Three main steps are involved in the gastroparesis diet: lowering fiber, lowering calories, and avoiding foods that contain residue.
The gastroparesis diet has three main steps: reducing fiber, lowering calories, and avoiding foods that are high in residue. Step 3 of the diet is designed to be followed for a long time, and step 4 is for maintenance.
Some doctors limit meat intake during this step and add it back in during step 4. Be sure to avoid high-alcohol-content beverages, which slow gastric emptying.
Registered dietitians can help you fit dietary changes into your daily routine.
To reduce the severity of your gastroparesis symptoms, you may need to reduce the amount of fiber in your daily diet. Although fiber is generally good for your digestive system, it can also contribute to slow motility.
When this happens, the food that you eat will take longer to digest and could result in a blockage of the stomach known as bezoar. This is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.
One simple way to reduce the amount of fiber in your daily diet is to strain fruits or vegetables before eating them. Another way is to blend fruit and vegetables instead of eating whole fruits. This will remove most of the fiber from the fruit.
While this may seem like a lot of work, it will be worth it in the long run. Many fruits and vegetables contain a high amount of fiber that can be difficult to digest.
Foods high in fiber can delay gastric emptying and cause bloating. Foods high in fiber are harder to digest for people with gastroparesis.
Some examples of high-fiber foods are cereals, nuts, seeds, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, leafy greens, and peas.
Other high-fiber foods are coconut and applesauce. When possible, use applesauce, which contains the skin, instead of eating the whole fruit.
Avoid high residue
A high-fiber diet can help slow the emptying of the stomach. High-fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes.
Low-fat or low-fiber dairy products are acceptable. Besides gastroparesis, other causes include diabetes, certain surgeries, or other unidentified conditions.
Foods high in fiber and soluble carbohydrates are high in fatty acids, which may be problematic for patients with gastroparesis.
People with gastroparesis should avoid high-fiber foods. Too much fiber may slow the gastric emptying process. The slower the digestive process, the more fiber substances can bind together.
This can lead to a blockage of the stomach, called bezoar.
This blockage has serious consequences, and most often requires emergency medical attention. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid a bezoar.
A high-fiber diet can be supplemented with liquids or pureed foods. Foods that have more fiber are easier to digest. Avoid late-night snacking and smoking while you are on a gastroparesis diet.
Also, remember to monitor your blood sugar levels. Often, a patient with gastroparesis will experience episodes of high blood sugar and low blood sugar.
Managing blood sugar levels is important to controlling your symptoms.
Avoid high-calorie foods
If you are suffering from gastroparesis, it is important to limit your caloric intake. Drinking plenty of water is a good idea to avoid constipation, which can further worsen the condition.
Alcohol also dehydrates your body and lowers your nutrient intake. Alcohol should be avoided for several reasons, including diarrhea and constipation. In addition, alcohol can cause your stomach to become constipated.
If the condition is severe, gastroparesis may require IV nutrition or tube feeding. In addition, you should pay attention to the food components that can delay gastric emptying.
Thin liquids and low-fat foods travel through the stomach quicker than thicker liquids and solids.
Moreover, hot food moves through the stomach faster than cold food. So, limiting intake of these types of foods will not only help alleviate bloating but also aid in gastric emptying.
Foods high in calories should be avoided. People suffering from gastroparesis should avoid red meat, high fiber vegetables, and processed foods. If it is not possible for you to avoid these, consider reducing your calorie intake by eating smaller meals more often.
Aim to eat five to six small meals throughout the day. You can also reduce the size of your meals by cutting up fruit and vegetables to create juice or smoothies.
Also, you should steam vegetables in advance and reheat them in microwaveable containers.
In addition to lower calorie intake, patients with gastroparesis should avoid fatty foods in their diet.
They should focus on eating smaller meals more often, preferably every two to three hours.
For easier digestion, plan to cook your meals in advance and portion them into smaller portions. If you cannot cook in advance, you can chop up fruit for smoothies, juices, and vegetable steaming and microwave them to eat on the go.
