Did you know that there are over 60 different PKU formula world-wide?
Whether you have been drinking the same formula and maintaining excellent dietary control or if you are reading this in a effort to learn more to return to the PKU diet plan, understanding the ‘Types’ of formulas is a great way to get started and stay in the loop of what formulas are available.
Types of PKU Medical Food
The Drink – PKU Formula in a powdered form that you mix with water. This type of medical food typically provides a balance of fat, carbohydrate, phenylalanine-free protein, vitamins and minerals. Often it contains a good amount of calories to aid satiety and help people with higher caloric needs. Examples from Nutricia include Periflex Junior, Periflex Advanced and PhenylAde Essential.
The Low Fat Formula – This type of formula is a growing segment of the PKU marketplace. Since PKU is diet for life, as people age their calorie needs sometimes lessen. Older people with PKU often have a wider array of low protein foods they will eat which makes them less reliant on formula for satiety. Low or reduced fat formulas typically have less calories and are lower in volume so you can drink less to meet your daily PHE-free protein needs, which can aid adherence and help keep levels in check. Examples from Nutricia include Xphe Maxamum, Lophlex Powders (also in Liquid) PhenylAde40, and PhenylAde60.
The Ready to Drink – PKU formula that is pre-mixed and ready to drink is in high demand. Everyone leads busy lives and don’t want their formula needs to slow them down. This segment is growing just as fast as you can drink one of these single serve units. The ready to drink formulas are often low in fat, calories and volume. For example, PKU Lophlex LQ provides 20 g of protein equivalent (PE) in only 4.2 fl oz. Ready-to-Drink (RTD) PKU formula are quick and easy to drink so you so you can get on with your day.
The Fortifier – Concentrated phenylalnine-free amino acid powder that can be added to any low protein food or drink you already enjoy. It can also be added to ‘Drink’ formula to increase protein content without added formula. Examples for Nutricia include PhenylAde Amino Acid Blend and PhenylAde MTE Amino Acid Blend (Minerals & Trace Elements)
The Tablets – Not everyone has an easy time drinking their formula. But the importance of consuming medical food (formula) and the consequences of not are is well known. For this reason there are formulas that are in tablet form. You would need to ingest quite a few to meet your full daily phe-free protein needs, but for some this is a better alternative than drinking formula. You can choose to just replace 1 serving of liquid formula per day with tablets. Example, just 12 tablets of Phlexy-10 Tablets replace 10 g PE of liquid formula. Talk to your metabolic professional if you are struggling with formula to see if a tablet or a combination of formula and tablets will work for you.
Posted by: Sandy Simons, MA, RD, CHES
Sandy is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Health Education Specialist. She received her graduate training at Columbia University’s Teacher College in New York. She has been working on the industry side of metabolic nutrition for the past 11 years and is often seen at patient events around the country. This post is based on an excerpt from a book written by Sandy with the help of others titled: My PKU Toolkit: A Transition Guide to Adult PKU Management.