Common Therapeutic Diets Cheat Sheet

A therapeutic diets are a meal plan that controls the intake of certain foods or nutrients. It is part of the treatment of a medical condition and are normally prescribed by a physician and planned by a dietician. A therapeutic diet is usually a modification of a regular diet. It is modified or tailored to fit the nutrition needs of a particular person. Therapeutic diets are modified for (1) nutrients, (2) texture, and/or (3) food allergies or food intolerances.

Therapeutic diets

Common therapeutic diets include:

Nutrient modifications:

  • No concentrated sweets diet
  • Diabetic diets
  • No added salt diet
  • Low sodium diet
  • Low fat diet and/or low cholesterol diet
  • High fiber diet
  • Renal diet
  1. Texture modification
  • Mechanical soft diet
  • Puree diet

Food allergy or food intolerance modification

  • Food allergy
  • Food intolerance

Tube feedings

  • Liquid tube feedings in place of meals
  • Liquid tube feedings in addition to meals


Additional feedings – In addition to meal, extra nutrition may be ordered as:

  • Supplements – usually ordered as liquid nutritional shakes once, twice or three times per day; given either with meals or between meals
  • Nourishments – ordered as a snack food or beverage items to be given between meals mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon
  • HS snack – ordered as a snack food or beverage items to be given at the hour of sleep


Clear liquid diet

  • Includes minimum residue fluids that can be seen through.
  • Examples are juices without pulp, broth, and Jell-O.
  • Is often used as the first step to restarting oral feeding after surgery or an abdominal procedure.
  • Can also be used for fluid and electrolyte replacement in people with severe diarrhea.
  • Should not be used for an extended period as it does not provide enough calories and nutrients.

Full liquid diet

  • Includes fluids that are creamy.
  • Some examples of food allowed are ice cream, pudding, thinned hot cereal, custard, strained cream soups, and juices with pulp.
  • Used as the second step to restarting oral feeding once clear liquids are tolerated.
  • Used for people who cannot tolerate a mechanical soft diet.
  • Should not be used for extended periods.

No Concentrated Sweets (NCS) diet

  • Is considered a liberalized diet for diabetics when their weight and blood sugar levels are under control.
  • It includes regular foods without the addition of sugar.
  • Calories are not counted as in ADA calorie controlled diets.

Diabetic or calorie controlled diet (ADA)

  • These diets control calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat intake in balanced amounts to meet nutritional needs, control blood sugar levels, and control weight.
  • Portion control is used at mealtimes as outlined in the ADA “Exchange List for Meal Planning.”
  • Most commonly used calorie levels are: 1,200, 1,500, 1,800 and 2,000.

No Added Salt (NAS) diet

  • Is a regular diet with no salt packet on the tray.
  • Food is seasoned as regular food.

Low Sodium (LS) diet

  • May also be called a 2 gram Sodium Diet.
  • Limits salt and salty foods such as bacon, sausage, cured meats, canned soups, salty seasonings, pickled foods, salted crackers, etc.
  • Is used for people who may be “holding water” (edema) or who have high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, or first stages of kidney disease.

Low fat/low cholesterol diet

  • Is used to reduce fat levels and/or treat medical conditions that interfere with how the body uses fat such as diseases of the liver, gallbladder, or pancreas.
  • Limits fat to 50 grams or no more than 30% calories derived from fat.
  • Is low in total fat and saturated fats and contains approximately 250-300 mg cholesterol.

High fiber diet

  • Is prescribed in the prevention or treatment of a number of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and metabolic diseases.
  • Increased fiber should come from a variety of sources including fruits, legumes, vegetables, whole breads, and cereals.


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