Foods to Avoid With Gastroparesis


Gastroparesis means paralysis of the muscles of the stomach. It results in delayed emptying of food from the stomach into the small intestine. Sometimes this may lead to undigested food hardening into solid masses called bezoars. Bezoars can block passages into the intestine and cause vomiting and nausea. Some of the foods associated with bezoar formation include berries, apples, brussel sprouts, oranges, coconuts, corn, figs, green beans, legumes, potato peels, sauerkraut and tomato skins. Gastroparesis may occur in people with type 1 diabetes. One of the main cause of gastroparesis is diabetes mellitus. Gastroparesis can be diagnosed with tests such as x rays, manometry, and gastric emptying scans. Below you will find some of the foods to avoid with gastroparesis.

List of foods to avoid with gastroparesis:

Avoid red meat with gastroparesis
Avoid red meat with gastroparesis

1. Fatty foods: High fatty foods is hard to digest if you have gastroparesis. Fat can delay emptying of the stomach. Consumption of high fat foods may lead to heartburn and GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease). Some of the high fatty foods include whole milk, cheese, butter, fried foods, whipped cream and red meat. Avoiding these foods might help relieve the symptoms. Instead you can use skim milk, low fat yogurt and low fat cheese. Some people may tolerate high fat liquids such as milk shakes, nutritional supplements such as boost, ensure, smoothies and fruit juices. Always consult your health care provider first.

2. Legumes: Another is high fiber foods. Legumes and dried beans contains fiber. Avoid legumes and dried beans such as baked beans, lima beans, pinto beans, lentils, fava beans, navy beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, soy beans, bran and whole grains.

3. Meat: Avoid organ meat, processed meat and red meats. Organ meat such as liver and kidney and processed meat such as hot dog, sausage, luncheon meats and bologna. Red meat such as prime rib and steak is very difficult to digest and also make your symptoms worse.

4. Vegetables: Avoid vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, celery, green peas, winter squash, collard greens, spinach, brussel sprouts, artichoke, coconuts, potato peels and tomato skin.

Avoid raw vegetables and fruits, especially those with hard to digest fibrous skins.

Avoid high potassium foods if you have gastroparesis
Avoid high potassium foods if you have gastroparesis

5. Fruits: Fruits to avoid include blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples and strawberries. Also avoid high potassium fruits and acidic fruits. High potassium fruits such as bananas, oranges, kiwi, cantaloupe, honey dew, avocado, mango, papaya and guava. Acidic fruits include grapefruit, lemons, limes and tangerines.

6. Nuts and seeds: Avoid nuts such as peanuts, cashewnut, walnuts, pecan, soy nuts and chunky nut butters. Seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds.

7. Dried fruits: Avoid dried fruits such as apricots, prunes, dates, figs and raisins. These fruits contain lot of fiber.

8. High sodium foods: Avoid high sodium and high phosphorous foods if you have gastroparesis and kidney disease. Some of the high sodium foods include soy sauce, frozen dinners, canned dinners, bouillon cubes, canned dinners, steak sauces, prepared barbeque sauces, popcorn, dill pickles and olives.

9. Spices: Avoid spices that can irritate the stomach such as mint, oregano, cayenne pepper, black pepper, horseradish and chili.

10. High fiber medications: Examples of high fiber medications include polycarbofil (fibercon), methylcellulose (benefiber), inulin (fiber choice) and psyllium (metamucil). Sometimes high fiber medications or bulking agents may delay stomach emptying. Ask your doctor if you are taking any of the fiber medications. These medications that slow contractions in the intestine.

11. Beverages: Avoid alcohol, coffee and cola drinks.

12. Others: Chocolate, bran cereals, shredded wheat type, granolas, grape nuts and cocoa.

Diabetic gastroparesis:

If you have diabetic gastroparesis, avoid the above list of foods. Some of the foods to avoid for diabetic gastroparesis include high fiber foods and high fatty foods. Some of the high fiber foods include dried beans, whole grain cereals, seeds, berries, nuts, oats (rolled dry), brown rice, avocado, winter squash, green peas and potato peels. The primary treatment for diabetic gastroparesis is to regain blood glucose levels.

Tips to manage or avoid gastroparesis:

  • Eat 6 smaller meals instead of 3 big meals.
  • Avoid high fiber foods and fatty foods.
  • Try gentle exercise such as going for a walk after you eat
  • Do not lie down for at least 1 hour after meals.
  • Always keep a food diary. It helps to find out food tolerance/food intolerance.
  • Review all medicines with your health care provider. Medicines sometimes can slow down digestion.
  • Keep your blood sugar level under control.

