Can you eat solid food with a nasogastric tube? 

In this short guide, we will know if we can eat solid foods when we have a nasogastric tube. In addition, we will discuss what types of formulas and foods can be ingested when you have a nasogastric tube. 

Can you eat solid food with a nasogastric tube? 

Yes, it is possible to eat solid foods when you have a nasogastric tube, as long as a specialist such as a language therapist evaluates your swallowing and diagnoses whether it is safe to swallow solid foods while you have a nasogastric tube. 

When we have a nasogastric tube we ask ourselves the question “can we eat solid food?” we must know that there are different reasons for which this type of tube is used, one of them is to complement the feeding/nutrition of the person, where it has already been evaluated by a professional that does not have swallowing problems. 

What is nasogastric tube feeding?

Nasogastric feeding involves placing a thin tube through the nose into the stomach. The tube can be used to administer fluids, medications, and liquid food with nutrients directly into the stomach. 

What type of solid foods can you eat if you have a nasogastric tube?

The types of solid foods that can be eaten when you have a nasogastric tube vary according to what your doctor and nutritionist tell you because not all patients with a nasogastric tube are allowed to eat solid foods.

What type of food can be administered in the nasogastric tube?

Special formulations can be administered as well as real food shakes. Real food refers to the fact that the patient can liquefy his food into a fine mixture and feed it directly into the feeding tube without requiring a special formula, for example, a high protein formula. 

Liquefied foods are easier to deliver through the feeding tube, which is why it is the way to pass them and be able to feed ourselves. We must know that blended foods do not lose nutritional value so the nutrition is not affected.

In this link, you can see which are the formulas the Nestle brand has for sale. 

What type of food can be liquefied to pass through your nasogastric tube?

When we are going to liquefy the food to be passed through the nasogastric tube, we have to consider what the nutritionist prescribes, that is to say, how many kcal we have to consume in a day and what foods will provide us that. 

An example is a 2000 kcal diet, which can be distributed in 3 servings. The liquefied can contain different types of foods grouping the main nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. 

You can use foods such as cooked fruits and vegetables, flours, fats such as olive oil, sugars such as honey, bread or crackers, juices, and broths, the last ones are very important because they are the ones that will give the liquid texture and make it easier to pass the food through ng tube 

What formulations can be used for nasogastric tubes?

According to the nutritional requirement of the patient, there are different formulas that can be supplied through the nasogastric tube.

  • Standard formulas: A standard tube-feeding formula is a formula that is developed for adults and children who have normal digestion. Standard formulas are designed to cover the nutritional needs with the main nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, as well as fiber can be included in these formulas. 
  • Elemental formulas: Elemental formulas are the type of formulas that help patients who have malabsorption and other conditions such as short bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, or other diseases that impede the absorption of nutrients. These formulas are easier to digest and absorb. 
  • Specialized formulas: Specialized formulas are formulas that are provided to adults and children who have a special nutritional need based on a medical condition such as diabetes, renal failure, respiratory disease, or liver disorders. These formulas are prescribed by a health care professional such as a doctor.  

How to put the feed in the nasogastric tube?

The feeding through the tube can be realized by a pump or syringe. With a syringe the methodology to use is to utilize gravity, that is to say, to let it flow slowly with gravity. On the other hand, it can be done by pushing the food with the embolus of the syringe. 

With the pump, it is a little more automatic because the pump can program the speed at which the feed flows through the tube.

Conclusion 

In this short guide, we learned if we can eat solid foods when we have a nasogastric tube. As well as discussed what types of formulas and foods can be ingested when you have a nasogastric tube

Citation 

https://www.swbh.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Nasogastric-tube-feeding-ML4763.pdf
https://dietitiansondemand.com/top-5-questions-and-misconceptions-about-feeding-tubes/

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.