What’s the difference between clear and full liquids, mechanical soft and pureed, diets?

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Clear liquid diet: Strained orange juice or lemonade (no pulp), apple, grape and cranberry juice, tea, black coffee, plain gelatin, popsicles, clear broth.

Full liquid diet: Coffee, tea, cream, milk, milkshakes, fruit and vegetable juices, sodas, Cream of Wheat, Cream of Rice, Coco Wheats, pureed soups, Gelatin (Jell-O), whipped topping, custard-style yogurt, pudding.

Pureed: as one might imagine, pureed everything: soups, vegetables, meats, souffles, pudding, custard.

Mechanical soft: cooked cereals like oatmeal, moistened corn flakes, pudding, soft bananas and pureed fruit, tender meat cut into small pieces, cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, well-cooked vegetables.

Ground diet: A step above mechanical soft, food may be chopped into small pieces but don’t have to be mashed or moistened.


The basic principle is that thicker liquids are easier to swallow. Liquids can be made thicker by adding a “thickener” to it (purchased at most drugstores).

Thin liquids: juice, tea, milk, soda, beer, and broth

Nectar liquids: vegetable juices and thin milkshakes

Honey liquids: liquids are like honey at room temperature

***Patients will hopefully not be on these diets forever (at most 3-5 days). They are intended as a stopgap until the patient recovers more function.


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