Special Diets at St. Mary's Hospital

The following information is provided by St. Mary’s Food and Nutrition Services to explain the diet ordered for you by your physician.  If you desire further information or would like to speak with a dietitian, please contact 706-389-3660 ext. 3660.

Regular Diet

The regular diet can also be referred to as a general or normal diet.  Its purpose is to provide a well-balanced diet and ensure that individuals who do not require dietary modifications receive adequate nutrition.  Based on the Dietary Guidelines and the Food Guide Pyramid, it incorporates a wide variety of foods and adequate caloric intake.

Mechanical Soft Diet

The mechanical soft diet consists of foods soft in texture, moderately low in fiber, and processed by chopping, grinding or pureeing to be easier to chew.  Most milk products, tender meats, mashed potatoes, tender vegetables and fruits and their juices are included in the diet.  However, most raw fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts and dried fruits are excluded.

Clear Liquid Diet

To leave little residue in the GI tract, this short-term diet provides clear liquids that supply fluid and calories without residue.  It is often used with acute illness, before and after surgery, and other procedures such as x-ray, CT scan, etc.  It includes coffee, tea, clear juices, gelatin and clear broth.

Full Liquid Diet

As a transition between clear liquid and a soft or regular diet, this plan provides easily tolerated foods.  The diet includes milk, strained and creamed soups, grits, creamed cereal and fruit and vegetable juices.  We also serve scrambled eggs because of their high water content and they are an excellent source of protein.

GI Soft Diet

This diet can serve as a transition between a full liquid and a regular diet by providing foods low in fiber and soft in texture.  Most raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, coarse breads and cereals are avoided.  Milk, lean meats, fish, most forms of potatoes and white breads are served on this diet plan.

Low Residue/Low Fiber Diet

This type of diet tried to limit fiber, a kind of carbohydrate found in some plant-derived foods.  The diet limits intake around ten grams of fiber daily and is designed to minimize the frequency and volume of residue in the intestinal tract.

Salt-restricted (Low Sodium) Diet

Sodium controlled diets are usually prescribed for patients with hypertension and for those with excess fluid accumulations.  Intake of commercially prepared foods such as cured or smoked meats, canned vegetables and regular soups as well as buttermilk, salt and salty foods are limited or avoided. White milk, fresh or frozen meats, unsalted vegetables and fruits and low sodium foods are included. 

Fat-Restricted Diet

This diet is often prescribed for patients with gastrointestinal disorders or excessive body weight.  It limits the intake of fatty food such as margarine, mayonnaise, dressings, oils and gravies.  The diet usually includes whole wheat breads, lean cuts of meat, skim milk, low-fat cheese products, eggs, vegetables, and other food items prepared without extra fat.

Cholesterol-Restricted Diet

Lowering blood cholesterol can reduce your risk of heart disease.  Cholesterol is found only in foods of animal origin.  Certain oats, beans, and fruits are actually effective at lowering cholesterol levels in the body.  A cholesterol-restricted diet limits the intake of meats, poultry, fried foods, egg yolks, and whole milk products.  Food high in saturated fat and trans fatty acids such as palm kernel oil, coconut oil, margarine, and shortening are also limited.  The diet includes skim milk, lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products.

Vegetarian Diet

This diet varies widely depending on personal choice.  It may include only plant foods- grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and vegetables fats.  Some variations designed to be lower in cholesterol and saturated fat and higher in dietary fiber.  Thus, it may be helpful in the prevention of heart disease and cancer risk.

Consistent Carbohydrate (Diabetic Diet)

A diabetic diet varies from patient to patients depending on the type and intensity of the diabetes, the patients’ personal history, and individual nutrient needs.  The Exchange List for Meal Planning established the serving size amount of carbohydrates per meal based on calorie recommendations.  Meals are basically like those found on a regular menu, but carbohydrate servings are carefully controlled and small snacks may be included in the meal plan.  Carbohydrates are starches, starchy vegetables, juice, fruit, milk, and sugars.

Renal Diet

A renal diet is carefully planned with special consideration of nutrients, and it is often adjusted as kidney disease progresses.  A renal diet may serve the purpose of attempting to slow down the process of renal dysfunction.  If dialysis treatments are not being taken, the doctor may restrict protein intake of foods such as potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, and bananas.  A phosphorous restriction may limit the intake of milk and dairy products, dried beans and peas, while grain breads and cereals, coffee, tea, and “dark-colored” soda beverages.