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There are many powdered foods or supplement on the market to choose from. Their purposes vary widely from helping with weight loss, to weight gain, from delivery of probiotics to alleviating bloating and menopause symptoms. Their cost also varies and this is directly related to the quality, type and quantity of ingredients as well as the energy value the food delivers. In this post we’re going to discuss some of these differences with a goal of helping you understand if ElementGold Plus+ is a match to your needs.
ElementGold Plus+ is an elemental food (plus added whole protein). ‘Elemental’ foods aim to have their ingredients in the most broken-down form possible. The reason for this is to allow your body to skip the whole chewing, swallowing and internal breaking-down process that your body needs to do with ‘normal’ food to get at the nutritional elements within, such as carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. This is the reason elemental foods are used for the nutritional support of people with serious conditions such as Crohns Disease1, Ulcerative Colitis2, SIBO3 or other conditions where chewing, swallowing, digestion or absorption is compromised.
Unlike many protein powder-based foods, ElementGold Plus+ aims to be nutritionally complete, meaning that it has all the components you need to fuel your body, including energy (kilojoules), protein, carbohydrates, vitamin and minerals. ElementGold Plus+ conforms to the Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Code as a ‘Food for Special Medical Purposes’, including the parts that make it suitable as a ‘sole source of nutrition’ where the balance of nutrition means it is used in some situations as the only food eaten for two to three weeks (note that such use must be under the guidance of a medical professional). All unsweetned ElementGold Plus+ flavours are laboratory tested and certified Low FODMAP by Monash University Low FODMAP4 and are marked as such on the label.
Proteins are essentially chains of amino acids; hence, a 'fully elemental' food should ideally contain protein only as 'free-form' amino acids. While there are circumstances necessitating amino-only protein, ElementGold Plus+ incorporates 'whole' protein alongside free-form amino acids to cater to situations where a much larger serving of protein is needed for weight and muscle maintenance, beyond what can be provided solely through free-form amino acids.
The protein added to most versions of ElementGold Plus+ is a very high purity whey protein isolate (WPI). With 97.7% protein, this ingredient has extremely low levels of lactose (the sugar found in milk), low fat and no casein (the protein from the solid part of milk often responsible for allergies). The vegan versions of ElementGold Plus+ use a protein isolated from rice instead. It is important to note that these ingredients are focused on only the protein found in milk whey or brown rice and neither whole milk nor rice are the actual ingredients added.
ElementGold Plus+ has no added fibre. Fibre undergoes fermentation in the colon which can produce gas which has the potential to exacerbate symptoms like bloating and discomfort in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s Disease5. Fiber can also act as a mechanical irritant in certain situation of gut inflammation. The absence of fibre simplifies the digestive process, allowing for easier absorption of nutrients and thus giving the digestive system a form of 'rest.'
Also for tolerance reasons, ElementGold Plus+ contains no added fat but a fat source suitable to your condition can be added. If suitable, adding 15ml of flax seed oil boosts the energy of a serve, provides a source of fat and helps you feel more ‘full’.
If you feel any of these points of difference may be beneficial, consult with your health care professional to see if ElementGold Plus+ might be a good fit for your individual situation.
Before owning and running a gastrointestinal medical devices business for 15 years, Julie Simmons BBus/LLB, BVSc (Hons 1) was a veterinary surgeon and lawyer. Julie was involved with formulating ElementGold Plus for the Australian and New Zealand markets.
1 Narula N, Dhillon A, Zhang D, Sherlock ME, Tondeur M, Zachos M.Cochrane Enteral Nutrition Therapy for Induction of Remission in Crohns Disease. Database Syst Rev. 2018 Apr 1;4(4):CD000542
2 Damas OM, Garces L, Abreu MT. Diet as Adjunctive Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Review and Update of Latest Literature Curr Treat Options Gastroenterol. 2019 Jun;17(2):313-325.
3 Rezaie A, Pimentel M, Rao SS. How to test and treat small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: an evidence-based approach. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2016;18(2):8
4 Monash Low FODMAP https://www.monashfodmap.com/
5Ananthakrishnan AN. Epidemiology and risk factors for IBD. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol (2015) 12(4):205–17.