Gastroparesis Diet

Gastroparesis is the medical term for delayed stomach emptying. During the process of digestion, the stomach must contract to empty itself of food and liquid. Normally, it contracts about three times a minute. This empties the stomach within 90-120 minutes after eating. If contractions are sluggish or less frequent, stomach emptying is delayed. This results in bothersome but sometimes serious symptoms, as well as malnutrition, because food is not being digested properly.

Gastroparesis may be caused by various conditions such as diabetes mellitus, certain disorders of the nervous system, or certain drugs. Often however, no cause can be found although a viral infection is suspected in some. The physician may prescribe medication to stimulate the stomach to contract. The purpose of the gastroparesis diet is to reduce symptoms and maintain adequate fluids and nutrition. There are three steps to the diet.

STEP 1 DIET consists of liquids, which usually leave the stomach quickly by gravity alone. Liquids prevent dehydration and keep the body supplied with vital salts and minerals.

STEP 2 DIET provides additional calories by adding a small amount of dietary fat — less than 40 gm each day. For patients with gastroparesis, fatty foods and oils should be restricted, because they delay stomach emptying. However, patients at the Step 2 level are usually able to tolerate this amount.

STEP 3 DIET is designed for long-term maintenance. Fat is limited to 50 gm per day, and fibrous foods are restricted, because many plant fibers cannot be digested.

Nutrition Facts

The STEP 1 Gastroparesis Diet is inadequate in all nutrients except sodium and potassium. It should not be continued for more than three days without additional nutritional support. STEP 2 and STEP 3 Gastroparesis Diets may be inadequate in Vitamins A and C, and the mineral iron. A multi-vitamin supplement is usually prescribed.

