Therapeutic Diets for Special Conditions
Many of us often take the word “diet” as cutting on food consumption. While it’s a fact that there might be some food restriction, it is a mistake to say that dieting is associated to skipping meals. Therapeutic diets are intended to aid in treatment of diseases or alterations in metabolic patterns. They are modified to cater to the special needs of certain medical conditions. These are diets that we often encounter at hospitals, ordered by our dietician. Read along to see their indications:
Clear Liquids. This short-term diet does not supply adequate protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals, or calories and is commonly indicated as preparation for diagnostics tests, or before and after surgery to minimize stimulation of the gastrointestinal tract, This diet is limited to water, tea, coffee, clear broths, ginger ale, or other carbonated beverages, strained and clear juices, and plain gelatin.
Full liquid diet contains only liquids or food that turn to liquid at body temperature, such as ice cream, milk, pudding, custard, cream, butter, and yogurt. It is often given to those who have gastrointestinal disturbances or otherwise unable to tolerate solid or semisolid food. It is also given for transition from clear liquids to solid foods. Full liquids are not advised to for long-term use because of its high cholesterol content because of the high amount of milk offered.
For patients unable to consume a regular diet or those who experience difficulty of swallowing and chewing, a soft diet is typically ordered. Examples of food that can be included are pastas, chopped, tender meat, cooked or canned fruits. Another variation is a pureed diet which is a soft diet blended to a semisolid consistency.
Some health conditions must follow certain diets for a lifetime. A low-fat low-cholesterol diet is ordered to minimize cholesterol and fat intake for atherosclerosis. Milk (unless low-fat), butter, egg yolks, fried meat and shrimps must be excluded from the menu, but may include fruits, vegetables, cereals, and lean meat. While a sodium-restricted diet attempts to lower body water retention in cases like heart failure and hypertension. Canned goods (processed, cured, and preserved), and dairy products have high sodium content and therefore should be avoided. Dietary approaches to stop hypertension or DASH is a diet rich in fruits and veggies with low fat and sodium contents. A renal diet lowers blood protein, potassium and sodium which are retained in the blood for cases of chronic renal failure. Likewise, foods rich in purine are restricted in gout to reduce uric acid in the blood. They include organ meats, cheese, seafood, beans, pasta, alcohol, and oats.
Many special diets are aimed to meet dietary requirements for disease processes and metabolic disorders. Foods that are high in protein such as meat, eggs, skimmed milk, and beans help raise albumin for burns, and is essential for wound repair and cases of infection. In phenylketonuria, protein should be limited in the diet for life to avoid imbalance of amino acids that could potentially damage the brain. A low-phenylalanine milk may be ordered in most cases. For constipation, consume fresh fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and bran products which are high in fiber to increase bulk in the stool. On the other hand, poor sources of fiber like white bread, crackers, roasted meat, mushrooms, and rice can minimize intestinal activity.
Dried peas, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, lentils, turnips, eggs, carbonated beverages, beer and alcohol are gas-forming foods. Let alone beans, garlic, onions, some spices, asparagus, and eggs as they can also produce odor. Urinary tract conditions vary in their dietary needs. For urinary tract infection is an acid ash diet—cranberries, prunes, plum, poultry, meat, whole grain and cheese. Alkaline ash may work for renal calculi (depending on the composition of the renal stone)—milk, vegetables, and fruits except those mentioned in acid ash.
All dietary instructions are individually designed to meet one’s understanding, level of motivation, lifestyle, culture, and economic status. Instructions also need to be reinforced, and support people must be included in the dietary instructions. Most importantly, discipline and compliance should be observed in order to meet your goals.