Gastroparesis means stomach (gastro) paralysis (paresis). Other terms used to describe this condition are: gastric stasis, gastropathy, slow stomach, sluggish stomach and diabetic enteropathy (in those patients who have diabetes mellitus). Under normal conditions, the stomach is a flexible sac that can stretch and shrink, mix and churn, and eventually empty food into the small intestine. The word gastroparesis is used when a patient's stomach empties too slowly. Everyone's stomach is unique, so the ability of the stomach to empty can from one patient to another. Some can still eat small amounts of regular foods; they just have to eat more often to get all their nutrients in. Others may have periods when all they can take in is liquids, and still others may have periods when they cannot take anything at all. Despite this most patients are able to swallow and empty their saliva (about 1 quart per day) and also empty the natural stomach juices they make (about 2-3 quarts per day). Symptoms can vary from week-to-week or even day-to-day.

The diet presented here is designed to give tips for diet modification. In addition, lots of suggestions are provided for fo.ods and fluids to try when ideas run dry at-home. I want to make it clear that the suggestions are based on my experience with patients and not science, as there are no studies available that demonstrate what foods are better tolerated than others by patients with gastroparesis. Furthermore, any calorie is a good calorie, especially in someone who has lost a lot of weight and is now facing the possibility of tube or intravenous feeding to provide nourishment. This may be a time when prior dietary restrictions are put on hold' until basic nutritional needs can be met.

It is recommended that anyone with gastroparesis, but especially those with combined medical problems (such as diabetes or kidney disease), seek diet counseling by a registered dietitian to maximize nutritional benefits. To locate a registered dietitian near you, call the American Dietetic Association at 800-366-1655 or visit their website at

thinned-down pureed foods, can be designed to meet a patient's nutritional requirements. Patients, who experience increasing fullness as the day wears on may want to have their solid food for breakfast, switching to liquid meals as the day progresses.


Fiber (found in many fruits, vegetables and grains) may act to slow stomach emptying in some patients and fill them up so quickly that nutrient needs may not be met. For patients who have had a bezoar (similar to a hairball in a cat) in the past, a fiber restriction (including avoidance of over-the-counter fiber/bulking laxatives - see table 1) is worthwhile. Patients, who require. jejunal tube feedings may tolerate fiber-containing formulas as the stomach is bypassed.

Table 1 High Fiber Foods / Medications and Those Associated With Bezoar Formation
High Fiber Foods

  • Legumes/Dried Beans (refried beans, baked beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, black, pinto, northern, fava, navy, kidney, garbanzo beans, soy beans)
  • Bran /Whole Grain Cereals (such as bran cereals, Grape-Nuts", shredded wheat type, granolas)
  • Nuts and Seeds (pumpkin seeds, soy nuts.ichunkv nut butters)
  • Fruits (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, oranges, kiwi)
  • Dried fruits (apricots, dates, figs, prunes, raisins)
  • Vegetables (green peas, broccoli)
  • Popcorn

Foods Associated with Bezoar Formation

Apples, Berries, Brussels sprouts, Coconuts, Corn, Figs, Green beans, Legumes, Oranges, Persimmons, Potato Peels, Sauerkraut, Tomato skins

High Fiber Medications/Bulking Agents

Examples include: Acacia fiber; Benefiber®; Citrucel®; FiberChoice®; Fibercon® Konsyl®; Metamucil®; Perdiem Fiber, or any psyllium product

Although fat may slow stomach emptying in some patients, many can consume fat especially in the form of liquids. Although many clinicians restrict fat, my experience is that fat in the liquid form (as part of beverages such as whole milk, milkshakes, nutritional supplements, etc.) can be well tolerated by many. To take the fat out of the diet of a patient diet that is seriously malnourished is to remove a valuable source of calories. Unless a fat-containing food or fluid causes problems, fat should not be limited. It is often well tolerated, pleasurable, and it provides a great source of calories in a small amount.

Dental Health
Since gastroparesis impairs the stomach's ability to mash food and break it down into smaller sizes in preparation for absorption, the chewing of food beforehand becomes even more important. In addition, repeated exposure to stomach acid from frequent vomiting may destroy tooth enamel. Make every effort to see your dentist regularly and take good care of your teeth.

Patients may try sitting up after meals and maybe even go for a walk depending on symptoms.

There are quite a few medications that can delay stomach emptying -ask your doctor if any of the medications you are on could be slowing down your stomach emptying and making your symptoms worse.

