During illness and convalescence a liquid diet can be a vital form of nourishment for a patient and there are other times when liquid diets can be beneficial, but any such diet must be nutritionally adequate and medically approved. This article gives an ample idea about healthy liquid diet chart for patients and how liquid diet can be used to get its useful results.
When liquid diet is required:
For special medical reasons, doctors quite frequently recommend that a patient be given nothing but liquids or fluids, while people recovering from illness often feel that they too can only take in liquids. So liquid diets are common in these two situations, and if treatment is to continue successfully, and if convalescence is to be speeded up, it is vital that the liquid diet contain all nutrients needed by the patient.
Occasionally, before an operation or following tooth extraction, a patient can only take liquids. This problem, however, lasts for only a couple of days and so there is no real need to worry about the balance and calorie content of the diet. But when a liquid diet has to be followed for a longer period of time then it is necessary to ask the advice of the nurse, doctor and dietician.
Liquid Diet Plan:
All basic, nutritionally adequate liquid diets must contain sufficient water, vitamins, fats and carbohydrates, as well as proteins which include essential amino acids. This balance is especially important when healing is taking place and most such diets also include additional vitamin supplements. As well as being balanced in its fats, carbohydrate and protein content, the liquid diet must contain sufficient calories. Sick people very often require up to 2000 calories a day, especially if they are recovering from surgery or a high fever.
Fruit, with its high vitamin C content, is a valuable addition to a liquid diet. Stewed, pureed and liquidized, as here, it is easy to absorb. Many vegetables can be treated this way too. But an invalid must have a diet properly balanced in its fat, protein and carbohydrate content. If someone in your family needs a liquid diet ask your doctor or hospital dietician for advice.
A young convalescent may have very little appetite. Tasty, enriched-milk drinks can be much more tempting than plates of meat and vegetables- so long as your doctor agrees. Small, frequent helpings are better than big meals.
Types of Liquid Diet:
A pure liquid diet contains no large food particles whatever, so the food can be drunk from a cup or beaker. In some circumstances, it can simply be poured down a nasogastric tube (tube from the nose to the stomach) since it is so completely fluid. Although it is only rarely necessary, this diet can be used indefinitely since it contains all the food elements needed for growth, repair and body maintenance.
A pure diet or liquidized diet is really semi-fluid. Much of it is prepared with a mechanical liquidizer which chops the food into small particles, destroying roughage and reducing the fiber content.
A soft diet is a little nearer an ordinary diet but still does not require chewing and is easily swallowed. It is ideal for tempting an invalid and is very easily digested.
A pre-operative diet is totally different and is never used at home. It removes all food from the bowel in preparation for surgery and is never nutritionally adequate or designed to be used for any length of time.
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Liquid diet chart for patients:
In normal circumstances, food is reduced to pulp by chewing and swallowed as a bolus or soft lump by the action of the throat. Even by the time it is swallowed, the process of digestion has begun and the bolus is pliable and moist. Liquid diets are used when swallowing a bolus is painful.
Liquid Diet for oral disorder patients:
When a patient has a severely fracture jaw, the bones are held in place by wiring the top teeth to the bottom teeth so that chewing becomes impossible. A Liquid diet may have to be taken for several weeks until the fractured bones have united. Sometimes people who are very overweight also have their jaws wired and in this case a low calorie but properly balanced diet is needed. Where the teeth are wired, the liquid diet must be totally free of large food particles so that the washing alone can provide effective cleaning of the mouth.
Liquid Diet for Cancer Patients:
Where there is cancer of the mouth or throat or where there has been radiation to the throat or oesophagus, then a liquid diet may have to be used for some months. A cancer can partially block the normal mechanism for swallowing, making solids stick or causing pain. A liquid diet slides down and provides the necessary nutrition. Where there has been radiation to tissues, it causes inflammation in the ordinary cells lining the oesophagus. Hard foods will irritate the cell lining, whereas the liquid diet or fluids enable food to pass into the stomach without damaging the oesophagus.
Liquid diet for patients suffering from paralysis of swallowing muscles:
In some cases, where there is paralysis of the swallowing muscles, then solids may cause chocking and a liquid diet becomes the only solution. When there is total paralysis of the swallowing muscles, feeding has to be through a nasogastric tube and a liquid diet must be used permanently.
