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Therapeutic Diets Used in the Hospital

A therapeutic diet is a meal plan that controls the ingestion of particular nutrients or foods, and it forms part of the management of a health condition. Therapeutic diets are planned for maintaining or restoring good nutrition among patients (Dodd, 2020.). In most cases, the therapeutic diet is used to supplement the surgical or medical treatment of the patient. In contrast, in some instances, a therapeutic diet is used as the medical therapy or treatment method of patients. Diet therapy is concerned with recovery from illnesses and the prevention of diseases. Therefore, a therapeutic diet is usually an alteration of a regular diet tailored to fit a specific patient’s nutritional needs. The modification of therapeutic diets entails change in nutrients, texture, and food intolerances or allergies, and it includes as follows:

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Renal-Dialysis vs. Non-Dialysis Patients

A renal diet is given to patients with renal conditions. A renal diet plan limits protein, fluid, potassium, and sodium levels in the body (‘‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,’’ 2021). The non-dialysis diet involves consuming less protein and more healthy carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits, grains, and healthy fats like olive oil. The primary reason for a non-dialysis diet is to preserve the prevailing kidney function and delay the later stages of chronic kidney diseases. A renal diet is essential because lowering protein intake allows the kidneys to function with little buildup of waste. Patients with renal disorder have difficulties getting rid of protein waste products.

Diabetic Diet

A diabetic diet entails maintaining a healthy-eating plan that is naturally rich in nutrients, low in calories, and fat, such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. The eating plan helps in regulating blood sugar, controlling weight, and managing cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure (‘‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,’’ 2021). Eating extra fats and calories creates an undesirable rise in blood sugars. Failure to check blood glucose results in adverse problems like hyperglycemia that eventually causes heart complications and kidney damage. According to Dodd (2020), no concentrated sweets diet is a preferred liberalized diet for people with diabetes whose blood sugar and weight levels are in control. A diabetic or calorie-controlled diet controls the intake of fats, protein, carbohydrates, and calories keeping patients at balance to control weight, blood glucose levels and meet nutritional needs.

Cardiac Diet

The cardiac diet emphasizes on foods that are beneficial for heart health, while limiting processed foods rich in salt and sugar, which causes an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Some of the basic principles of cardiac diet include limiting alcohol and sugar intake, including healthful fats like olive oil and adding nuts and legumes. Cardiac diet also limits intake of total fat, dairy products, red and processed meat. In addition, the diet also includes eating fruits and vegetable varieties, whole grains, and avoiding processed foods.

Fluid Restricted Diet

A fluid restricted diet limits the volume of fluid an individual consumes daily. Besides beverages, most foods provide fluids, including juicy fruits, sauces, pudding, gelatin, soups, yogurt, and ice creams that must be limited in this diet. Fluid-restricted diets are essential for helping in the prevention of fluid from building up in the body (Flynn et al., 2018). Mostly, patients who are recommended a fluid-restricted diet include those with heart failure, dialysis, and end-stage kidney diseases. Too much fluid in the body can stress the bodies of patients with these health conditions aggravating the problem.

Pureed Diet

Pureed diet involves changing the regular diet by pureeing it to a smooth liquid consistency. The diet is suitable for individuals with dysphagia, gastroparesis conditions, and wired jaws severely poor dentition where chewing is inadequate. Foods should be pureed separately while avoiding raw fruits, raw vegetables, seeds, and nuts. Purees are more ease to swallow than solid foods and require no chewing. To make pureed diet nutritionally adequate, all food groups are offered. Pureed diet reduces the risk of choking and potentially breathing food into the lungs of dysphagia patients while ensuring they meet their nutritional needs by getting enough nutrients.

Mechanically Altered vs. GI Soft

Mechanically altered diets focus primarily on food texture and ease of chewing. Unlike mechanically altered diets, GI soft diets emphasize on easily digestible food. However, these diets overlap with each other such that foods that are easily chewed are often easier to digest. The diet is mainly recommended to persons with swallowing difficulties, gastrointestinal problems, or post-discharge operation, including throat or oral surgery. A mechanical soft diet can be a long-term eating plan, which differs from soft diet that are prescribed for weeks or a few days. Soft diets ease the transition of the patient back into everyday eating. Mechanically altered diets are also suitable for persons with difficulty chewing food such as the sore jaw, missing teeth, recent stroke, and those who have undergone radiation treatment.

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Honey Thick Liquids vs. Nectar Thick Liquids

A honey-thickened liquid diet is relevant for persons experiencing some tendencies of difficulty swallowing. Patients with dysphagia or disordered swallowing function need altered consistency liquids to avoid aspiration when drinking (Flynn et al., 2018). Nectar-thick liquids are the least thickened with nectar consistency and easily poured, such as thick cream soups. According to Flynn et al. (2018), nectar-thick liquids are slightly less denser than honey-thick liquids diets.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Diabetes & kidney disease: What to eat? Web.

Dodd, K. (2020). Liberalized diets for older adults. Web.

Flynn, E., Smith, C. H., Walsh, C. D., & Walshe, M. (2018). Modifying the consistency of food and fluids for swallowing difficulties in dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (9).

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