Getting your Calories

When getting enough calories is a daily struggle

  • High calorie drinks are better than water (provides calories AND fluid)use peach, pear or papaya nectar, cranberry juice, orange juice, Hawaiian Punch", Hi C®, lemonade, Kool-Aid'".
  • Fortify milk by adding dry milk powder to 1-quart milk.
  • Use whole milk or evaporated milk (if tolerated) instead of skim or 2% for drinking and preparing "cream type" soups, custards, puddings, and milkshakes.
  • Add instant breakfast, protein powder, dry milk powder, or other flavored powders or syrups to whole milk or even some juices.
  • Make custards and puddings with eggs or egg substitutes (such as Egg-beaters®).
  • Try adding ice cream, sherbets, sorbets to ready-made supplements liquid nutritional supplements such as Nutra-shakes", Ensure® or Boost" or others (see table 5).

Table 2. Examples of Fat Free Protein Sources*

ProductServing SizeProtein (g)
Egg Beaters®1⁄4 C6
Better n'Eggs®1⁄4 C5
Egg whites, separated, cooked27
Powdered egg whites1 tablespoon11.5
Egg white (Bob's Red Mill®)2 teaspoon3
Just Whites® (Deb ELTM)2 teaspoon3
Fat free luncheon meat1 oz6
Fat free milk80z8
Non-fat dry milk powder3 tablespoon10
Non-fat cheese10z8
Evaporated skim milk1⁄2 c9
Non-fat cottage cheese1⁄2 c13
Non-fat yogurt (Plain)80z12
High protein broth
(Bernard® 800-323-3663)
1 cup10
High protein gelatin
(Bernard® 800-323-3663)
1⁄2 cup12
High protein egg whites
(Bernard® 800-323-3663)
1 tablespoon5
UNJURY® Unflavored Whey
Protein (800-517-5111)
1 scoop20
(Medical Nutrition USA, Inc. 1-800-221-0308)
2 tablespoons15
Beneprotein®(Nestle 888-240-2713)1 scoop6

*Carbohydrate calories may be present in some of these sources

Commercial Nutrition Supplements

Ensure® or Ensure® Plus Enlive®Abbott®
Resource® Shake Resource® Plus Shake Resource® Breeze soost® or Boost® Plus Benecalorie®Nestle®
Nutra/SHAKE® Supreme Nutra/SHAKE® Sugar Free Nutra/SHAKE® Fruit Plus Nutra/SHAKE® Fruit Plus FreeNutra/Balance®
Slim Fast® ShakesSlim Fast®
Milk Shake PlusBernard®

. *Some products are also available through retail pharmacies or grocery stores (in store or online)

Note: Many pharmacy and food chains have their own brands of liquid supplements, examples include:

  • Wal-Mart® = Equate® Nutritional Shake & Equate® Nutritional Shake Plus
  • Kroger® = Fortify® & Fortify® Plus
  • CVS® Pharmacy = Liquid Nutrition & Liquid Nutrition Plus
  • Giant® = CareOne® Nutritional Drink and CareOne® Nutritional Drink Plus
  • Food Lion®=NutraFit® & NutraFit® Plus

Table 6: Recipes For Soups, Sinoothies, Fruit Blends, Shakes, and Fruit Drinks The following recipes are only suggestions for liquid calories at a time when it may be difficult of think of ideas ...

  • Fortified milk can be substituted to increase protein if needed. To make fortified, high protein milk:
    • 1 quart whole milk
    • 1 cup nonfat instant dry milk
    • Pour liquid milk into deep bowl.
    • Add dry milk and beat slowly with beater until dry milk is dissolved Refrigerate and serve cold.
  • Soy or rice milks can be substituted for milk in any recipe.
  • Flavor extracts such as vanilla, almond, coffee, etc can be added for interest.
  • Other flavorings such as dry gelatin (e.g., Jell-O®) or pudding mixes, syrups, etc. can be added for additional flavors or extra calories.
  • Ice/ ice chips can always be blended in if desired.
  • When using canned fruits for recipes, for additional calories use those in heavy syrup.
  • Frozen yogurts, ice creams, sorbets, sherbets, soy and rice products can be substituted in any recipe.
  • Sugar free ice creams, yogurts and gelatins, etc., can be substituted as needed for regular ones.
  • For extra flavor, texture and calories, add a frozen banana (peel ripe bananas and place in a plastic freezer bag in the freezer until ready to use).

1⁄2 cup canned pears
1⁄2 cup cottage' cheese

1⁄2 cup canned peach
1⁄2 cup cottage cheese

1⁄2 small banana
1⁄2 cup cottage cheese
1⁄4 cup apple juice

Strawberry Cheesecake Shake (not sweet)
6 to 7 strawberries
1/2 cup cold milk
112 cup cottage cheese
Honey to taste
Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth.

Combine these next 3 recipes in a blender until smooth. Chill until firm.

