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Therapeutic Nutrition: Importance and Types

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Treatment given to people based on nutrition is known as therapeutic nutrition. To learn more about this type of nutrition, read the article below.

Written by

Dr. K Anusha

Medically reviewed by

Neha Suryawanshi

Published At October 16, 2023
Reviewed AtOctober 16, 2023

Introduction

People who have diabetes, heart disease, and cancer can be treated by giving the right foods or nutrients by checking their nutrition status through therapeutic nutrition. To spend less time in the hospital and recover more quickly, nutrition therapy only helps the patients. By involving a simple change in the people's diet, tube feeding, and intravenous, one can achieve this type of nutrition, also called medical nutrition therapy. Food is used in nutritional therapy to prevent and reverse diseases primarily seen in Western societies, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, and arthritis. Foods must be nutrient-dense and help to measure in part by nutrients and anti-nutrients present in consumed foods to be therapeutic.

What Are Nutrients and Anti-nutrients?

Nutrients:

  • Macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, proteins), micronutrients(phytochemicals, antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals), and fiber from plant and animal sources are called nutrients.

  • Fruits, beans, legumes, whole grains, raw nuts and seeds, and complete and unprocessed vegetables are a few examples of nutrients.

  • Wild fish, dairy, eggs, and grass-fed organic meat are also included in this group.

Anti-nutrients:

  • Food products that have no biological necessity but are edible and are not considered foods are known as anti-nutrients.

  • Examples of anti-nutrients include sugars, artificial sweeteners, refined flour products, preservatives, additives, and highly processed and hydrogenated fats.

  • When some critical nutrients are consumed in excess, they will become anti-nutrients.

  • For example, a limited amount of salt consumption is good as per RDA (recommended dietary allowance) value, but taking more than a little is considered anti-nutrient.

What Is Nutritional Therapy?

  • Nutritional therapy includes the appropriate mixture of micro and macronutrients in a nutritionally dense format without contamination to make food therapeutically beneficial.

  • How foods are prepared and delivered is also concerned with nutritional therapy.

  • To judge and calculate the level of micronutrients per calorie and the therapeutic value of food, the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) is used.

  • Individuals can choose the most nutritionally dense foods with the most micronutrients, from colorful vegetables, green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, and berries.

  • Foods with no nutrition density are not included in nutrition therapy programs, including refined oils and sweets.

What Are the Basics of Nutrition Therapy?

Approaches made in a holistic, safe, and effective manner to treat the whole person are made by leaders called nurse practitioners. Fundamental treatment provided to the patient who wants to take relief from obesity and chronic illness is done by nutritional therapy. It also helps to promote the health and wellness of a patient. Some of the recommendations are given below:

  1. People must eat all types of whole grain foods and should not concentrate more on only calories, carbohydrates, and fats.

  2. Individuals should consume whole foods like raw vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, raw nuts, raw seeds, organic animal products, grass-fed, and small wild fish.

  3. Intake of anti-nutrients and processed foods leads to obesity and a wide range of diseases, so people should avoid them.

  4. People should eat a diet that is nutritionally dense with more calories in it.

  5. And according to individual caloric needs, macronutrients should be adjusted in their food. So that one can easily judge their therapeutic nutritional value.

  6. For example, if an individual wants to try and reverse his disease process stage, then. People should focus on a diet primarily of vegetables and raw fruits by eliminating animal products.

  7. One should always prefer a flexible diet, including grains and animal products.

What Is a Therapeutic Diet?

  • A therapeutic diet is a meal plan that controls certain foods and nutrient intake. It is also known as a modified regular diet that helps to fit a particular person's nutritional needs.

  • Usually, it is a part of the treatment given to people with medical conditions by a physician or a dietician.

  • The therapeutic diet is modified based on the texture, nutrients, and food allergies or sensitivity.

Why Is the Therapeutic Diet Ordered?

Below are a few reasons to order a therapeutic diet:

  • More significant amounts of nutrients, such as protein, are provided by this diet.

  • The texture is modified during the process of swallowing or chewing can be done with the help of this diet.

  • Nutritional status can be corrected, maintained, and restored with the help of a therapeutic diet.

  • It helps to provide extra calories for weight gain and can decrease the calories for weight control.

  • People can control diabetes by balancing their diet's carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

  • It helps to reduce the number of nutrients like sodium in the diet.

  • If an individual has intolerance or allergy to a type of food, it can be excluded from the diet.

What Are the Different Types of Therapeutic Diets?

There are many types of therapeutic diets which are given below:

  • Full Liquid Diet: People who cannot tolerate a mechanical soft diet prefer the complete liquid diet because only creamy fluids are given.
  • Diabetic or Calorie-Controlled Diet: Following this diet can maintain nutritional needs and control calories, carbohydrates, proteins, and fat intake. People can control blood sugar levels and weight.
  • Clear Liquid Diet: This diet includes minimum residue fluid, which can be seen through easily.
  • No Added Salt Diet: Salt packets are not added to the foods in this diet.
  • No Concentrated Sweet Diet: The liberal diet is given to diabetic patients when their weight and blood sugar levels are under control.
  • Low Cholesterol or Fat Diet: Fat is used in diseases like the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. So, people's fat amount is limited to 50 grams in the diet.
  • Low Sodium Diet: Salt and salty foods are limited in this type of diet, so it is also known as a two-gram sodium diet.
  • Renal Diet: This diet is given to people with kidney diseases who are in the dialysis stage. Sodium, potassium, fluid, and protein content are restricted.
  • Pureed Diet: People with chewing and swallowing difficulties, known as dysphasia, use this diet. This regular diet is changed by pureeing it into a smooth liquid consistency.
  • Mechanically Altered Soft Diet: This diet is mainly for people with poor dental conditions, missing teeth, and dysphasia. Here, a regular diet is changed into a soft texture.
  • High Fiber Diet: People use this diet to prevent cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and metabolic diseases. Here high-fiber content foods are encouraged to be eaten.

Conclusion

Nowadays, there is evidence showing an increase in the diet limited to nutritionally dense foods that are minimally cooked and processed. However, a few critics also argue that people can not maintain the new approaches in therapeutic nutrition by altering their dietary changes. So, the medical practitioner, physician, or dietician must educate the patient about nutritional practices to maintain proper health. Nutritional science advances, and the emerging health system has the potential to heal and promote individual health.

Neha Suryawanshi
Neha Suryawanshi

Nutritionist

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