To reduce symptoms and avoid medications and treatments, try to keep your diet simple.
A gastroparesis diet should be based on research, and foods that tend to be fatty, acidic, or roughage-based should be avoided. Sugary beverages should also be avoided.
This diet is aimed at reducing stomach cramps, bloating, and other unpleasant symptoms. Lower calories for gastroparesis should be done slowly and regularly.
People suffering from gastroparesis should also stay away from large meals and high-fiber foods. Alcohol also delays gastric emptying.
The primary treatment for gastroparesis is to change the patient’s diet. Eat smaller meals more frequently to ease symptoms and maintain a healthy weight.
For those who are overweight or obese, eating smaller meals more frequently is a good option. This diet includes high-fiber foods and protein shakes as meal replacements.
In a study of people with gastroparesis, only about a third of participants took a daily multivitamin. Most of these people, however, did not take any supplements.
As a result, they may be deficient in several vitamins and minerals. These deficiencies may be due to the lack of nutrients in the diet.
However, the lower vitamin content of the gastroparesis diet should not prevent people from getting the nutrients they need.
Patients with gastroparesis often consume diets that are below the recommended dietary allowances (DRIs). In one study, the average caloric intake of patients with the condition was 1,168 kcal/day, equivalent to 58% of TER.
The lower vitamin intake was more common in diabetic patients and idiopathic gastroparesis. Diets low in iron and vitamin D were also associated with an increased risk of gastric sphincter dysfunction.
Foods high in fiber are also poor choices for patients with gastroparesis. High-fiber and fibrous foods tend to linger in the stomach for a long time. These foods are also more likely to cause bezoars.
The final stage of gastroparesis diet should limit the amount of fat to 50 grams per day. Foods high in fiber should be avoided, such as white bread, rice, and pasta.
Other foods low in fiber include canned peaches, skinned potatoes, lettuce, celery, and zucchini.
In this study, vitamin and mineral intakes were low in a large percentage of patients with gastroparesis.
Several vitamins and minerals were deficient in patients with this condition, including vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and folate.
In addition, vitamin and mineral intakes were low in patients with idiopathic gastroparesis. These low dietary intakes are associated with symptoms and complications.
In addition to low-calorie diets, the gastroparesis diet should also be high in vitamin and mineral content, especially calcium, magnesium, and iron. Low-calorie diets are the most common cause of gastroparesis. They are also necessary for proper hydration.
But a lower-fat diet does have its drawbacks. Lower-fat food, such as cheese, may be too high in calories and may lead to dehydration.
The gastroparesis diet suggests six meals a day, including three main meals and three snacks. It provides adequate calories and protein but is not complete without other nutrients, such as minerals.
The diet also prevents the development of bezoars, solid masses of undigested food that may interfere with the proper digestion of food. People with gastroparesis may develop bezoars because of the low motility of their digestive tract.
However, a liquid diet does not provide enough nutrients in the long-term and should only be continued with physician’s approval.
Since the 1960s, many investigators have tried to restore normal gastric myoelectrical activity to patients with gastroparesis. These studies have shown that normal gastric activity can produce coordinated peristaltic activity.
The intensity, frequency, and pulse width of electrical stimuli differ from one another. Different electrical stimuli induce different effects on the target structures of the gastroparesis diet.
To evaluate this treatment in patients with gastroparesis, researchers have used randomized double-blind trials. One study randomized 33 gastroparesis patients to an ON-off treatment arm and a control arm.
Patients were enrolled in the trial if they were not currently taking any pharmacological treatment.
The study was conducted on patients with idiopathic and diabetic gastroparesis. It did not assess whether the patients had an improved quality of life after electrostimulation. Several treatments for gastroparesis are available.
Electrostimulation has been used successfully in several clinical trials. In addition to a gastric electrical neurostimulation diet, gastroparesis diets with a combination of electrostimulation and surgery have been found to significantly improve symptoms.
The most common treatments are surgical pyloroplasty and gastric electrical stimulation. However, these treatments are limited in their scope and may not be a suitable choice for patients with gastroparesis.