The 5 best thickeners or dysphagia by Cat Ludwig, RDN, LD. picture of 4 jars with powder in one of them and a wooden spoon

The 5 Best Thickeners for Dysphagia

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When it comes to dysphagia, the difficulty of swallowing can be a major concern for those who suffer from it. It can cause frustration, discomfort and even pose a danger to their health. That’s why finding the right thickener is crucial for ease and safety in eating and drinking and I have compiled a list of the 5 best thickeners for dysphagia.

As someone who has seen the impact of dysphagia firsthand, I understand the importance of choosing the best thickener (And yes, I have my favorite!). Thickeners come in various forms and brands, each with their own pros and cons. But with so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to know which ones to choose.

That’s why I’ve done the research for you and have compiled a list of five of the best thickeners for dysphagia. These thickeners have been chosen based on their taste, effectiveness, and ease of use. So whether you have dysphagia yourself or are caring for someone who does, this article is here to help you make an informed decision on which thickener will work best for your needs.

Xanthan Gum: A Popular and Versatile Thickener

So what are the 5 best thickeners for Dysphagia? For starters, I’ve found xanthan gum to be a popular and versatile option. It can be used in both hot and cold liquids, which makes it a convenient option for many. However, some people may experience digestive issues when consuming it, so it’s important to monitor your symptoms.

Xanthan gum thickeners can be purchased at many health food stores or online retailers.

How to use Xanthan Gum

Get ready to elevate your thickening game with xanthan gum, the secret ingredient to creating a smooth and consistent texture in your foods for those with swallowing disorders. This versatile thickener has numerous benefits, including its ability to thicken both hot and cold liquids without altering their taste.

Additionally, xanthan gum does not require heat to thicken, making it an ideal option for those who prefer cold or room temperature foods. Recipes with xanthan gum are easy to create, and dosages can be adjusted to achieve the desired thickness.

Simply sprinkle a small amount of xanthan gum over your liquid, and whisk thoroughly until the desired consistency is reached. For a creamier texture, blend the mixture in a blender or food processor. When compared to other thickeners, xanthan gum has a lower dosage requirement, making it a more cost-effective option.

In terms of alternatives, guar gum and cornstarch are two popular options, but they may alter the taste and texture of your food.

Problems with Xanthan Gum

Sometimes, xanthan gum can cause clumping or a slimy texture in your foods, warns the expert. This potential side effect can make it difficult for people with dysphagia to consume their meals comfortably.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to xanthan gum that can still thicken foods without causing these issues. One alternative is guar gum, which is derived from the guar bean. It has a neutral taste and is less likely to cause clumping or sliminess in foods. Another option is cornstarch, which is a common thickener that can be easily found in most grocery stores.

When using xanthan gum, it’s important to measure it carefully as even a small amount can greatly thicken a liquid. Mixing it with a small amount of sugar or salt before adding it to the liquid can also help prevent clumping. Despite its potential drawbacks, xanthan gum can still be a useful thickener in certain recipes, such as soups and sauces.

By comparing its benefits and drawbacks to other thickeners, individuals with dysphagia can choose the best option for their needs.

Where you can buy Xanthan Gum Thickeners

Xanthan gum is not the right choice for everyone but is actually a great thickener for those with dysphagia. It’s easy to use, has a neutral taste, and doesn’t alter the appearance of the food.

So where can you buy xanthan gum thickeners? Here are a few options to consider:

1. Price comparison: Before purchasing xanthan gum thickeners, it’s important to compare prices to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Check out online retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, and Target to see which one offers the best price for the product you’re looking for.

2. Benefits of xanthan gum: Xanthan gum is a popular thickener for dysphagia because it creates a smooth, cohesive texture in foods and beverages. It’s also stable in a range of temperatures and pH levels, making it versatile.

3. Alternative thickeners: While xanthan gum is a great option, it may not be suitable for everyone. Some people may have allergies or sensitivities to it. In that case, there are alternative thickeners available such as guar gum, cornstarch, and rice flour. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best thickener for your individual needs.

When it comes to xanthan gum thickeners, customer reviews can be a helpful resource for determining the quality and effectiveness of the product. Additionally, many stores carry xanthan gum thickeners in their health food sections or online. With its many benefits, xanthan gum is a popular choice for those with dysphagia, and its availability in stores and online makes it easy to find and use.

SimplyThick: A Convenient and Effective Gel

SimplyThick is a game-changer for individuals with swallowing disorders, and it is also made of xanthan gum! It’s a gel-based thickener that combines convenience and effectiveness, making it a popular choice among many. Unlike other thickeners, SimplyThick comes ready to use straight from the bottle or packet, without any mixing required. This convenience factor makes it a favorite for those who are always on the go and may not have the time or energy to mix their thickeners.

Pros of SimplyThick – Why it’s one of the top 5 best thickeners for Dysphagia

The gel consistency of simply thick makes it easy to control and mix in to your food or drink. Texture comparison is crucial when it comes to choosing the right thickener, and SimplyThick does not disappoint. It has a smooth, consistent texture that blends well with various liquids, including juices, coffee, tea, and even carbonated beverages without clumping!

The portion control feature of SimplyThick is another significant selling point. It comes with a pump (or packet) that dispenses a precise amount of thickener, ensuring that individuals get the same consistency every time.

Additionally, SimplyThick has a long storage and shelf life, making it an excellent option for those who prefer to buy in bulk. Store either in the refrigerator or at room temperature without worries.

