The Complete Guide to Texture Modified Diets

The original article was provided by Flavour Creations.

Texture modified diets can be difficult to understand. If a friend or family member has been instructed to eat texture modified food and fluids, you’re probably wondering what a texture modified diet is and what you can do to help.

That’s exactly why we’ve written this article. We’ll explain concepts like the IDDSI framework, why texture modified diets are important, and how you can prepare a good texture modified diet.

What is a texture-modified diet?

A texture modified diet is when a person regularly consumes texture modified foods and fluids (TMFs), which are meals or drinks that have been prepared in a special way to create a certain texture or consistency. For example, a raw carrot is extremely crunchy and hard, whereas a steamed carrot is much softer, and pureed carrot is softer still.

Because TMFs can make swallowing easier and potentially reduce the risk of choking or aspirating (inhaling food and water in the lungs), texture modified diets are often used to help people with dysphagia eat and drink safely. While some people may benefit from eating food that is softer or smaller in size than normal, other people may require texture modification on the opposite end of the spectrum, such as drinks that have been artificially thickened.

The IDDSI Framework

Like many health-related concepts, understanding texture modified diets can be difficult, especially when health companies use different terms to describe texture modification products. A company selling drink thickeners that create ‘moderately thick’ drinks may not be the same as a different company’s ‘moderately thick’ protein shakes, which is confusing for ordinary consumers.

The International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) was created to provide an international standard for food and drink textures, and looking at the IDDSI framework is a useful way to view texture modified diets.

The IDDSI framework consists of eight different levels. Levels 0–4 encompass thin, slightly thick, mildly thick, moderately thick and extremely thick drinks. Levels 3–7 encompass liquidised, pureed, minced and moist, soft and bite-sized, and regular foods.

Today, all good thickening products and texture-modified foods have clear labelling that states what IDDSI level they are.  For example, Flavour Creations’ instant THICK sachets come in Mildly Thick, Moderately Thick and Extremely Thick varieties, which translate to IDDSI Levels 2, 3 and 4 respectively. This helps people who need TMFs easily pick the product that’s right for them.