Many patients do not eat and drink sufficiently during hospitalization. Surveys have shown that 30-50% of the elderly patients are undernourished when hospitalized, and for the majority of these patients their protein and energy requirements are not met during hospitalization. Diseased people often experience reduced appetite, aversion against certain types of food or nausea, and these symptoms are part of the explanation for insufficient consumption of food and drinks. In order to locate other possible explanations, this study investigate medical inpatients' experiences and satisfaction with the nutritional care. The patients included a total of 91 medical inpatients at two internal medical wards, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark. Their average age was 72 +/- 11 years. They were individually interviewed about the food service and the nutritional care upon discharge. Patient satisfaction with the meals was overall high (90%). About 80% found the meals to be very important, but they lacked information about the food service, and the patients-staff communication about the food service was poor. The results indicate that the nursing staff was exercising a 'knowledge monopoly' in relation to the food service. In conclusion, a majority of the patients did not perceive the nutritional care as part of the therapy and nursing care during their hospitalization.