Applying Food Science to Dysphagia Ensuring that properly textured foods are delivered to clients with dysphagia is a major frustration for many health professionals and patient caregivers. Development of a universally accepted system of food classification that correlates well with the available food textures could make treatment more efficient while maximizing the client’s quality ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2006
Applying Food Science to Dysphagia
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Don Tymchuck
    Med-Diet Laboratories, Inc., Plymouth, MN
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Articles
Article   |   March 01, 2006
Applying Food Science to Dysphagia
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2006, Vol. 15, 19-23. doi:10.1044/sasd15.1.19
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), March 2006, Vol. 15, 19-23. doi:10.1044/sasd15.1.19
Ensuring that properly textured foods are delivered to clients with dysphagia is a major frustration for many health professionals and patient caregivers. Development of a universally accepted system of food classification that correlates well with the available food textures could make treatment more efficient while maximizing the client’s quality of life through the delivery of safe and adequate nutrition. It could also provide benchmarks for evaluating the client’s progress. The ideal system for providing proper textures should be objective, standardized, and well-correlated with the diagnoses and severity levels determined by the client’s medical professionals.
There are several possible obstacles to developing such a system. The first is the lack of general agreement between the various health care professionals on the terminology of food and liquid textures. For instance, Giel and Ryker (1996)  surveyed 71 dietitians in 27 states and found that 18 different terms were used to describe the same liquid viscosities and 40 terms were used to describe the same solid and semi-solid foods. Brown, Mills, Daubert and Casper (1998)  surveyed 293 speech-language pathologists and 283 dietitians using 10 samples of thickened liquids. They reported that 29 unique terms were used to describe those samples and that the same terms were often used for many different samples.
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