories per gram; protein and carbohydrate each have 4 calories per gram. I would say, just add enough oil to the Soylent to give the desired amount of calories, as long as it’s still palatable. For instance, 2/3 cup of canola oil (146 grams) has 1291 calories. Add that to the 2010 calories of Soylent (including the fish oil) and you’ll have 3301 calories. That would be a lot of oil, it might not be pleasant to drink. You might have to experiment with different ingredients to get something that tastes good.

Something to be concerned about is, even though her metabolism is increased and she needs more calories, how is her absorption of nutrients? The pouch of Soylent has over 100g of protein; that’s already an awful lot of protein for a 5 year old, and too much protein can be hard on the kidneys. If you add Cyto Gainer and dairy for even more protein, and her kidneys have to process all that, it might be too much.

Soylent contains 100% of the nutrients recommended for a healthy adult. The micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) in Soylent, along with added micronutrients in Cyto Gainer, might put her above the UI (upper intake) for some nutrients. As a child, her maximum safe level for some nutrients is lower than an adult’s.

So those might be some considerations for using plain oil to reach the calorie target, instead of additional nutrition supplements or dairy. You also might consider sugar, which is pure carbohydrate (and might make the whole thing taste more appealing to her). 1-2/3 cups of table sugar (334 grams) contains 1293 calories. Some combination of oil and sugar might be the most palatable.

I think it might be best to consult a registered dietitian and/or a CP specialist about this. There are medical nutrition products (usually, a shake in a can) tailored to meet a variety of special circumstances. Hopefully, her insurance would cover a medical food product.


Also, prepared Soylent is 2 liters, so if you add 3 cups of milk and a cup of ice cream, you’ll wind up with more like 3 liters, so if you do go that route you’ll want to calculate for the 3300 calories being in 3 liters, not 2 liters. Adding oil and/or sugar would mean 3300 calories in closer to 2 liters, much more dense and much less for her to drink.


#4

I would say it could cause some problems… Soylent is not yet at a recipe where I would recommend anyone giving it to their kids. The problems with digestion (smell, gas) some side effects for some such as headache and so on… Wouldn’t want to put a kid through that… In the case of this kid… Something like ensure might be better, even with the higher sugar amount.


#5

The CP care team that the child sees should be providing the parent with recipes and suggestions for increasing calories.

Typically they have cook books, smoothie recipes, and other suggestions to boost calories. There are commercial products like Boost Plus, increased calorie Juice, and food additives to spike the fat/protein for the kids in recipes they will like.

Soylent may not be a bad idea, but the dietitian on the care team could be consulted first.


#6

I agree with everyone else here: atypical metabolism and a child. However, I don’t think it would be a bad thing for the parents to present the specs for Soylent to the doctor along with the warnings about digestive problems. Then the doctor (and nutritionist) might be able to make a recommendation.

Most medical products have side effects including the various other options that are being presented here. The nutritionist might be able to add Soylent to other solutions (feeding a one-item diet to a child is a bad idea no matter what that item is).

Eve


#7

I also think it is a bad idea to use Soylent for a child, and a child with an atypical metabolism to boot.

Consult the doctor and nutritionist. Present Soylent as a food alternative. Get direction.

Happy as I have been with DIY Soylent in the two months I’ve been doing it (I replace probably 75-80% of my meals), I am making an informed decision. The child neither has the choice, nor do we have enough information yet on the nutritional needs of children (let alone those with atypical metabolisms.)


#8

All great responses, thank you.

Absolutely would speak to her doctor about altering her diet prior to even introducing a single meal with Soylent. I certainly have no idea if she simply needs dense calories (fat) for calorie burn or if there is an additional protein calorie intake needed to improve muscle mass, or even how her body processes nutrients, etc.

Her doctor does have a recommended diet plan that includes pediasure, icecream, etc. And Soylent being so new would not have even reached her radar screen to consider.

It is an interesting thought to consider how versatile a meal replacement like Soylent has to potential to become. I imagine a not to distant future that a nutritionally perfect meal for each individuals unique body needs can be ordered by analyzing the results of a simple blood test.