Option 1
1⁄4 cup cottage cheese
1⁄4 cup vanilla ice cream
1⁄2 cup prepared gelatin

Option 2
1⁄4 cup flavored yogurt
1⁄4 cup vanilla ice cream
1⁄2 cup prepared gelatin

Option 3
1⁄4 cup ricotta or cottage cheese
1⁄4 cup vanilla ice cream
1⁄2 cup blended fruit
1⁄2 cup prepared gelatin


Super Milkshake
1⁄2 cup fortified milk
1⁄2 cup high fat ice cream
1 packet instant breakfast

The Super Shake
1 can Ensure® Plus / Boost® Plus or equivalent
1 cup milk
1⁄2 cup ice cream
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

High Protein/High Energy Shake
1⁄12 cup milk (or substitute)
1 package instant breakfast
1⁄4 cup egg substitute
1⁄2 cup ice cream
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake
1 can chocolate Ensure® or Boost® or store brand equivalent
2 tablespoons- smooth peanut
1⁄2 cup vanilla ice cream

Juice Shake
3⁄4 cup pineapple juice (or other juices)
1⁄4 cup egg substitute (optional)
1⁄2 cups vanilla ice cream
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend.

Sherbet Drink
1⁄2 cup milk or fortified milk (see below for recipe) 1⁄2 cup sherbet or sorbet
Can substitute 1⁄2cup for 1⁄2 cup milk:
Osmohte®, Osmollte® HN
Nutren® La, plain
Soy Milk
Optional: Add 1⁄2 cup vanilla ice cream for "Dreamsicle equivalent"

High-Calorie Malt
1⁄2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon malted milk powder
1⁄2 cup half and half
1 oz package instant breakfast, any flavor
2 cups ice cream, any flavor
2 tablespoons Ovaltine®
Mix all ingredients together in a blender.
Process until smooth.

Fruit and Cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1 cup canned fruit in heavy syrup
(peaches, apricots, pears)
Almond or vanilla extract to taste Blend all ingredients and chill well before serving.


Unless otherwise specified, Mix all ingredients together in a blender

Bucky Badger Punch
2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
1⁄2 cup orange juice
1⁄2 cup grapefruit juice
1 cup 7-UP® or club soda
Combine the 3 juices in a pitcher. Add 7- Up® or club soda when ready to serve.

High Protein Fruit Drink
8 ounce Enlive® or Resource Breeze®
1⁄2 cup sherbet
6 oz gingerale

Sherbet Punch
1/2 cup sherbet
6 oz ginger ale

6 oz. can frozen concentrated orange juice
1⁄4 cup cold water
1 cup ice cubes
1 carton (8 oz.) plain yogurt

Combine all ingredients except ice cubes in blender, blend until frothy. With mixture still running, drop in ice cubes one at a time.

Slushy Punch
1 cup sugar
2 ripe medium bananas, cut up
3 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1, 6 oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
1, 1 liter bottle carbonated water or
lemon-lime beverage, chilled
Combine carbonated water and sugar until dissolved. In a blender, combine bananas and juices. Blend until smooth. Add to sugar mixture. Pour in carbonated water.

6 oz can frozen fruit juice
4 Tbsp sugar
3 cups crushed ice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until slushy.

Foods Suggestions for Patients with Gastroparesis

White bread (including- French/Italian)
Bagels (plain or egg) English muffin
Plain roll
Pita bread
Tortilla (flour, corn) Pancake

Quick oats (plain) Grits
Cream of Wheat
Cream of Rice
Puffed wheat and rice cereals such as: (Cheerlos®, Sugar Pops®, Kix®, Rice Krlsples®, Fruit Loops®, Specia I K®, Cocoa Crispies® cornflakes, cocoa puffs)

Grains/Potatoes Rice (plain)
- any Pasta, macaroni (plain) Bulgur wheat Barley Potatoes (no skin, plain)--all kinds sweet, yams, etc. French fries (baked)

Melba toast
Saltines Soda

The following foods have been associated with bezoar formation (mixture of food residues that can accumulate in a stomach) formation--avoid if you have had a bezoar.
Apples, Berries, Coconuts, Figs, Oranges, Persimmons, Brussels, sprouts, Green beans, Legumes, Potato, peels, Sauerkraut

Sample Semi-Liquid Meal Pattern

Citrus Juice or other beverage containing vitamin C Thinned Cooked Cereal
Liquid Supplement or Milkshake (see suggestions above) Milk
Coffee or Tea
Cream, Sugar

Thinned Soup
Thinned or Pureed Meat or Substitute
Thinned Potato or Substitute Thinned or Pureed Vegetable Thinned Dessert or Pureed Fruit
Liquid Supplement or Milkshake (see suggestions above)
Coffee or Tea Cream, Sugar Salt and Pepper

Milk or Fruit Juice
Liquid Supplement or Milkshake (see suggestions above)

GI Consultants
810 New Burton Road, Suite 1
Dover, DE 19904
Phone: 302-257-2782
Fax: 302-744-9312
Office Hours

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