Soft diet

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A mechanical soft diet or edentulous diet is a diet that involves only foods that are physically soft, with the goal of reducing or eliminating the need to chew the food. It is recommended for people who have difficulty chewing food, including people with some types of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), the loss of many or all teeth, surgery involving the jaw, mouth or gastrointestinal tract, and pain from recently adjusted dental braces.

A mechanical soft diet can include many or most foods if they are mashed, puréed, chopped very small, combined with sauce or gravy, or softened in liquid.

In some situations, there are additional restrictions. For example, patients who need to avoid acid reflux, such as those recovering from esophageal surgery for achalasia, are also instructed to stay away from foods that can aggravate reflux, which include ketchup and other tomato products, citrus fruits, chocolate, mint, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine. Foods such as tomatoes and blackberries may be restricted because they contain small seeds.[1]


A puréed diet is commonly used for people who have difficulty swallowing, and provides a uniformly smooth consistency.[1]

Soft diets, particularly pureed foods, can contribute to the high prevalence of malnutrition in those with dysphagia, especially in long-term care residents.[2] Such diets are often less palatable, and a reduction in food intake is common. Also, pureed diets are often poorer in calories, protein and micronutrients than regular diets.[3]

Most of the foods on this diet can be both puréed and thinned with liquids to be incorporated into a full-liquid diet.



A bowl of breakfast cereal in milk
Soggy breakfast cereal requires little or no chewing.


An open jar of peanut butter
Peanut butter and other nut butters provide protein without needing to chew. They may be too thick or sticky for people who have difficulty swallowing.

Fruits and vegetables[edit]

A bowl of applesauce
Applesauce and other puréed fruits and vegetables require no chewing.


A serving of ice cream in a bowl
Ice cream with no chunks of chocolate, whole nuts, or other hard ingredients can be part of a soft diet.


  1. ^ a b White, Lois; Duncan, Gena; Baumle, Wendy (2010-01-27). Foundations of Basic Nursing. Cengage Learning. pp. 395–396. ISBN 978-1428317741.
  2. ^ O'Keeffe ST (July 2018). "Use of modified diets to prevent aspiration in oropharyngeal dysphagia: is current practice justified?". BMC Geriatrics. 18 (1): 167. doi:10.1186/s12877-018-0839-7. PMC 6053717. PMID 30029632.
  3. ^ Keller H, Chambers L, Niezgoda H, Duizer L. Issues associated with the use of modified texture foods. J Nutr Health Aging. 2012;16:195–200.

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