(Note: As of this post, more and more studies have been published showing that a wide variety of real whole food is good for people! Even people with feeding tubes! We are compiling all the studies on blenderized diets here.)
Back when I first starting feeding my son a blenderized diet 4+ years ago and then founded Real Food Blends, there wasn’t much actual research as to the benefits of putting real food through the feeding tube.
Luckily, there was A LOT of anecdotal evidence, a few books on the subject (two notable: Homemade Blended Diet Handbook and Complete Tubefeeding) and Facebook really empowered those with feeding tubes to connect with one another and share their experiences with real food.
How times have changed! We have compiled a list of blenderized diet research and observational studies from medical professionals below. Our hope is that this information can assist you in receiving physician support, insurance coverage for our meals, and make it easier for medical professionals to proactively suggest real food for people with tubes by having proven, documented reasons that people with feeding tubes can benefit from blenderized diets.
The Use of Blenderized Tube Feedings (2009) Although this isn’t a study per se, this printed roundtable
discussion of blenderized diets from medical professionals can be useful and give some ‘teeth’ to the blenderized diet anecdotes.
Pureed by gastrostomy tube diet improves gagging and retching in children with fundoplication (University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 2011)
- Thirty-three children (mean age, 34.2 months) participated in the trial. Average weight gain on the PBGT diet was 6.2 g/d. Seventeen children (52%) were reported to have a 76%-100% reduction in gagging and retching. Twenty-four children (73%) were reported to have a ≥ 50% decrease in symptoms. No child had worsened symptoms on the PBGT diet. Nineteen children (57%) were reported to have an increase in oral intake on the PBGT diet.
- Conclusions: A PBGT diet is an effective means of providing nutrition to children with feeding disorders. In children post-fundoplication surgery, a PBGT diet may decrease gagging and retching behaviors.
In the past year, we’ve seen an increase in the number of published surveys and studies done, and they generally show the same results:
“Most common reasons for using BTF were as follows: it is more natural (43%), like eating what their family does (33%), and tolerate BTF better (30%). In patients who use BTF, 80% reported maintaining goal body weight. BTF resulted in significantly less reported nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation compared with commercial EN. Conclusions: This is the first study to evaluate BTF use in an adult HEN population. More than 50% of our patients used and approximately 80% expressed a desire to use BTF if provided with adequate information.”
Tolerance of Pureed Diet by Gastrosonomy Tube in Pediatric Patients, Children’s Hospital of Michigan / Wayne State Medical School (Presented at NASPGHAN, 2014)
Conclusion: The pureed diet by GT is an alternative diet that is well received by families of patients. The pureed diet can improve the gagging / retching, oral tolerance, weight velocities, and stooling habits. Adverse effects of the pureed diet are limited.
The BLEND Study: A Feasibility study looking at children transitioning onto blenderized tube feeds, The Sick Kids (Presented at NASPGHAN, 2015)
Conclusion: Fewer subjects reported emesis and stools became firmer. Use of antacids, motility agents, and laxatives did NOT increase. 1.5 times more calories were required to maintain anthropometrics. Caregivers perception of BLEND was positive.
Short-Term Outcomes Using Blenderized Tube Feedings Among Gastrostomy-Tube Dependent Children, Children’s Hospital of Orange County (Presented at NASPGHAN, 2015)
Conclusion: Pediatric patients who are dependent on gtube feedings may benefit from BTF for improvement in stool consistency, vomiting, and gtube intolerance. Full BTF may result in better outcomes than combination foods. Frequent monitoring of anthropometric measurements is warranted to promote age appropriate growth.
We’re happy to see the increased interest in studying blended diets (although I do like to tease that we’re studying putting real food into real stomachs – it’s been done for THOUSANDS of years!)
If you or someone you are caring for has a feeding tube and has any of the above-mentioned symptoms (vomiting, reflux, failure to gain weight, weight loss, diarrhea / constipation, oral aversion, feeding refusal, or general formula intolerance), these studies should help get your medical team on board with a blended diet. Our Real Food Blends meals can be a very simple way to implement a blenderized diet.
Questions? Comments? We’d love to hear from you below or on our Facebook page.