Thick water or thickened beverages are fluids with a thick consistency. It is particularly prepared to help people suffering from dysphagia (problem swallowing). **Thick water **prevents the liquid from going into the windpipe. There are various ways to get thick water. You can either purchase them or prepare them at home with thickening agents.
A thicker fluidity makes it less likely that individuals will face swallowing difficulty and aspiration. As mentioned above, aspiration is caused by dysphagia.
The main thick water purpose is to aid people suffering from dysphagia. Dysphagia is a severe problem that can make some people nutrient deficient as they can’t swallow food easily.
Thick water manufacturers have added has added certain ingredients in it like vitamins to ease out these deficiencies. In this way, thick water is quite healthy.
Apart from its nutritional benefits, it hasn’t any other benefit on normal people who aren’t suffering from dysphagia.
Many of you who are addicted to social media will probably know about the thick water challenge. But what is this thick water? Are you searching for what is it made of? And why people consume it?
For millions of people who are suffering from dysphagia all around the world, thick water is a safe and effective solution to stay healthy. Thick water is actually a liquid with high viscosity and a slow flow rate that lowers the chances of coughing, choking, and aspiration and makes it easier to swallow.
When your age increases, around 50 pairs of your muscles and nerves that are assigned to help you swallow, deplete. With the passage of time, these muscles can function improperly and can make it difficult to keep food and liquid down. For elders with sensitive neurological conditions, eating and drinking is a severe headache.
Thick water and other thickening agents help in hassle-free and easy swallowing. Moreover, it stops liquid from entering the trachea making it easy to digest properly.
The main point of thick water uses is that it helps slows down the flow rate of the liquid providing you better control of it in your mouth.
Anyone who faces difficulty in swallowing can get benefited from thick water. However, it is advised that before starting its administration, consult with a qualified medical professional.
Most often, swallowing issues are by a speech-language pathologist. To determine whether you are at a risk your pathologist will examine your facial and oral structure and watch you eating and drinking.
If these steps aren’t helpful, they may suggest a fibrotic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) or a modified barium swallow (MBS).
Thick water isn’t only used for dysphagia; people suffering from other diseases characterized by swallowing difficulty may also use it. Some common health conditions that involve difficulty in dementia are given below:
Serious injuries in the spinal cord
Inflammation of the esophagus.
Acid reflux and GERD
Apart from all these, you may also experience difficulty in swallowing if you are living with some neurological conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia such diseases will determine is thick water good for you or not.
After getting to know about what is thick water, let’s know about how to make thick water or how to thicken the water. There are a lot of such products and thickeners you can get from the market, but the easiest way is to prepare them is here.
Yes! You can make them at home with all ease and comfort. So, follow the below-mentioned steps:
• Take half a cup of thin liquids.
• Add one and half-two spoons of a good thickener.
• Mix them well and stir for 20-30 seconds.
• Let this for a minimum of two minutes.
• Now you can consume it.
Thick water is made up of the following ingredients:
Calcium disodium EDTA
Sodium acid sulfate
Artesian mineral water
Thick water taste is much similar to the normal tap and bottled water. The key difference between these is the consistency of thick water. Many people compare its consistency with aloe Vera gel.
Thick water pouring and swallowing is quite easy but its mouthfeel is chunkier. Moreover, due to some additives, thick water consumers become much quicker as compared to normal people.
Always start consumption with small glasses to make an easy transition from thin to thick water. You can also add your favorite drinks to it like lemon juice or stevia.
Below is the video w/c shows that how the thick water tastes and all the details about it are shown below.
There are several types of thick water but they are divided into two broad categories:
Starch-based thickeners are composed of starch. Starch is a polysaccharide tasteless powder that quickly dissolves in the water and various other liquids. Starch-based thickeners are easy to use but they require immediate consumption as they can become increasingly chunky if they are left to sit. In this way, they become difficult to swallow.
Gum based thickeners:
The gum-based thickeners are composed of natural ingredients such as Xanthium gum which is a lump of fermented sugar. Unlike starch thickeners, they can form clumps if not mixed properly.
Gum-based thickeners don’t require any immediate consumption. They remain with the same consistency over time and can be consumed later.
Your preference and taste will decide which type of thickener you should choose. However, before trying such products, always consult your doctor to determine if you are eligible to use them or not.
The level of thickness may have been prescribed to you by your consultant, below are the levels of thickness that thick water and many other thickened liquids may have:
These liquids are with high fluidity and low viscosity. They are thin which makes them easy to swallow and go through quickly. They are so thin that if you dip a fork in them, it may leave nearly no coating.