Special Considerations
  1. Diets must be tailored to the individual patient. This is because the degree of gastroparesis may range from severe and long-standing to mild and easily corrected. Patients may also have various medical conditions to be considered. For example, diabetes patients with gastroparesis are allowed sugar-containing liquids on the Step 1 diet, because that is their only source of carbohydrate. On the Step 2 and Step 3 diets, these patients should avoid concentrated sweets. These are noted with an asterisk (*) on the food lists.
  2. On all of the diets, liquids and food should be eaten in small, frequent meals. This helps to maintain nutrition.
Step 1 Food Groups
GroupRecommendAvoid
Milk & milk productsnoneall
Vegetablesnoneall
Fruitsnoneall
Breads & grainsplain saltine crackersall others
Meat or meat substitutesnoneall
Fats & oilsnoneall
BeveragesGatorade and soft drinks (sipped slowly throughout the day)all others
Soupsfat-free consommé and bouillonall others
Sample Menu Step 1
BreakfastLunchDinner
  • Gatorade 1/2 cup
  • ginger ale 1/2 cup
  • bouillon 3/4 cup
  • saltine crackers 6
  • Gatorade 1/2 cup
  • Coke 1/2 cup
  • bouillon 3/4 cup
  • saltine crackers 6
  • Gatorade 1/2 cup
  • Sprite 1/2 cup
  • bouillon 3/4 cup
  • saltine crackers 6
This Sample Diet Provides the Following
Calories790Fat9 gm
Protein11 gmSodium3,531 mg
Carbohydrates156 gmPotassium244 mg
Step 2 Food Groups
GroupRecommendAvoid
Milk & milk productsskim milk, products made with skim milk, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheeseswhole milk products, creams (sour, light, heavy, whipping), half & half
Soupsfat-free consommé & bouillon, soups made from skim milk, & fat-free broths containing pasta or noodles and allowed vegetablessoups made with cream, whole milk, or broths containing fat
Bread & grainsbreads & cereals, cream of wheat, pasta, white rice, egg noodles, low-fat crackersoatmeal, whole grain rice, cereal, bread
Meat & meat substituteseggs, peanut butter (maximum 2 Tbsp/day)beef, poultry, fish, pork products, dried beans, pea, & lentils
Vegetablesvegetable juice (tomato, V-8); well-cooked vegetables without skins (acorn squash, beets, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, summer squash, strained tomato sauce, yams)all raw vegetables, cooked vegetables with skins, beans (green, wax, lima), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, corn, eggplant, onions, peas, peppers, pea pods, sauerkraut, turnips, water chestnuts, zucchini
Fruitsapple juice, cranberry juice, grape juice, pineapple, prune juice, canned fruits without skins (applesauce, peaches, pears)citrus juices, all fresh and dried fruits, canned fruits with skins (apricots, cherries, blueberries, fruit cocktail, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, plums, persimmons)
Fats & oilsany type of fat, but only in small amountsnone
Sweets & desserts*hard candies, caramels, puddings & custards made from skim milk, frozen yogurt, fruit ice, gelatin, ice milk, jelly, honey, syrupshigh-fat desserts (cakes, pies, cookies, pastries, ice cream), fruit preserves
BeveragesGatorade*, soft drinks* (sipped slowly throughout the day)all others, except allowed juices
*Concentrated sweets
Sample Menu Step 2
BreakfastLunchDinner
  • skim milk 1/2 cup
  • poached egg 1
  • white toast slice
  • apple juice 1/2 cup
  • mozzarella cheese
    2 oz
  • saltine crackers 6
  • chicken noodle soup 3/4 cup
  • Gatorade 1/2 cup
  • peanut butter 1 Tbsp
  • saltine crackers 6
  • vanilla pudding
    1/2 cup
  • grape juice 1/2 cup
Morning SnackAfternoon SnackEvening Snack
  • ginger ale 1/2 cup
  • canned pears 1/2 cup
  • skim milk 1/2 cup
  • cornflakes 1/2 cup
  • sugar 2 tsp
  • frozen yogurt 1/2 cup
  • saltine crackers 6
This Sample Diet Provides the Following
Calories1,343Fat35 gm
Protein52 gmSodium2,639 mg
Carbohydrates206 gmPotassium1,411 mg
Step 3 Food Groups
GroupRecommendAvoid
Milk & milk productsskim milk, products made with skim milk, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheeseswhole milk products, creams (sour, light, heavy, whipping), half & half
Soupsfat-free consommé & bouillon, soups made from skim milk, & fat-free broths containing pasta or noodles and allowed vegetablessoups made with cream, whole milk, or broths containing fat
Fruitsfruit juices, canned fruits without skins (applesauce, peaches, pears)all fresh & dried fruits, canned fruits with skins (apricots, cherries, plums, blueberries, fruit cocktail, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, persimmons)
Meat & meat substituteseggs, peanut butter (2 Tbsp/day), poultry, fish, lean ground beeffibrous meats (steaks, roasts, chops), dried beans, peas, lentils
Fats & oilsany type of fat, but only in small amountsnone
Breads & grainsbreads & cereals, cream of wheat, pasta, white rice, egg noodles, low-fat crackersoatmeal, whole grain rice, cereal, bread
Vegetablesvegetable juices (tomato V-8), well-cooked vegetables without skins (acorn squash, beets, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, summers quash, strained tomato sauce, yams)all raw vegetables, cooked vegetables with skins: beans (green, wax, lima), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, corn, eggplant, onions, peas, peppers, pea pods, sauerkraut, turnips, water chestnuts, zucchini
Sweets & desserts*hard candies, caramels, puddings & custards made from skim milk, frozen yogurt, fruit ice, gelatin, ice milk, jelly, honey, syrupshigh-fat desserts (cakes, pies, cookies, pastries, ice cream), fruit preserves
BeveragesGatorade*, soft drinks* (sipped slowly throughout the day), coffee, tea, water (note: non-caloric beverages should be limited if patient cannot maintain adequate caloric intake)all others, except allowed juices
*Concentrated sweets
Sample Menu Step 3
BreakfastLunchDinner
  • skim milk 1/2 cup
  • cream of wheat
    1/2 cup
  • sugar 2 tsp
  • orange juice 1/2 cup
  • white toast 1 slice
  • margarine 1 tsp
  • jelly 1 Tbsp
  • tuna fish 2 oz
  • low-fat mayonnaise 2 Tbsp
  • white bread 2 slices
  • canned peaches 1/2 cup
  • Gatorade 1/2 cup
  • baked chicken 2 oz
  • white rice 1/2 cup
  • cooked beets 1/2 cup
  • dinner roll 1
  • skim milk 1/2 cup
  • margarine 2 tsp
Morning SnackAfternoon SnackEvening Snack
  • low-fat yogurt
    1/2 cup
  • Sprite 1/2 cup
  • chocolate pudding
    1/2 cup
  • Ginger ale 1/2 cup
  • ice milk 1/2 cup
  • pretzels 2
This Sample Diet Provides the Following
Calories1,822Fat42 gm
Protein75 gmSodium2,234 mg
Carbohydrates286 gmPotassium2,467 mg 



Additional News & Events

Welcome Dr. Neil R. Volk!

Albany Gastroenterology is pleased to announce the addition of Neil R. Volk, MD. Dr. Volk completed this Fellowship in Gastroenterology & Hepatology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Dr. Volk joins us in providing the highest level of hepatic and digestive care to all our patients.

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