Liquid diet for patients suffering from inflammatory conditions of bowel:
Occasionally, a liquid diet may be used in the treatment of inflammatory conditions of bowel. Diverticulitis is inflammation of tiny pouches which can form on the large bowel; in the acute stages of this disorder some doctors recommend a liquid diet. In effect, this rests the bowel while the inflammation subsides.
Liquid diet for patients at home:
Liquid diets can be extremely helpful when coping with illness or convalescence at home
- Someone who has undergone a complicated tooth extraction may find chewing painful and trapped particles of food can encourage infection. A liquid diet can be used and then gradually changed to a puree diet and then a soft diet as the ability to eat returns.
- Viral infections causing severe ulceration of the mouth can make eating extremely painful. A liquid diet rests the lining of the mouth so that healing can take place quickly.
- Bouts of diarrhea and vomiting nearly always worsen or continue for longer if solid food is eaten too quickly. After 24 hours on fluids like orange juice, water and tea the patient will probably be ready for a proper liquid diet. Taken for the next 36 hours, it will hasten recovery without upsetting the stomach further.
- Recovery from any illness is always helped buy good food. In the initial stages of convalescence a liquid diet provides the extra calories required to give strength without the need to eat huge meals. As the patient progresses then more solid food can be introduced and a puree diet can be followed by a soft food diet.
- Fevers of any sort increase the body’s requirement for food, energy and liquid. As fever rises digestion is impaired and so a liquid diet is particularly useful since it provides both extra fluid and nourishment.
- Patients with terminal illness who are being nursed at home very often lose weight because they lack appetite. Small, tasty liquid meals are ideal and provide all the nutrition they need. This may not halt the inevitable progress of disease, but these meals help to make the patient comfortable and more appetizing to an invalid than a heaped plate of meat and vegetables.
Problems of Liquid diet:
the chief danger of a liquid diet is that it may not have been medically recommended and does not contain the essential balanced ingredients. Checking with a doctor or dietician eliminates this risk.
A normal bowel movement occurs less frequently and the reduced fibre content does lead to constipation. But because the diet is low residue this is not uncomfortable and this side-effect can be helped considerably by a daily quantity of prune juice. It is also important to give a vitamin C supplement if vegetables are pureed since the extra cooking needed to make them soft destroys their vitamin C content.
A patient who loses weight on a fluid diet is either not having a balanced diet or it is not nutritionally adequate. Weight loss should always be reported to the doctor.
How to come out of liquid diet:
Patients are never advised to come straight off a liquid diet and on to to solid food. From a pure liquid diet they should pass to a liquidized diet and then on to a soft diet before returning to normal food. This transition can be made over a period of days, depending on the advice of the doctor or dietician. Once the condition for which the patient required the liquid diet has improved, then solids can slowly be introduced back into the diet.
Q. If I put food in a liquidizer does it change the food value?
Ans: Not really, because the calorific value remains the same. The blades of the liquidizer do, however, chop up fibre so that it can not form bulk in the intestine. This is not normally a problem, but it can eventually lead to constipation which is one of the inevitable hazards of liquid diets. However, a daily drink of prune juice usually relieves constipation.
Q. Can I use a liquid diet to lose weight?
Ans: Yes, you can obtain a liquid diet with a low calorific value, but it is a great deal easier and more pleasant to lose weight on a balanced diet containing plenty of fibre and roughage. You can still drink plenty of liquidized fruits and juices, but the roughage and fibre you also eat will prevent constipation.
Q. Will a patient with colostomy can live on a liquid diet?
Ans: Colostomy patients usually return to a normal diet as soon as possible after the operation to create an artificial bowel opening in the side of the abdomen. Colostomy bags collect waste. When this happens they have regular bowel movements with normal stools. Some patients find that peas, sweetcorn and beer do upset their colostomy, but there is never any need for a liquid diet: more useful is a careful analysis of the foods which help to regulate the individual’s colostomy.
Q. Do the liquid foods bought from the drugstore really replace the normal diet?
Ans: It is most important to read the descriptions on the label and to follow the instructions for any such foods very carefully. Those that state that they can replace a normal diet must live up to this claim, but will do so only if taken in the required quantity. If you are going to rely on such foods for any length of time, you should check with your doctor.