Cons of SimplyThick

This option can be expensive, and as with any thickener, the thicker you need your food or drink to be, the more you have to use. Each level of thickness increases the amount to be added.

Insurance may or may not cover your thickener. Contact your doctor’s office or pharmacy for assistance in determining if your insurance can help.

Where to Purchase This Thickener

SimplyThick is relatively easy to find:

  • You can find SimplyThick on the company website
    • https://www.simplythick.com/Find-Location – a store near you!
  • At Amazon.com in the pump and packets
  • At your local restaurant supply store (somewhere like Gordon Food Service, or GFS)
  • Walmart.com
  • Other online locations

Thick-It: A Trusted Brand for Dysphagia Management

You must have heard of Thick-It, the go-to brand for individuals with swallowing difficulties, because it’s been around for a while and is trusted by many. One of the benefits of Thick-It is that it is available in different forms, including powder and pre-mixed liquids, which allows for flexibility in usage.

It’s also known for its quick dissolution and ability to maintain thickness over time, making it a reliable option for those with dysphagia. While Thick-It may be the most well-known thickener, there are alternatives available on the market.

Some users have reported preferring other brands due to taste, texture, or ease of use. However, Thick-It remains a popular choice for many, with numerous positive user reviews available online. Additionally, there are recipe ideas available for incorporating Thick-It into meals and drinks, making it a versatile option for those looking to manage their dysphagia.

Thick-It Drink Options

Thick-It also offers a line of ready to drink beverages that can be chilled or consumed at room temperature. They offer water, juice, and coffee that is pre-thickened to your specific IDDSI level. They even offer an electrolyte rich juice for those that would benefit from extra electrolytes.

Thick-It Powdered Options

Most companies offer powders or gel thickeners for drinks and foods. Thick-it is no different. They have a signature thickening powder that is appropriate for hot and cold liquids, and also an option that is concentrated so you need LESS powder with MORE thickening power. This option is most appropriate for people with Diabetes who need to consider how much additional carbohydrate to add to each meal and snack each day.

Where to Find Thick-It

  • Amazon.com – Thick-it has a store specifically on Amazon to make their product easy to find and buy
  • Walmart
  • Walgreens, CVS, or other local pharmacy
  • Your local grocery store – near me it would be Meijer or Kroger

Resource ThickenUp Clear: A Clear and Tasteless Option

As someone who’s been helping people manage dysphagia for years, I can attest to the importance of finding the right thickener for each individual’s needs. Thick-It’s been a trusted brand in the dysphagia community for many years, but there are other options available that may work even better for some people.

One such option is Resource ThickenUp Clear. It’s a unique thickener that offers several benefits over other options. One of the biggest advantages is that it’s both clear and tasteless, which can be a game-changer for those who’re sensitive to the texture or taste of other thickeners.

Additionally, Resource ThickenUp Clear is made with a combination of modified cornstarch and maltodextrin, which has been shown to be effective in thickening liquids to the desired consistency. When compared to other thickeners, Resource ThickenUp Clear has received positive reviews from many people with dysphagia. It’s also widely available, making it a convenient option for those who need to manage their dysphagia on-the-go.

Where to Buy Resource ThickenUp

  • Straight from the Nestle website
  • Of course you can get it from Amazon
  • Walmart
  • Your local pharmacy, like CVS or Walgreens

Thick & Easy: A Cost-Effective and Easy-to-Use Thickener

For those looking for a budget-friendly and user-friendly option, Thick & Easy, made by Hormel, may be the answer to your thickening needs. This thickener is designed to be easy to mix and dissolve, making it an ideal option for those who want to save time without sacrificing quality, however, it may take awhile to get it mixed in all the way.

Additionally, Thick & Easy comes in a variety of flavor options, allowing you to customize your thickened drinks to your liking. When it comes to cost savings, Thick & Easy is definitely a winner. It’s one of the most affordable options on the market, making it a great choice for those who need to thicken their drinks on a regular basis, plus they sell pre-thickened drinks both in bulk and individual.

In terms of mixing tips, it’s recommended that you use a fork or whisk to mix Thick & Easy with your beverage. As for storage recommendations, it’s best to keep the product in a cool, dry place to ensure that it stays fresh for as long as possible.

User reviews are generally positive, with many customers praising the product for its ease of use and great taste. Overall, Thick & Easy is a great option for those who want a cost-effective and easy-to-use thickener. Thick & Easy is on the top 5 best thickeners for dysphagia because of the price.

Where to Buy Thick & Easy

Conclusion of the 5 Best Thickeners for Dysphagia

In conclusion, choosing the right thickener can make a big difference in the quality of life for those who suffer from difficulty swallowing. Based on taste and effectiveness, the 5 best thickeners for dysphagia are Xanthan Gum, SimplyThick, Thick-It, Resource ThickenUp Clear, and Thick & Easy.

Each one has its own unique benefits and features, making it important to weigh the options and choose the best fit for individual needs. Selecting the right thickener is like finding the perfect puzzle piece to complete the picture.

With the right thickener, meals become more enjoyable and easier to consume, while also reducing the risk of choking and aspiration. By considering factors such as taste, texture, and convenience, individuals with dysphagia can find a solution that not only works well, but also fits their lifestyle and preferences.

With the help of these top five thickeners, individuals with dysphagia can take control of their condition. They cam also enjoy a more comfortable and satisfying dining experience.

1 thought on “The 5 Best Thickeners for Dysphagia”

  1. 1 star
    It is truly a great and helpful piece of information. I am happy that you shared
    this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this.
    Thanks for sharing.

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