An Adequate Diet for Gastroparesis

What is Gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is a medical term for delayed stomach emptying. In this disorder of the stomach, contractions that normally take place about three times a minute, are sluggish and infrequent. As result stomach emptying is delayed, food is not digested properly, and the patient suffers serious symptoms.

Symptoms and Causes of Gastroparesis

Symptoms usually include a feeling of nausea, abdominal discomfort, vomiting and a feeling of satiety while eating. Sometimes the condition is caused by diabetes mellitus, a disorder of the nervous system, or even by the use of certain drugs. A viral infection has even been under suspicion, but sometimes no known cause can be found.

Diet for Gastroparesis

A diet for gastroparesis has to be designed to reduce symptoms and maintain adequate fluids and nutrition. The patient should start with liquids and then progress slowly to solid foods. Use liquid nutritional supplements and pureed meals throughout the day. When you progress to solids, eat frequent small meals throughout the day, and you will find your symptoms much reduced.

What You Should and Should Not Eat

The diet for gastroparesis should be tailored to the individual patient, depending on the degree of the disorder; and whether or not the patient has other medical conditions. Before progressing to solids, the patient may in addition to drinks like Gatorade and ginger ale, and soups like consommé and bouillon, eat plain saltine crackers. At this point in time, avoid all milk and milk products, fruits, vegetables, meats and fats and oils.

Once you move on to solids, you can have skim milk, low- fat yogurt and low –fat cheeses; but avoid whole milk products and crèmes like sour cream, light cream, heavy cream, whipping cream, and half and half. Also avoid soups made with cream or whole milk, and those containing fat. Continue to use bouillon and consommé soups. You can add to these, soups made with skim milk

Breads and cereals, pasta, white rice and cream of wheat can now be added to the diet. You can also include eggs and about 2 tbsps of peanut butter. You can have vegetable juice and well cooked vegetables, but avoid all raw vegetables. Have fruits and fruit juices like apple, cranberry and grape, but avoid citrus juices. You can have a small amount of fats and oils and sweets and desserts like hard candy frozen yogurt and gelatin. Avoid high-fat desserts like cakes, pies, ice cream, pastries and cookies and fruit preserves. Continue on this part, and gradually, add tea and coffee if you so desire.

Control Your Blood Sugar

Keep your blood sugar under control, as high blood sugar or drastic changes can impair gastric emptying. There are also medicines which can interfere with your gastric health and your diet for gastroparesis. The best route to take is to talk with your doctor about medicines, and if possible have a dietician guide you in the planning your meals.

References

1.Diet for Gastroparesis. https://medicalcenter.osu.edu/PatientEd/Materials/PDFDocs/nut-diet/nut-other/gastroparesis.pdf

2.Gastroparesis Diet. https://www.gicare.com/diets/Gastroparesis.aspx