What is Dysphagia?
The dysphagia diet involves modifying the consistency of food to enable easy oral intake, reduce aspiration risk for tube fed dysphagia patients and prevent or reduce malnutrition. The dysphagia diet is a progressive diet from tube feeds to soft diet. It can be started at any level as appropriate for individual patients.
Dysphagia diet prescription considers consistency of solid foods and viscosity of liquids that are tolerated.
Tube feeds are suggested for patients who cannot swallow and hence unable to meet their nutritional goals.
Dysphagia I diet prescription has the consistency of baby foods.
Dysphagia II diet prescription has junior food consistency in which food particles are less than 1/8th inch.
Dysphagia III diet prescription has chopped food consistency with food particle size is ¼ – ½ inch
Soft diet consistency has solid foods which can be mashed in the mouth easily as they are mechanically soft. The mechanically soft diet is not dependent on the teeth for chewing.
Nutritional Adequacy of Feed
The dysphagia diet plan can provide adequate calories and nutrition, if the patient’s condition allows consumption of sufficient volume. A multi vitamin supplement is recommended as fluids, breads and cereal group are likely to be nutritionally inadequate.
Dysphagia Diet Pointers
- Clear liquids are often most difficult to swallow.
- Thicken pureed foods and liquids with potato flakes, baby cereal and instant clear gel. These are easier to swallow.
- Too cold or too hot foods, sweet and sour foods may increase the symptoms of dysphagia.
- Dairy products, chocolate and concentrated sweets can cause an increase in mucous secretion
- Individual tastes, preference and tolerance would determine food choices.
- Foods on dysphagia diet would tend to soften with minimal saliva and mastication.