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:
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.
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.
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.
Jennifer on September 07, 2019:
This article is so much more help then the information we had (me and my husband) available years ago! My husband has been living with gastroparesis for 16 years and so much more is know now than back then. This article is more accurate than most, considering when he got diagnosed he was told to live on canned foods (no beans) and mashed potatoes. There is hope, but a good GI Dr and a good diet plan is the key.
Hillary Llewellyn on January 23, 2019:
What have you found and tried to help with Gastroparesis and where do you get it?
Deborah Turville on November 04, 2017:
I was diagnosed in April with Gastroparesis. So many people ask me what I can't have. This article is extremely helpful!
Hillary Llewellyn please provide more info for my wife who has suffered with terrible intractable nausea, etc, from GP first noted ~ 3 years ago. on August 31, 2017:
suffered for 3 yrs.....M.M.Cohen....Cochleamc@yahoo.com
Jacquie Szalankiewicz on August 30, 2017:
Hillary Llewellyn I would like more information on what you discovered.
Hillary Llewellyn on August 03, 2017:
I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis 3 years ago. I used to have severe abdominal pain and vomit at least every 2-3 nights. At first, my doctor thought I was having gallbladder attacks, so I had an ultrasound. It was fine. Weeks later, I had a Gastric Emptying Study, which revealed the undigested food. 30 months ago, my life greatly improved because I found something all natural! It's helped me so much with my nausea, sleep, bloating, weight, and overall health! Let me know if you're interested because I want to help as many people as possible! :)
TMJ on July 14, 2017:
So, what may I eat? Besides boiled chicken & rice (was rice ok?). Sigh. :(
Ariana on July 03, 2017:
For depressed readers who think this is the end, there are many solutions for temporary relief. I was diagnosed with gastroparesis back in March (I am not diabetic, however, I am idiopathic), and the thing that helps me the most is being adjusted at the chiropractor. I am also trying acupuncture which has slowly begun to help as well.
As for what to eat, in place of red meats, try lean meats, like turkey and chicken in thin slices, or fish (specifically tuna, I haven't tried many other kinds yet). I have had a lot less trouble eating when I reverted to a less fatty diet, but you still need fat. She said nothing HIGH fat, not NO fat. I try miniature packs of guacamole straight up, or a T of CREAMY pb. Remember, she said no CHUNKY nut butters, not NO nut butters.
Some fruits I am able to tolerate are watermelon and grapes, though I've heard some have trouble with grape skins, but remember, your diet is based on YOU, not the "normal gastroparetic diet." Other fruits that are GP friendly are melons like catalope and honey dew and applesauce. Fruit juices (made with no added sugar) like the Naked Juice brand is an awesome way to get good nutrients.
Other sources of protein that I tolerate are hard boiled eggs and veggie juice sources. When I'm desperate for a snack, I grab a few saltine crackers or GF Cheerios, and I've heard that Macrobars are a nutritious snack alternative.
Some things that you wouldn't expect to affect your GP is sleep level, anxiety levels, blood sugar levels, stress levels, etc. Symptoms actually can worsen with different factors, not just what you eat. Also, STAY HYDRATED. Becoming dehydrated is the worst thing on earth with GP, because it triggers a cycle that is almost impossible to get of of. Dehydration worsens GP symptoms, which worsens dehydration, which further worsens GP, and so on.
The last thing to remember is that some gpers are able to tolerate more than others. I'm not able to tolerate gluten, dairy, refined sugar in large amounts, high fiber foods, high fat foods, etc, but there are ALWAYS exceptions, and many other people with GP can still eat a lot of the things that I can't.
I hope this was helpful.
living with it on June 06, 2017:
I have this for over 10 years and have learned a few things. Papaya and ginger pills 3-4x a day works well. Peppermint and/or ginger tea also really helps. I drink tea and water all day so that keeps things moving along. I try to move after eating, usually walking to keep things moving and never sleep before 2hrs after eating. I usually have liquid dinner like soup or smoothie or maybe a light pasta or rice dish and eat the bulk of my foods during the daytime when im moving. I still occasionally wake in the night to throwup and some morning i feel so bad if ive eaten too much or the wrong thing the day before...
Melinda on January 08, 2017:
Thank you for your article. It has taken several Dr.'s and over 4 years to get our daughter, who is 9, diagnosed with Gastroparesis (also other mobility problems). We just met with a dietitian this last week and beginning our journey. I hope our little girl will be happy and feeling better soon!
Orifiel on December 07, 2016:
I've had gastroparesis for four years, and the only diet plan that worked for me goes against half of what this article says. I went on purely natural foods, cut out almost 100% of chemical preservatives and additives. I stopped consuming fried foods, fatty foods, acidic foods, spicy foods, junk foods, and soda. What I DO eat that helps me maintain weight are clean white carbs, whole grains, fresh fruits (except citrus), cooked vegetables, white meat, and a lot of dairy. My daily beverages are water, fruit juice, and milk. I eat small meals every two hours and try to stay physically active throughout the day to promote digestion. Eating this way, I intake a healthy amount of vitamins and minerals without sacrificing taste.
My weight over the years went from 112 lbs down to 88 lbs and back up to 101 lbs, the last of which I've maintained. I've gone through all the dietary stages recommended for people with gastroparesis. I've been on an all-liquid plan and a soft food plan, but once I became more physically active (not even exercising, just making sure to move around several times an hour), I was able to eat more normally and regain my health. This article is more about foods to avoid if your symptoms are so bad that you can't keep anything down. There is no cure for GP, and you will have relapses once in a while even if your stomach motility improves, but when your body recuperates enough to accept food more regularly, it's a condition you can control.
joe on May 21, 2016:
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!!!
Franceska on January 09, 2016:
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.
Sylvia on August 01, 2015:
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.
Joanne on May 07, 2015:
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.
Nickie on March 08, 2015:
well dang! is there anything left besides chicken broth that I CAN eat? Ugh....
Lisa on January 19, 2015:
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.
gagastro on January 09, 2015:
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.
crystal on September 10, 2014:
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.
missy on July 30, 2014:
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!!!!
Shelly on May 03, 2014:
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?
robbin on April 22, 2014:
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.
bg on April 07, 2014:
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.
Renae on February 15, 2014:
Everything I eat bothers me.
mimimouse57 on October 27, 2013:
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.
Pookie McGee on October 19, 2013:
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.
Karenrn66 on September 13, 2013:
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.
carol stanley from Arizona on August 21, 2013:
what is left to eat??? Wow this is limiting, however feeling good is far more important.
Lee on December 11, 2012:
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.
jazzlvr66 on November 05, 2012:
So....... what CAN I eat? Almost nothing! I am so depressed about this.
bpcountry on October 22, 2012:
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!
Brenda on April 25, 2012:
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?
tami on December 05, 2011:
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.
Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on November 26, 2011:
Interesting article. I have never heard of gastroparesis. I look forward to your hub about how to detect it.
Rika Susan from South Africa on November 20, 2011:
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.
blessedmom (author) from USA on November 20, 2011:
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.
Rika Susan from South Africa on November 19, 2011:
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.