In the last 30 years, marked advances in enteral feeding techniques, venous access, and enteral and parenteral nutrient formulations have made it possible to provide nutrition support to almost all patients. Despite the abundant medical literature and widespread use of nutritional therapy, many areas of nutrition support remain controversial. Therefore, the leadership at the national Institute of Health, The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, and The American Society for Clinical Nutrition convened an advisory committee to perform a critical review of the current medical literature evaluating the clinical use of nutrition support; the goal was to assess our current body of knowledge and to identify the issues that deserve further investigation. The panel was divided into five groups to evaluate the following areas: nutrition assessment, nutrition support in patients with gastrointestinal diseases, nutrition support in wasting diseases, nutrition support in critically ill patients, and perioperative nutrition support. The findings from each group are summarized in this report. This document is not meant to establish practice guidelines for nutrition support. The use of nutritional therapy requires a careful integration of data from pertinent clinical trials, clinical expertise in the illness or injury being treated, clinical expertise in nutritional therapy, and input from the patient and his/her family.