Seven days or more of inadequate oral intake (IOI) inevitably results in a deterioration in nutritional status. Despite this well-known fact, little information is available as to the frequency with which such periods of IOI occur in clinical practice. This study results from an audit of IOI in a gastroenterological unit over a 6-month period. The results demonstrate that 17% of patients sustained significant periods of IOI of 7 days or longer. This has important implications with regard to the provision of adjuvant nutritional support.