Diabetic Gastroparesis:

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Comments 26 comments

rsusan profile image

rsusan 4 years ago from South Africa

I have never heard of Gastroparesis, blessedmom. Is this something folks with type 1 diabetes is usually warned about? I wasn't aware that this could happen. Is it fairly rare? It must be quite a challenge to manage it, with the long list of foods to avoid. I am sure your clear description will be useful to many folks. I have friends with type 1 diabetes - luckily they haven't had to go through this as well.

blessedmom profile image

blessedmom 4 years ago from USA Author

Hi Susan,

Not all foods listed here are bad for everyone with diabetes and gastroparesis. These are foods that should be watched closely and see which ones cause trouble. I will write a separate hub on how to detect gastroparesis. A friend of mine was complaining for years that her stomach stops working sometimes. Eating smaller meals and ginger seems to help. Then I researched about stomach paralysis and found this condition. Thanks for dropping by.

rsusan profile image

rsusan 4 years ago from South Africa

Thanks for your response, blessedmom. This is really helpful info. I hope your friend finds relief from her problem as a result of your effort.

KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 4 years ago from Sunny Florida

Interesting article. I have never heard of gastroparesis. I look forward to your hub about how to detect it.

tami 4 years ago

I was recently diagnosed & it it the most frustrating disorder ever. i keep getting full really quick when i wld eat, then it got so bad i cld only eat like a slice if apple & half a graham cracker & sip on 16 oz vitamin water for an entire day! this went on for weeks till i found myself at ER. even then they didn't know & kept thinking its was my gallbladder. a month later, several ultrasounds, test and upper gi is how they found out. i feel alone in this doc diagnosed me sent me on my wsy. by doing my own research is how i found out abt avoiding certain foods. im on antibiotics 3x a day. naseau meds, all kinds cuz i keep getting yeast infections, constipation, im missing a lot of work. most of t he time i.can't even eat. im trying acupuncture tomorrow.

Brenda 4 years ago

I have been diagnosed with gastroparesis about 2 months ago. I have never heard of this before. I can't find hardly anything I can eat. I want to eat all the time, and when I do, it makes me sick. The diet that the dr gave me is, not much to eat. I hate having this. Having dinner with my family was so inportant, now its like WHAT can you eat. I hate doing this to the family. does this ever get any better?

bpcountry 4 years ago

I was diagnosised with this 6 months or so... been having sulfur burps and off again and on again constipation and diahrrea. I found that pepperoni sticks I can have at all or it causes issues also cannot have red meat or broccoli two nights in a row.. also know that some meds make it worse do me. I can't eat anything when in them.. so it is important to keep track of thing you eat so you can deter main what you can and cannot eat. I was undiagnosed for two yr before they decided it was what's going on and by then I had already figured out the does and don't eat. Good luck every one. And sorry to you and your families its hard on every one!

jazzlvr66 3 years ago

So....... what CAN I eat? Almost nothing! I am so depressed about this.

Lee 3 years ago

I was diagnosed with gastroparesis a little over a month ago. Apparently, I have been suffering with it for over 6 years, causing a 60 pound weight loss (not a happy weight loss) due to muscle wasting because of malnutrition. The fact that it too over 6 years to make a diagnosis proves that this is a condition difficult to diagnose. In recent research on the web, I found several sites that provide education on the condition, low-residue diet info to include some menu ideas, and info on current clinical trials that offer hope for treatment and even an eventual cure. God bless us all in dealing with this condition and in finding a treatment or even cure.

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

what is left to eat??? Wow this is limiting, however feeling good is far more important.

Karenrn66 3 years ago

I was diagnosed over a year ago. Luckily the nausea is better, but I will get the severe abdominal pain that makes my whole body feel bad. I fell like I have a bolder in my stomach and it feels so heavy. I eat a lot of smoothies and soup (broth). My symptoms are not always severe...Thank God! When they are bad I can get pretty depressed. When I get the severe symptoms I go back to a liquid diet....sometimes for a few days the start adding mild foods I know I can tolerate. It can be very frustrating, but not having the chronic nausea is definitely a blessing! I'm always looking for new and more information and thing to try.

