Objective This study aimed to develop two non-industrial food products as financially accessible options to prevent and treat malnutrition in hemodialysis (HD) patients. These food products were developed and intended for use as dialysis snacks. Methods This is a cross-sectional and multi-step study. First, 183 adult HD patients (55 ± 14 years; 50.8% males), replied to a questionnaire with their food preferences regarding taste (salty, sweet, bitter, sour) and consistency (liquid, solid, pasty) for a dialysis snack. Most patients preferred a food product with a solid consistency (90%) and a salty flavor (81.4%). Second, three muffin formulations of fine herbs were developed; one enriched with whey protein concentrate (WPC), a second with textured soy protein (TSP) and a third standard formulation without protein for comparison with the protein-enriched muffins, for which the chemical and nutritional compositions were analyzed. In the third step, 60 patients on HD (61 ± 15 years; 53% males) were enrolled in a sensory analysis by applying a 9-point structured hedonic scale, ranging from "extremely liked" (score 9) to "extremely disliked" (score 1). Results When compared with the standard formulation, the formulations enriched with WPC and TSP protein had a significantly higher amount of protein/serving (Standard: 5.9 ± 0.3 g vs WPC: 14.5 ± 0.9 g and TSP 10.8 ± 0.7 g; P < 0.05) but a lower amount of carbohydrate (Standard: 13.1 ± 2.2 g vs WPC: 5.6 ± 0.8 g and TSP 6.0 ± 1.2 g vs; P < 0.05). The mineral content/serving of the protein-enriched muffins was low in phosphorus (50 mg) and sodium (180 mg). The potassium content/ serving was moderate for the WPC muffin (225.2 mg) and low for the TSP muffin (107.9 mg). The acceptability index (AI) for the enriched protein muffins was higher than 70% and similar to the standard formulation. Conclusion The muffins with fine herbs and enriched with protein were well-accepted by all patients and appropriate to serve as dialysis snacks for HD patients.
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