Gastroparesis diet

The literal translation of gastroparesis is stomach (gastro) paralysis (paresis). This term is most often used for people whose stomach does not empty quickly enough. The ability of the stomach to empty will vary from one person to another however the majority of people are able to swallow and empty about one quart of saliva per day. In addition to this most people are also able to empty 2 to 3 quarts of the natural stomach juices per day. Prior to starting a specific diet for gastroparesis, it is highly recommended that you seek advice from either a doctor or a registered dietician.

Gastroparesis Diet Basics
You should be aware that the larger your meal is, the longer it will take your stomach to empty this food. Therefore it is vitally important to actually reduce the size of your meals. However to ensure that you are fully meeting your nutritional needs, you will also have to eat more often. The precise solution to this would be to eat smaller, but more frequent meals. Ideally you should aim to eat 6 to 8 small meals a day.

If you find that after a certain period of time decreasing your meal size or increasing the number of meals is not working, you may need to look at consuming liquid type calories. Liquids are tolerated in the stomach far better than solids and they also empty from the stomach in a very different way. If you purée your food, you will find that it mixes far better with your saliva and stomach juices.

Fibre that is found in many fruits, vegetables and grains can actually slow down the stomach emptying process. Although fibre is considered extremely healthy, for those suffering from gastroparesis it can cause many problems. Therefore it is essential to restrict your intake of fibre. Many people have had to make use of jejunal tube feedings in order to bypass the stomach and tolerate foods that contain fibre.

Fats can still be consumed in liquid form, although the solid form will severely slow down the stomach emptying process. You should look to restrict the majority of fat in your diet however beverages such as whole milk, nutritional shakes and milkshakes are well-known to be tolerated. It is also vitally important to remember that if you are malnourished due to your gastroparesis, removing fat from your diet may be extremely dangerous.

There are also numerous foods that can be put through a blender and thinned to form a liquid:

  • Meats, fish, poultry and ham can be blended together with broths, water, milk, gravies, tomato sauce or vegetables
  • Vegetables blended with water, tomato juice or broths
  • Fruits can be blended with their own juices or those of other fruit juices or water
  • Starches such as potatoes and pasta can be blended with soups, broth, water, milk, gravies etc. In order to ensure you are getting enough protein you may also wish to mix or blend in some meat with your starches
  • You can mix cereals in with milk, rice milk or soy. You can add sugar, honey or syrups to improve the flavour. It is also advisable to include butter or margarine for the extra calories
  • You are also able to make certain dishes such as lasagne, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, chilli and chop suey. Simply add a liquid of your choice, blend well and then strain.

Some people choose to use strained baby foods as they do not have access to a blender. This can also work extremely well as it will provide many of the essential minerals and nutrients that you require and can quite easily be mixed with water, milk, rice milk, broth or soy. It is also very important that you thoroughly clean your blender after use. You will actually find any food that has been left in the blender for over 1 to 2 hours may cause food poisoning.

People who suffer from gastroparesis are often not consuming enough calories on a daily basis. In order to consume the correct amount of calories you may wish to try some of the following:

  • Rather than sticking to water try taking certain high calorie drinks such as juices, which can include cranberry, papaya, peach, pear or orange.
  • Fortify the milk you are drinking by adding dried milk powder
  • If you are able to tolerate it use whole milk or evaporated milk instead of the low-fat or fat-free alternatives
  • Whenever you are drinking whole milk or juices you may also look to add protein powder, dry milk powder or any other flavoured powders or syrups
  • Make and consume custards and puddings that contain eggs
  • If you are taking ready-made supplements such as Nutrashakes, Ensure or Boost, why not try adding some additional ice cream, sorbet or sherbets.
Last updated on Apr 27th, 2011 and filed under Healthy Eating. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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