Nectar Thickened liquids:
These liquids are a bit viscous such that if you dip a fork in them, they may sink quickly. They are easily pourable and comparable to thicker cream soups. Examples are maple syrup, tomato juice, etc.
Honey thickened liquids:
As the name indicates, these liquids are slightly thicker, less, and viscous just like honey. These are drizzle from a cup of the bowl. If you a fork in them, it may sink slowly.
Pudding thickened liquids:
These liquids are vicious and thick just like pudding. They hold their own shape, not pourable, and always require a spoon to be consumed. If you dip a fork in them, they may hold together and don’t sink.
In short, thick water is designed and prepared for the people who can’t swallow their food easily. Its ingredients help them to swallow their food and prevent many diseases that may get caused by dysphagia as it is linked with many troubles including breathing and digestive problems. The ingredients used in it are combined with this single aim to overcome all these problems.
If your liquids are too thin, you can add up one of the following ingredients to make them nectar thick.
|Banana flakes||Pureed vegetables|
|Pureed fruits||Rice cereals|
|Pureed meats||Plain, tasteless gelatin powder|
|Corn starch||Mashed potatoes|
|Gravy||Cooked cereals like (cream of wheat or cream of rice)|
|Instant potato flakes|
The thick water is healthy and safe but particularly for those who have difficulty in swallowing. Adults are not affected by it but infants under 2 years of age should stay away from thick water.
Children with 12 years of age can use it but according to their physician’s prescription.
Before proceeding further, let’s have a brief intro about dysphagia. Older adults suffer from many diseases that younger ones can’t imagine. Dysphagia is one of these that cause difficulty in feeding or swallowing. It is a common health problem being faced by many hospitals around.
Research has found that this blockage in swallowing has affected around 13 million people in the United States and this may increase with the increase in population.
As such people have difficulty in swallowing; this food can accumulate at the back of their mouth which can cause shortness of breath.
Mostly, dysphagia results in improper consumption that leads to many complications like dehydration and aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration involves the entry of materials from the gastrointestinal tract to the larynx and lungs. This movement can be highly problematic as it’s associated with pathogens.
Recent studies have shown that around 5%-15% of the community of the half-million case acquires pneumonia every year with a mortality rate of 21%.
Dysphagia is a serious clinical diagnosis and various assessment tools are available to diagnose its mechanism and severity for example VFSE, a videofluoroscopic swallowing exam is an effective tool that involves the administration of certain barium consistencies that may aid in determining the mechanism and severity especially in the pharyngeal stage of swallowing.
VFSE is an expensive and time-consuming procedure. Consumption of thick water for dysphagia and other thickened beverages is quite helpful in this regard.
Social media platforms like TikTok are full of harmless trends but many of them may result in unintended consequences.
Nowadays on TikTok, the thick water challenge is spreading with its full power in the young generation. Usually, this isn’t any serious problem but it may hurt many of you. That’s why parents are forbidding their children from this useless trend.
This trend requires buying a thickening agent named Thick-it. Generally, people try it and respond to show how unusual it is. This is a pointless trend revolving over.
There isn’t any highlighted health drawback but Thick-it is an important item that is prepared for children and seniors to overcome their swallowing difficulties. Water is an important component of life. So an alternative to its thinner form can save many lives from many problems.
However, as the trend is viral, many stores are selling a greater number of Thick-it. In this way, during the pandemic, the supply chains were usually delayed and setback. This important drink is purchased by people who don’t need it, just to spread videos about how weird and gross it is, and then throw it away.
There are a number of videos made by numerous nurses, medical professionals, and those who actually need the product for themselves or their loved ones. They tell people that this product is not easy to avail. It should be left for the people who actually need it.
A number of the best thick water products are available in the market with proven formula and ingredients. Whether you are searching for your own or your loved one you can visit any nearby stores or can get them via an online store.
However, you probably can find bundles of such products; in that case, we may help you. Below are given some of the awesome thick water products, you should grab them without any worries. So, keep scrolling down.
Thick-It Aqua Care H2O:
These items are made keeping in mind all the facts about a dysphagia patient. All of such items are ready to drink with all ingredients in an appropriate manner. Features like honey-like consistency and pure appearance may enhance its intake and hydration.
Moreover, these products are the best and enjoyable options as they can work best even if chilled. They are sugar-free, calorie-free, and gluten-free and best for diabetic patients.
Thick-It clear Advantage Thickened water:
Thick-It clear advantage thickened water can be another best option for you. It contributes only five calories per serving. It has nectar consistency. These products aren’t flavored and they usually come in fluid form that is ready to drink.
