Dysphagia Diet: What are the Different Levels?

People who have a medical condition known as dysphagia will often require some adjustments to be made to their diet in order to make it easier for them to swallow food and liquids safely. Making some changes to their diet is often essential to make sure that they are getting the right amount of nutrition in their diet and that their choking risk is reduced. A dysphagia diet is often necessary to avoid complications such as aspiration, which involves liquid or food particles being inhaled rather than swallowed. Keep reading for more information on the different types of diets that are suitable for dysphagia. 

Pureed and Blended

The level one dysphagia diet involves only eating blended and pureed food. It tends to be recommended for people who have this condition and find it almost impossible to swallow. All foods on this diet should be either blended or pureed to avoid the risk of choking. Aspiration is also a common problem with this diet, so it’s often recommended that you use products for thickening liquids to make them easier to swallow. You can learn more about products such as these including Simply Thick side effects here. 

Mechanical Soft Diet

The next level when it come to the dysphagia diet is the mechanical soft diet. This diet can involve more than the level one diet as it is designed for people who can swallow but need some adjustments to be made to the food in order for this to be safe. With this diet, it’s recommended to stick to softer foods, or foods that have been prepared to be softer such as by overcooking or mashing to make swallowing them easier. Mashed root vegetables, mashed potatoes, boiled or canned fruits, scrambled eggs, soft buns, oatmeal, and soups are all recommended foods on this diet. 

Advanced Diet

The next level involves a diet that is more suitable for people who have milder dysphagia symptoms and can swallow more food compared to those on level one or two diets. This level of diet allows for some solid foods; however, harder or tough foods are not recommended. With the advanced dysphagia diet, any food served should not require a knife to eat. Foods that are easy to chew and swallow such as pasta and rice, baked potatoes, bread served in small portions, ripe fruit that has been cut into smaller pieces, and oatmeal or cereal with milk are all good options. 

Preparation Tips for the Dysphagia Diet

A patient with dysphagia should be given food that is easy for them to swallow without the risk of choking. It’s important to consider the severity of the person’s symptoms before deciding how soft the food should be. Regardless of the severity of the symptoms, any food that may be more difficult to chew and swallow such as fatty or gristly meats, crunchy foods, or foods with mixed texture such as bread with seeds are best avoided. 

A dysphagia diet should be carefully put together based on the needs of the person with the condition. There are different levels based on the severity of the symptoms. 


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