Pookie McGee 3 years ago

You need to be careful about what you're telling people, because a lot of this is not medically sound. Fats are not tolerated, but if they're in LIQUID form, they're fine - especially since gastroparesis often results in malnutrition, and eliminating all the fats you listed is extremely dangerous.

Baby food - try to get fruits and veggies in that way, as they're cooked and strained. And bananas are perfectly fine - in fact, my doctor highly recommended them, as it's one of the few fruits that can be eaten fresh.

I would recommend doing more research before posting something like this - this just incites people to become discouraged as they see all the things they can't eat.

And people reading - please talk with your doctors and work with a nutritionist. You can avoid frustration and other health complications if you're in steady communication with the people caring for you. Don't reply on internet commentary.

mimimouse57 3 years ago

Well you are both right and you are both wrong. Each patient with GP is different and most doctors wish we'd just go away. They say mean things and pass us on to someone else. I went from 122 lbs down to 83 lbs then got the pacer and am up to 100 pounds. I can't drink water but black coffee goes down well. Can't touch sodas, iced tea, fruit juices, alcohol, etc..... and bananas KILL my gut in terrible pain. With us it is trial and error. At church dinners I volunteer to wash dishes rather than explain why I can't eat their food and now that all my children are grown and I can afford to eat out.....I simply don't.

Renae 2 years ago

Everything I eat bothers me.

bg 2 years ago

Just so you know, you are providing medical nutrition therapy here. If you aren't a Registered Dietitian, you are committing a crime. Its similar to giving medical advice while not being a doctor.

robbin 2 years ago

I just have been diagnosed with go and my Dr just sent me a letter and pamphlets that here this should be helpful it is your medical condition. I have cried for days. It has been like he wrote out my death sentence. I have frantically been search the net for help what to eat what not to eat. My life has been turned upside down on top of this I battle fibro which seems to cause my pain to be extreme.

Shelly 2 years ago

I have been suffering with gastroperisis for many years. I have had m.s. for 45 years and my gastroenterologist thinks this is most of the reason. I have 3-4 bouts a week. I take Zofran and chew on cut up fresh ginger root and after 2 to 3 hrs. It

seems to help. Do you have any other suggestions or advice?

missy 2 years ago

I have been living with gastroparesis for over 3 years now. I work closely with my Dr. and a dietitian to see what foods/drinks that I could tolerate and couldn't. Everyone is different. Good luck to you all!!!!

crystal 2 years ago

It may get better but it will never be healed! I just had 3 days were I couldn't eat or drink. I puked everything even my spit makes me puke. I have had gp for 3 years and its very hard when ur poor to eat the things u know u can eat most of the time.

gagastro 21 months ago

My gi specialist in atlanta gave me pages of food to avoid and it is almost word for word to this list. But as it has been said each one is different and trial and error will be mandantory. Some days i can eat things and do okay. Other days the same things will make me deathly ill. Good luck to you all.

Lisa 21 months ago

There several support groups on fb for people with Good. I am now totally NPO and totally TPN dependent. This list of foods to avoid is spot on but everyone with GP is different. What works foe one may not work for another. GP is a horrible terrible illness.

Nickie 19 months ago

well dang! is there anything left besides chicken broth that I CAN eat? Ugh....

Joanne 18 months ago

I have just been diagnosed also. I am reading a book called "Living Well with Gastroparesis." It is an excellent book written by a woman with great credentials. It really takes the "scary" out of it and gives great advice, research and recipes. I feel so much better since reading this book. I highly recommend it.

Sylvia 15 months ago

I was diagnosed in March 2015 and it has all been trial and error. I eat alot of smoothies with added protein powder and chia seeds. I use any fruit I can get my hands on and puree the hell out of them with a Nutri Ninja.

Franceska 9 months ago

17yr old son just got dx with GP. He 'eats' about 2-3 times a week. Meaning applesauce, mashed potatoes, GP veggie soup (mentioned on Pinterest). There is NO cure and not everything is okay for everyone with GP, or all the time.

Hes on a strict liquid diet. His meal is bright beginnings soy formula, he is unfortunately unable to drink the Boost, Ensure or Carnation as hes 100% DF. Eventually I'd love to work him up to permitted more GP foods...all in due time and according to when drs and nutritionist say.

Any newtimer pointers please, this is all VERY new and a complete lifestyle change.

joe 5 months ago

Pretty useless article. It would be better to recommend foods that people with gastroparesis CAN eat. You basically listed everything that a human being eats. Do some homework next time!!!

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