These products are synthesized from pure artesian mineral water. They are pre-thickened for good consistency. You can easily mix them in hot and cold beverages. Or they can form a good combination with powdered milk, Broth, or drink mixes.
Moreover, they are quite refreshing and much easy to swallow.
Apart from the above-mentioned products, if you aren’t interested in pre-thickening beverages, and are interested in a homemade thickener, you can find the best alternatives in this category. Some are given as under:
Thick-It Food and Drink Thickener:
Thick-It brand has ruled over the market for more than thirty years. It has a variety of products as thickening agents. The Thick-It Food and Drink Thickener is a corn-starch-based formula that is quite easy to mix in every beverage, including water. The intake may be based on your choice if you want to add more or less to make your drink more or less consistent.
Apart from that, they can dissolve instantly and aids in minimizing the risks of choking and aspiration. They are gluten-free and easy to digest.
Simply Thick Easy Mix Food and Beverage:
This one is of another brand. Simply thick is a gum-based thickener that comes in a small bottle attached to a pump. These don’t have any flavor and can be added easily to any liquid drink. Its consistency can be maintained including honey, nectar, pudding-like, or as per your choice. And this is the plus point that it allows for more flexibility when thickening food or drinks. It contributes only five calories per serving.
Thick water is a consistent and viscous fluid that is prepared for people who are suffering from dysphagia. Dysphagia is a disease that causes difficulty in swallowing. Thick water helps a lot in good swallowing as well as it can prevent the food to enter the trachea. The ingredients in thick water are based upon which item you are using, they may be starch-based thickeners are gum-based thickeners. There are a lot of stores you can visit to get some best quality Thick water products.
Here are some questions that are asked frequently about thick water and they are as follows.
There are mainly three consistencies of thickened liquids and they are as follows.
Pudding thick liquids: They basically hold their own shape and need a spoon to eat and they are also not pourable.
Honey-thick-liquids: They are slightly thicker and less pourable.
Nectar-thick-liquids: They are easily pourable and compared to apricot nectar.
Thick water needs some ingredients in order to get thick.
The following list of ingredients is needed in order to get the water thick.
Xanthan Xanthan Gum
Artesian Mineral Water
Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate
Sodium Acid Sulfate
Calcium Disodium EDTA.
When anyone has problem in swallowing than the thickened drinks are mainly used for them when Individuals will find every liquid difficult to swallow and find that liquids cause coughing, aspiration, or even spluttering, so they must have thickened water w/c will make it ease in drinking and swallowing safely. And that thickening drinks enables them to swallow safely.
Even those patients who had a problem breathing or may have illness doctors advise them to consume thickened liquids One thing w/c needs to be kept in mind that Liquid thickness is measured by only two methods either with a line spread test or with a viscometer.
Just to slow down the flow of liquids, thickened liquids give better control and chances less of going down the wrong pipe because it is dangerous that if liquids will go into your airway or any wrong pipe may end up going in your lungs.
Yes because thickened water provides pure hydration without adding any flavor like lemon or artificial sweeteners. You just have to chill it or freeze into ice cubes. Also, the biggest advantage of thickened water is that you can have it any time because it won’t get thicker over time.
Thickened water does not taste different it tastes similar to tap or boiled water only the difference is its consistency many people think that it is aloe-vera gel due to its viscosity but it is actually not.
Walmart has the following thickened water w/c is written below.
Thick-It Aqua CareHO Beverages Thickened Water 46 fl oz
Make sure you have kept the unused portion properly covered in a refrigerator and remember this unused portion can be kept for only 3 days also try not to keep this thickened liquid a room temperature longer than 4hours.
Dysphagia’s other signs include the followings:
- Coughing or blockage when eating or drinking.
- Through the nose you see food bringing back up.
- Palpitation that food is stuck in your chest or throat.
- Non-stop drooling of saliva.
- When you are in a condition of not chewing food properly.
- When eating or drinking a gurgly sound is produced.
As we have seen that many liquids are thick naturally , for example, nutritional drinks like Ensure® and Fortisip ®., thick milkshakes, and yogurt drinks, etc so hot liquids get older over time and thickened water get always thicker or maybe thinner also over time.
In the above article, we have mentioned each and everything that is necessary to know about thick water. Although thick water is the best alternative to get rid of swallowing difficulties, it is suggested that before choosing any water thickening agent for yourself or your loved one, try to consult a doctor or physician. This doesn’t mean that you may are wrong but it can save you from the health problems that may cause in the future.
Your doctor may help you in choosing the right thickener for you as you won’t be able to decide which one could suit you.