A comparison between gum and starch based thickeners on the perception of sensory characteristics 'taste', 'appearance' and 'consistency' in non-dysphagic swallowers.
(2017) A comparison between gum and starch based thickeners on the perception of sensory characteristics 'taste', 'appearance' and 'consistency' in non-dysphagic swallowers., no. 62.
Modification of the texture and consistency of food and drink has been established as a leading management option for dysphagia. Adding thickening powders to drinks is an effective way of increasing the viscosity of the bolus consequently allowing individuals more control of liquid during the swallowing process. Throughout the United Kingdom, NHS trusts are beginning to transition from traditional starch based thickeners (SBTs) to gum based thickeners (GBTs) with the rationale that this will increase compliance levels. The current study aimed to investigate the presence of a preference for the sensory characteristics 'taste', 'appearance' and 'consistency' of GBTs compared to SBTs. In addition, the study aimed to examine if this preference was consistent at both 'syrup' and 'pudding' consistencies using two base beverages (water and orange juice). 30 non-dysphagic participants were asked to sample eight thickened drinks; (four SBT, four GBT) which had been thickened to both 'syrup' and 'pudding' consistency using water and orange juice as a base beverage. Participants were asked to rate the appearance, taste and consistency of the drinks on a scale of one to seven. The findings from the study highlighted that GBTs were perceived as more appealing in appearance, taste and consistency compared to SBTs. This preference remained consistent across 'syrup' and 'pudding' thick beverages and the two base beverages (orange juice and water). The current study also highlighted a preference for preferred 'syrup' thick beverages, with orange juice as a base beverage. These findings provide support for the trust wide transition to GBTs, and indicate that there is a preference for the sensory characteristics of GBTs compared to SBTs. This in turn may have a positive impact on compliance levels.