We tend to view swallowing as a simple reflex, but it actually requires the use of 26 muscles and six nerves. Disease, head/neck injuries and aging can deteriorate these muscles and make swallowing difficult. The medical term for this condition is dysphagia. We’ve all felt that disturbing sensation when food “goes down the wrong pipe.” For someone suffering from dysphagia and constantly worried about choking, mealtime can be both embarrassing and terrifying.
Dysphagia affects more people than we think, especially with our growing aging population. According to the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders, it’s estimated that up to 22 percent of individuals over age 50 and most individuals by the age of 80 will experience it to some degree. CP Kelco is proud to play a part in the management of dysphagia, helping people to enjoy food and beverages again with less risk of choking.
Manufacturers use our ingredients to create three kinds of dysphagia diet texture modifications:
- We help thicken liquids so they flow more slowly, which gives the muscles more time to react and protect the airway. Fluids have always been an essential part of any diet – up to eight glasses of liquids per day is recommended. In the past, these liquids would have been thickened with starch, which had a chalky after-taste as well as a tendency to solidify and cause bloat. We offer nature-based ingredient solutions instead and can ensure the patient is receiving a tastier option.
- We help with the creation of soft foods. The innovation in this fast-growing segment is amazing! In Japan, where we’ve been working with manufacturers for 20 years, necessity has led to the invention of sophisticated, pureed meals for the elderly that are molded to look and taste like their original counterparts.
- We help with formulas for enteral tube nutrition. For those who can’t accept food and beverages by mouth, we modify the rheology of the tube feeding fluid to enhance nourishment delivery. Exciting progress is being made with plant-based protein formulas that use organic-compliant ingredients for increased tolerance and more complete nutrition.
Besides providing sensory/texture benefits, CP Kelco’s ingredients are exceptionally easy to use. We offer several, convenient, nature-based thickening and gelling agent solutions:
KELCOGEL® Gellan Gum is a soluble dietary fiber produced by fermentation that enables the preparation of soft-gel foods such as fish, soups, meats, vegetables and desserts. Available in two types, low acyl or high acyl, gellan gum can produce a wide variety of textures and provides excellent suspension of insoluble ingredients.
GENU® Pectin is extracted from citrus peel and is another superior stabilizer that can protect proteins and other nutrients in food formulations. It can often support organic label claims too.
GENUGEL® Carrageenan is derived from red seaweed and can be used to reconstitute a broad variety of foods into a cohesive, easy-to-swallow form.
For beverages, KELTROL® Xanthan Gum is optimized for use in hot, cold and acidic beverages with a consistent, gel-like viscosity and no off-taste.
Contact CP Kelco for more information to meet your dysphagia ingredient needs.
“How Aging Affects Our Swallowing Ability,” The National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders, March 2013.