URMC / Burn & Trauma Center / Burn Center / Nutrition: Burn Recovery Diet
Nutrition: Burn Recovery Diet
Because it takes a lot of energy to heal, patients need many more calories than normal when they're recovering from a burn injury. That's why nutrition is a major component of burn treatment.
Our nutritionists evaluate patients' dietary needs as soon as possible. We use several scientific formulas, usually based on their height and weight (body mass), among other things, to determine how many calories they'll actually need. But because no one formula is perfect, their nutritionist and physicians will watch them closely to evaluate and adjust their diet as needed.
Why the Burn Recovery Diet Should be Followed
When healing from burns, it's very important that you do you everything you can to get proper nutrition. An adequate diet can reduce the damaging loss of lean body mass, stored energy, and protein. Without proper nutrition, you may slow the healing process, lose too much weight, and suppress your immune system.
In general, patients get a high-protein diet that also includes fat, plus vitamin and mineral supplements.
Patients need a lot of protein while healing because the body will lose protein through the burn wounds and muscles will break down trying to produce extra energy for the healing process. The additional protein helps rebuild lost muscle.
They also need more carbohydrates in their diet when recovering from a burn. In fact, carbohydrates make up the bulk of their nutrition. The body will turn the carbohydrates into glucose. Burn wounds use glucose for energy. In fact, they can't use any other source. By providing this energy for healing, carbohydrates allow the protein eaten to rebuild muscle, rather than be used as fuel.
We also include fat in the diet to provide essential fatty acids and extra calories. But normally no more than 30% of the calories will come from fat. Too much fat can weaken the immune system.
Patients should follow the diet plan. It's very important that they do everything they can to get proper nutrition. An adequate diet can reduce the damaging loss of lean body mass and stored energy and protein. An inadequate diet can slow the healing process, cause too much weight loss, and suppress the immune system.