Diet can be a challenge for people with dystonia. Some forms of dystonia make eating difficult and/or cooking difficult or dangerous. Also, constant activity can use up energy so it is important to get sufficient calories.

Dystonia can also lead to an inadequate diet:

  • Those who have excessive movements may also find it almost impossible to keep still whilst eating, making hand to mouth feeding very difficult. As a result, finger foods and feeding cups are often used but these may not provide enough nutrition.
  • Texture modified diets (e.g. puree diets) may be recommended due to swallowing problems and this can have negative impact on nutrition.

A dietician can be helpful in these cases. Nutrition can be monitored using a screening tool (e.g. MUST).  The dietitian can suggest appropriate use of texture modified diets, food fortification and nutritional supplement drinks (e.g. Build Up™, Complan™, Ensure Plus™ and Fortisip™) to supplement diet.

Some healthy eating guidelines include the following (n.b. if dystonia is affecting abilty to chew or swallow safely, these may not be appropriate. In these cases, diet should be discussed with the healthcare professional responsible for your care):  

  • 5 fruit and vegetables a day – low in fat, no cholesterol, good source of fibre / carbohydrates
  • Reduce salt
  • Choose carbohydrates from brown breads, pasta, rice, vegetables and fruit
  • Low fat food – e.g. leaner meats (turkey, chicken) brown rice
  • Include food from all groups
  • Consult GP / dietician if you want/need to lose weight.
  • Lose weight with a friend


The Dystonia Society provides the information on this page as general information only. It is not intended to provide instruction and you should not rely on this information to determine diagnosis, prognosis or a course of treatment. It should not be used in place of a professional consultation with a doctor.

The Dystonia Society is not responsible for the consequences of your decisions resulting from the use of this information, including, but not limited to, your choosing to seek or not to seek professional medical care, or from choosing or not choosing specific treatment based on the information. You should not disregard the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider because of any information you receive from us. If you have any health care questions, please consult the relevant medical practitioner.