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"I jumped on board with IDDSI because I’ve always believed it would reduce errors in the food served to people."

John Holahan

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Liquid Thickeners for Managing Swallowing Problems – The Gold Standard

There are 2 main reasons that a beverage thickener in liquid form is better than a powder.  A liquid will thicken more quickly than a powder and a liquid form cannot form clumps.  This is true of all thickening powders on the market including starch and xanthan gum.

Individual thickener powder particles do two things when they are first exposed to water – whether plain water or another beverage.  They swell as they absorb water and they get sticky.  If the powder is not well mixed immediately, these sticky particles swell together and stick in a powder clump.  Once formed, these clumps are hard to break apart and dissolve.  You may not be able to get these to dissolve by hand at all.  You may have to use a hand mixer or a blender – and these have their own issues of incorporating air. 

In addition, powder particles need time to dissolve and thicken.  This may work well in water – if you disperse the particles and mix well enough to avoid clumps.  But once you move away from water the process of dissolving slows down.  Each beverage is a different environment and each one impacts the dissolution process a little differently.  But the net effect, is slowing thickening and more time waiting to drink a beverage.  For example, one of our larger competitors says on their consumer website, “Leave standing for up to 5 minutes for most beverages before serving” with a footnote that says “Milk and oral nutrition supplements may take 15 minutes to reach the desired consistency".

SimplyThick® EasyMix™ thickener is a liquid and it is often called a gel because of how thick it is in the packaging.  We start with the same thickener as many powder beverage thickeners – xanthan gum.  And we process it into a liquid form.  Because it is already a liquid, you can’t make powder clumps that form from rapidly swelling powders.  We eliminate that issue altogether. 

And because the thickener is already dissolved in SimplyThick® EasyMix™ thickener, the thickening process happens faster.  When SimplyThick® EasyMix™ thickener is added to most beverages and mixed in a brisk manner, most beverages are thickened and ready to drink in under a minute.  The more difficult ones – milk and oral nutritional supplements – do take longer.  Milk takes about 5 min and some, but not all, oral nutritional supplements take as long as 10 min. 

With such obvious benefits, we are sometimes asked about why nobody else is doing a liquid thickener.  And the answer is that SimplyThick® has been patented since inception.  And our improved SimplyThick® EasyMix™ product is still going through the patent process.  I’m sure the day will come when our patents expire and our competitors will copy us. But until then, we are the only one that makes a liquid thickener that eliminates or significantly reduces 2 of the biggest issues with thickening beverages – powder clumps and thickening time.

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