Has anyone found a thickener that is more ... - PSP Association

PSP Association
6,923 members9,446 posts

Has anyone found a thickener that is more palatable than the powdered one used by the NHS?


My husband is currently on quite a high dose of thickener for liquids, following aspiration pneumonia. He finds it pretty disgusting (wallpaper paste a good descriptio) and is drinking less than he would otherwise, as a result. It also seems to stain teeth yellow. I'm waiting for trial packs of SLO, and wondered if there was anything anyone can recommend?

21 Replies

The thickener my Mum has, is also disgusting to taste, so we make up a weak sugar free squash with it. The squash helps it to be more palatable and still helps to keep her liquids up as it is not adding sugar or any other unwelcome ingredients.

in reply to JA10

Sounds sensible. Any of the sweet options don't go down well, as we tend to eat so little sweet stuff. He has never liked smoothies either.


My husband hates thickener and would rather choke than have it in his drinks and so I buy him Smoothie drinks that are thick but tasty and nutritious. Might be worth a try??

Hi miss Molly

Mum just went on thickeners yesterday. I just ordered thick and easy off amazon and so far it's been ok.

Mum said it's alright. She is only on one scoop so it s still drinkable through a straw.

Hope you find something that is better soon for your husband. It must be awful for him. Smoothies are a good idea as DottieLottie suggested.

Lynda 😊

Trouble is he has never liked smoothies, or sweet drinks.

Dad hated the taste of thickeners, drank a lot of smoothies but water had to be thickened.


The speech therapist gave us a mix.

1 cup coffee

1 cup milk

Ice cubes. I use 5.

Two tablespoons instant pudding/ angel delight.

Blend in blender until smooth.

The instant pudding/angel delight uses modified corn starch/flour as the thickening agent which is what most thickening agents are.

Try mixing the angel delight/instant pudding into the thicker to see if that improved the flavor. More sugar can be added.

Hi MissMolly19,

We have been using Simplythick. It comes in gel form. You can buy it online. simplythick.com. It's a little better than the powders but some liquids never seem right thickened.

Good Luck.

My husband uses Simply Thick as well. I add it to water to which I also add a electrolyte replacement powder in a citrus flavor. He happens to use Vitalyte, but I am sure there are others available. My thought is that it would help with hydration and flavor.


My husband will not take it,you have to watch it can cause constipation as well.

Hi MissMolly

My husband uses Nutillus it took a while for him to get used to it particularly in tea and coffee. We use cordial to take make water palatable. I make lassi and fruit or veg smoothies, iced Frappuccino or milk shakes which he enjoys. The longer the water or thickened drink stands the less palatable it becomes generally.

As my hubby chokes so easily I always make ‘ hot’ drinks 1/3 hot and 2/3 cold water so it can be drunk straight away.

It takes time to adjust I hope you will find things that suit as we have

Love Tippy

Thank you! You seem to be finding good ways to deal with it and I'll take a similar approach.

Hi! We use Nestlé Resource ThickenUp, it's almost tasteless and odorless, so it won't add any flavor or color to my mom's drinks. Works with cold and hot beverages, it thickens up faster when hot. You just follow as directed and would thicken anything from coffee, juice, milk, tea, soups, anything. Water does taste a little different, but it's just like minerals, like hard water... Been using it with my mom for 2 years now, we can't find it where we live, so I order it on Amazon. A 4.4Oz can lastes through the week. Hope it helps. Best of wishes to you and your husband.

Hi MissMolly19!

These are our experiences:

•Add thickeners (eg, Resource from Nestle (*), Thick-it, Simply Thick-Easy Mix, CVs) to drinks (soups, water, Aquarius(**) orange or lemon or similar without gas, etc.) till obtain a bit glutinous liquid. To drink, it is advisable to use a special cup (Ornamin 815) with the chin as near as possible to the chest. Some mango and peach juices have an adequate consistency.

(*) We are using Resource from Nestle and Aquarius since 2 or 3 years ago whitout problems.

(**) Isotonic drinks are interesting to help maintain blood electrolytes at the correct level.

•The food must be moderately doughy and in small pieces if solid.

•The speech therapist has insisted that she should not take meals that "deceive" the mechanism of swallowing that is damaged. The foods that “deceive” are those that have liquids and solids in the same bite (eg, some beans with soup or a soup with pasta).

•Check the patient is sitting fully upright to eat and try not to have distractions around while he is eating.

•Making a puree with a hand blender is always a solution, but it is preferable to crush with a fork until a homogeneous paste without liquid and so as not forget the function of chewing. What is not used is lost!

Hoping to be useful.



Thank you so much! Such a lot of trial and error is involved, obviously, so your experiences are really helpful.

We initially used Thick & Easy but now use Nutilis (on prescription). The taste is better and the thickening properties better with the Nutilis. We use the amount specified by the speech therapist based on her assessment of R's swallowing abilities, which is reviewed regularly. The longer it sits the thicker it gets, so Tippy's suggestion of making 'hot' drinks with a mixture of hot and cold water sounds a good one. None of these thickeners work in fizzy drinks or beer - you get an instant bubbling up and flowing all over the counter when you attempt it! The SLO product presumably can be used for such drinks but we have not tried it.

Thank you for this. We finally saw a speech and language therapist over this yesterday, and she recommended nutilis too. We're hoping to get it prescribed.

Hi Molly, the powered thickener is terrible, when my brother was in the hospital they gave him water already prepared it is called Thicket comes in a plastic bottle 48 oz, in US we can buy it at Walgreens Longs, in the pharmacy area, we keep it cold for him he drinks a lot of it and never chokes on it, hopefully you can find it. Nettie

David ended up using Nutilis Clear. He was initially prescribed Regular Nutilis but hated the taste. The speech/swallow therapist came armed with several samples, and tried them all with a David and he decided that he likes Nutilis Clear the best. So he ended up prescribed with that.

Hi MissMolly, We too have gone through most of the choices. We don't use the dry unless we are out at a restaurant, and I carry the packets and straws with me. At home we use the Simplythick pump and the Thickit drinks. I've found the gel form is less likely to clump, and smoother, and my husband prefers it. I wasn't aware that they cause constipation until reading this blog however, and that explains some things, so I'd keep that in mind when serving the thickener. My husband also uses aids for constipation, and I keep him in fresh fruit and carrot juice. Carrot juice is wonderful!

Good luck.


Sorry not replied before but my husband was ill. He has Nutilis. I have found that the best way to make it distribute throughout is to mix it initially with a spoon in a cup and then transfer it into one of the upside down tomato ketchup bottles (obviously cleaned out). I make up 400 ml and then shake it in the bottle for a bout a minute. You will actually see that it distributes well. I then put it in the fridge so it is nice and cold and use as required. It thickens up but one can always add more water as required. I then add a squirt of Robinsons Squashed which is sugar free and taste to see if I like the taste. Nigel has no problem with it at all but before when I was just mixing it in his beaker it would go solid and he would spit it out. In his hot chocolate I stir the thickener in direct but find it distributes far better if you stir it clockwise then anticlockwise really well. Hope this helps.

All the best AliBee xx

You may also like...