Some patients diagnosed with specified medical conditions require a puree diet which consists of food blended into a smooth liquid. Foods such as ice creams, puddings, and soups are also included in this description. While there are significant medical advantages of having this type of diet, it is not without its disadvantages. Even as nerve disorders and certain surgeries require a diet of pureed food to prevent further complications that could be critical, the ability of people to remain on such a diet could be difficult as pureed food is not very palatable for many.
Certain conditions prevent patients from swallowing food correctly, resulting in choking or dangerous aspiration of food particles into the lungs. Stroke, Bell’s palsy, and other conditions affecting the nervous system can cause this problem, which is referred to as dysphagia. As of year 2011, at least 34% of stroke patient deaths are caused by pneumonia which can occur as a result of food aspiration. To ensure that these patients receive adequate nutrition without resulting in further trauma, doctors tend to prescribe pureed food for them.
Gastric surgeries performed for purposes of losing weight require that patients consume a post-operative diet restricted to pureed foods only. The soft diet consisting of small amounts of food will allow time for healing and the reduction of swelling, while keeping large food particles from getting lodged in the incision. Some patients only need to adhere to this diet for a few weeks, while others who also receive procedures causing changes in nutrient absorption may require a puree diet indefinitely.
Although this kind of diet has benefits which can prevent serious, life-threatening problems, the puree diet does have certain drawbacks that keep it from being enjoyable by the people who need them. Blended foods tend to look and taste unappealing, as even the texture can be a turn-off for certain people. The other issue is that certain foods cannot be pureed and therefore must be excluded from the diet, such as nuts and certain types of meats because of the skin on them. Pureed meat also tends to be robbed of moisture, thereby lending to the blandness of taste.
After pureed food is eaten, it is digested rapidly, as blending food decreases the amount of work that the body actually has to do, which may result in a feeling of being less full or satisfied. If the level of satiety is reached, then the person may quickly become hungry again, so those on a puree diet will need to eat more often and plan meals efficiently to ensure adequate nutrition. For some, eating in this way is a benefit as it aids in weight loss.