What is RUTF?
From 2000-2004, Dr. Manary and colleague Dr. André Briend experimented with various ingredients until they created a formula that provides the specific, high quality nutrition that severely malnourished children need to recover. The food became known as Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF). RUTF is an energy-dense, peanut butter like paste, but it is more than just peanut butter. It consists of roasted ground peanuts (peanut paste), powdered milk, vegetable oil, sugar, and vitamins/minerals. Peanuts contain mono-unsaturated fats, which are easy to digest, and they are rich in protein and zinc, which is good for the immune system. RUTF’s intended use is for severely malnourished children ages 6 mo- to 5 yrs.
The RUTF Advantage
Feeding children with RUTF in the home setting was a revolutionary therapy for several reasons. The standard therapy for treating malnourished children prior to RUTF necessitated that mothers brought their sick kids to crowded hospitals/clinics, where they received milk-based formula. Recovery rates were only 25-40%, whereas they are 75-95% for home-based treatment with RUTF. Here’s a comparison of the therapy types: