Gastroparesis diet: Food to Avoid & Food to Eat

Medically Reviewed on 7/8/2022
Gastroparesis Diet
Softer meals are better because they are simpler to digest and place less strain on the digestive system.

The goal of the gastroparesis diet is to decrease distressing gastrointestinal symptoms while managing an intake of adequate fluids and nourishment. Diet is a critical factor in improving gastroparesis symptoms. Aside from understanding what to eat and what to avoid, it's critical to make dietary modifications.

Gastroparesis or delayed stomach emptying is a condition in which the muscles in your stomach do not operate correctly. This inhibits your stomach from fully emptying. 

Gastroparesis can cause nausea and vomiting, as well as disruptions in blood sugar levels and nutrition. Working with a dietitian can assist you in determining the healthiest things to consume while suffering from gastroparesis.

7 types of foods to eat and avoid for people with gastroparesis

1. Starches, bread, and grains

Recommended Not recommended
  • White bread (including French/Italian)
  • Bagels
  • English muffins
  • Dinner rolls
  • Pita bread
  • Tortillas
  • Waffles
  • Pancakes
  • Breadsticks
  • Quick oats (plain)
  • Grits
  • Cream of wheat
  • Cream of rice
  • Puffed wheat and rice
  • Cereals
  • Rice crispers
  • White rice
  • Pasta
  • Bulgar
  • Barley
  • Saltine crackers
  • Oyster crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Matzoh
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Bread with nuts and seeds
  • Fry bread
  • Any bran cereal
  • Any cereal with nuts or seeds
  • Brown rice
  • Whole-grain pasta
  • Couscous
  • Quinoa
  • Potato chips
  • Popcorn

2. Fruits (recommended cooked and, if necessary, blenderized/strained)

Recommended Not recommended
  • Bananas
  • Canned fruits
  • Applesauce
  • All fruit juices
  • Nectars
  • Apple cider
  • Oranges
  • Persimmons
  • Coconut
  • Berries
  • Figs
  • Apples

3. Milk and dairy products

Recommended Not recommended
  • One percent or skim milk
  • Low-fat yogurt with appropriate fruit
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Strained cream soups
  • Whole or two percent milk
  • Greek yogurt
  • Other cheeses

4. Meats and meat substitutes (ground or pureed)

Recommended Not recommended
  • Beef: tenderloin, rump, and round
  • Pork: Lean pork, tenderloin, pork chops, and 97 percent fat-free ham
  • Poultry (skinless): chicken and turkey
  • Fish/shellfish: tuna (in water), shrimp, clams, crab, scallops, lobster, and oysters
  • Eggs: eggs (not creamed or fried), egg whites, and egg substitutes
  • Other: tofu, veal, duck, goose, and pheasant
  • Legumes
  • Beans
  • Baked beans
  • Soybeans
  • Fried eggs
  • Any meat that is fried or breaded or has skin

5. Sweets and desserts

Recommended Not recommended
  • Gelatin
  • Smooth ice cream
  • Popsicles
  • Gingersnaps
  • Vanilla wafers
  • Sweets without nuts
  • Gumdrops
  • Pudding
  • Hard candy
  • Custard
  • Fried desserts such as donuts
  • Sweets with nuts

6. Fats and oils (if not tolerated, limit the amount of fat you eat)

Possibly recommended
  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Oil
  • Sour cream
  • Margarine
  • Gravies
  • Mayonnaise

7. Beverages (exclude alcohol completely)

Possibly recommended
  • Fruit juices
  • Coffee
  • Vegetable juices
  • Tea
  • Hot chocolate
  • Lemonade
  • Broth
  • Tang
  • Bouillon
  • Gatorade


Super Tips to Boost Digestive Health: Bloating, Constipation, and More See Slideshow

5 recommended foods to eat as per dieticians for people with gastroparesis

Softer meals are better because they are simpler to digest and place less strain on the digestive system.

  1. Fruits and vegetables:
    • In the form of purees and smoothies
    • Canned peaches and pears
    • Well-cooked fruits and vegetables, juices, and soups
  2. Carbohydrates and starches:
    • Corn tortillas
    • English muffins
    • Puffed wheat
    • Rice cereal
    • Potatoes and sweet potatoes (no skin)
    • White or refined bread
    • Crackers
    • Bagels
    • Pasta
    • Rice
  3. Fiber:
    • Be cautious of your fiber consumption because although it is necessary for healthy intestines, it can cause constipation and bloat. Consuming low-fiber meals is thus suggested.
  4. Meat, eggs, and dairy:
    • Reduced-fat cottage cheese
    • Custard
    • Eggs
    • Ground or pureed meats
    • Low-fat milk and milkshakes
    • Plain yogurt and frozen yogurt
    • Poultry with no skin
    • Shellfish
    • Tofu
    • Tuna
  5. Oils:
    • Coconut oil can be used as part of a gastroparesis diet because it includes important medium-chain fatty chains that assist in digestion and probiotic flora in the intestines.

5 foods to avoid as per dieticians for people with gastroparesis

Avoiding the following foods can help alleviate symptoms because they are harsher on the digestive system and can induce symptoms:

  1. Fatty foods
  2. High-fiber foods (fruits such as apples, berries, figs, and oranges; vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and green beans; whole-grain cereals, nuts, and seeds; beans and lentils)
  3. Foods that aren’t easy to chew (nuts, seeds, corn, and popcorn)
  4. Junk food (it might induce blood sugar fluctuations and can inhibit feelings of fullness and give insufficient nutrients)
  5. Alcohol (because it dramatically slows the pace of stomach emptying)

3 steps recommended as people progress in gastroparesis condition

Three important steps that are recommended as people progress in gastroparesis condition include:

Table. 3 steps for people with gastroparesis condition

Step 1

Electrolyte solution and bouillon

Step 2


Step 3

Starches, chicken, and fish

Definition of different steps

Consists of liquids that normally exit the stomach fast due to gravity

Liquids keep the body hydrated and are supplied with essential salts and minerals except for salt and potassium

Add calories by consuming a little quantity of dietary fat no more than 40 grams each day

Fatty meals and oils should be avoided by people with gastroparesis because they impede stomach emptying

People at the Step 2 level are frequently able to handle this quantity

Because many plant fibers cannot be digested, fat is limited to 50 grams per day, and fibrous meals are restricted
Recommended diet

To prevent dehydration, people with severe nausea and vomiting can sip a moderate amount of electrolytes

Any liquid that will be consumed should have some calorie content

A multivitamin supplement is recommended

The diet can be advanced to include soups with noodles or rice, as well as crackers

These foods should be consumed in at least six separate meals each day

A multivitamin should be recommended

Noodles, spaghetti, potatoes, and rice are readily tolerated because they are quickly combined and emptied by the stomach

Soups, mashed or baked potatoes, spaghetti dishes, rice, baked chicken breast, and fish are all well-digested carbohydrate and protein sources

These solids should be consumed in six small meals each day, along with one vitamin pill per day

Goal for people To ingest 1,000 to 1,500 cc per day in multiple servings To ingest approximately 1,500 calories per day Find a diet of common foods that the person finds interesting and satisfying and that evokes minimal nausea/vomiting symptoms
Avoid Citrus drinks of all kinds and highly sweetened drinks. Replace them with any tea Limit and progress eventually if people cannot meet goals

Fatty foods, which delay gastric emptying, and red meats and fresh vegetables, which require considerable nutrition

Avoid pulpy fibrous foods that promote the formation of bezoars

4 diet tips to incorporate in your gastroparesis diet

Four diet tips you can incorporate into your gastroparesis diet to improve your condition and reduce symptoms include:

  1. Eating smaller meals:
    • Eating smaller, more frequent meals allows your stomach to properly empty, reducing bloating.
  2. Chewing food properly:
    • The more food that is chewed, the easier it is to break down in the stomach and digest.
    • Take your time chewing meals correctly to improve digestion.
  3. Avoiding lying down during and after meals:
    • When you lie down after a meal, you halt and inhibit digestion because digestion requires gravity to function correctly. 
    • Furthermore, lying down after a meal increases acid reflux.
  4. Drinking liquids between meals:
    • Avoid drinking fluids with meals because they take up space in the stomach, impede digestion, and cause bloating. Drink water in between meals instead to keep hydrated.

Medication to stimulate the gastric muscles and medicines to reduce nausea and vomiting are among the drugs used to treat gastroparesis. If a person is unable to tolerate food or liquids, surgery may be necessary to treat gastroparesis. Doctors may advise the placement of a feeding tube in the small intestine or a gastric venting tube to reduce pressure caused by stomach contents. 

Feeding tubes are temporary measures used in severe cases of gastroparesis for feeding purposes.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 7/8/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Basic Dietary Guidelines:

Diet for Gastroparesis:

Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Gastroparesis: