On the basis of the food liquidity, diet of a patient can be divided into three categories,
(а) Liquid diet
(б) Soft diet
(c) Normal diet.
(a) Liquid diet
Food taken in the drinking form is called liquid diet. It is given when the patient is incapable of eating and digesting the solid food. Normally, in such a diet amount of spices and fibres are negligible. Also highly flavored foods are not included. Liquid diet is also given when there is a loss of appetite and the patient is seriously ill. Liquid diet can be of two types:
(i) Full liquid diet
(ii) Semi-liquid diet.
(i) Full liquid diet
Foods that are liquid at room temperature and raw and cooked foods which can be changed into liquid form are included in full liquid diet. Normally, such a diet is very thin and strained.
This diet does not provide complete nutrition. Hence, it should be given to a patient till he is incapable of consuming soft food. Full liquid diet is given in case of high fever, surgery, acute heart problem, gastritis or any other severe disease.
In case a patient is incapable of taking full liquid diet, then it is put into the stomach of the patient through tube-feeding. Such a situation arises only when the patient is unconscious, blockage in throat or food pipe, burns in the mouth, swelling of tongue, cancer of mouth or throat, etc. This diet is given to a patient after every 2-3 hours.
Skimmed milk, fatless lassie, whey water, vegetable stock, strained meat and bone soup, fruit juices, glucose water, lemon water, etc.
(ii) Semi-liquid diet
This diet can be given to a patient for a number of days. It can be made nutritionally sufficient. This diet is given to the patient till he is incapable of chewing and swallowing the solid diet.
Patients suffering from diarrhea, vomiting, cholera, etc., are given semi-liquid diet.
Mashed thin dal, porridge from cereal powder, strained vegetables, kheer, mashed khichdi, etc.
(b) Soft diet.
As the patient starts improving, he should be shifted to the soft diet from the liquid diet. The consistency of soft diet is in between normal to liquid diet. In such diet foods are soft, easily chewable and digestible, simple, without any spices, fiber and flavors. Soft diet should be nutritionally balanced and satiate for the patient. This diet can also be given to those persons who don’t have teeth, have a weak digestive system and are in pre or post operative stages.
Foods. Mashed fruits and vegetables, rice, porridge, khichdi, bread, curd, ratio, cheese, etc
(c) Normal diet
The diet given to a patient when he is capable of digesting all types of food is known as normal diet. In such cases, it is important to ensure that the given diet is fulfilling the nutritional requirements of the patient. For this, amount of some nutrients or foodstuffs is increased or decreased or certain foods are excluded from the diet of the patient.
Persons who are capable of taking normal food, but are injured in accidents, or with bone fractures, or burns should be given more proteins in their diet. Amount of carbohydrates should be reduced in diabetic cases and amount of sodium in cases of kidney disorder. Amount of food should be the same as for a normal person to fulfill nutritional requirements in that particular age group.