Background Oral rehydration solution (ORS) is used to reverse dehydration. Successful dehydration treatment replenishes lost water and electrolytes. It can be done by consuming ORS, containing both electrolytes and glucose, because sodium and glucose transport in the small intestine are coupled. However, clinical practice shows that children refuse ORS due to its salty-sweet taste and unpalatability.
Purpose We hypothesised that freezing ORS containing a fruit/berry juice to a likeable texture in ‘gelato’ form could promote oral rehydration. This form has not previously been trialled for rehydration fluid administration.
Material and methods Apple and strawberry juice were the base and crystalline NaCl, water and glucose were added to the concentrations recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) ORS standard and revised formulas. The WHO’s standard formula contains 90 mmol/L Na+, 20 mmol/L K+, 80 mmol/L Cl- and glucose 111 mmol/L, but the WHO’s revised formula contains 70 mmol/L Na+, 20 mmol/L K+, 60 mmol/L Cl- and glucose 75 mmol/L. All ingredients were pasteurised at 80°C and cooled to 4°C in a shock freezer. The gelato was made in a Maestro HE. It was kept at −20°C in a gelato coolbox and served at −12°C. Portions of 200 g were given to children at the Infection and Emergency Units. The Ethical Committee’s approval was obtained. All parents gave informed consent for participation.
Results Thirty-six children (1–15 years’ old) were enrolled in the study. Fourteen (39%) children did not tolerate any amount, while 22 (61%) ate ORS gelato. Seven patients (19.4%) ate ≥10 g/kg/h (ORS consumption rate needed for acute dehydration phase). The mean amount eaten was 4.6 g per weight kg (SD 5.78 g/kg) – the rate needed for the maintenance of rehydration. There is a statistically significant correlation with the willingness to eat the gelato and a reported likeness of taste (Spearman rho value 0.639, p<0.001).
Conclusion Our results show that ORS can be successfully administered frozen as gelato. The small sample size is the major limitation of this study. Additional research is needed before we can introduce ORS gelato into clinical practice.
References and/or acknowledgements The team acknowledges Ice Bliss SIA for making the gelato.
No conflict of interest.
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