Gastrectomy Procedure diet

What is a Gastrectomy?

A gastrectomy is the removal of some or all of the stomach that holds food at the beginning of digestion. After surgery, your stomach will hold much less food, and won't stay in your stomach very long. It is very common to have symptoms of dumping syndrome.

What is postgastrectomy dumping syndrome?

Dumping syndrome is a condition where your food leaves your stomach too quickly. This causes food to “dump” into the small intestine.

Up to one half of patients experience dumping syndrome after a gastrectomy procedure. The side effect can occur immediately after eating (early) or after several hours (late). Early dumping syndrome is caused by a shift of fluid in the small intestine. Later dumping syndrome is caused by a drop in blood sugar.

How do I know if I have dumping syndrome?

You may have early dumping syndrome if half an hour after eating you experience the following: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, dizziness, burping, fatigue, or rapid heart rate.

You may have late dumping syndrome if four hours after eating you experience the following: sweating, fatigue, dizziness, shakiness, anxiety, rapid heart rate, fainting, confusion, diarrhea, or low blood sugar.

Preventing Dumping Syndrome?

  • Eat smaller meals five to six times a day.
    • Your stomach cannot hold as much food after surgery.
    • Eat no more than one cup of food at each meal or snack.
    • Add new foods slowly to lower side effects of dumping syndrome.
    • Chew food really well.
  • Eat protein at every meal.
    • Proteins include chicken, turkey, beef, pork, fish, cheese, eggs, nuts, seeds and soy foods.
  • Choose low fiber grains.
    • Low fiber grains are often grains from white, refined flour.
    • Read the food labels and do not eat food with more than 2g of fiber per serving.
  • Do not eat a lot of sugar.
    • Avoid sweets such as cakes, candy, pies and cookies.
  • Limit carbohydrates.
    • Limit carbohydrates to reduce dumping syndrome
    • Avoid, bread, cereal, rice, pasta, crackers, potatoes, corn, peas, squash, fruit and fruit juices.
  • Avoid foods with natural laxatives.
    • Do not eat prunes, figs, licorice, caffeinated foods/drinks and sugar alcohols. Do not eat or drink very hot or very cold foods. Drink only unsweetened drinks.
  • Do not drink with snacks and meals.
  • Wait 30 to 60 minutes after a meal before drinking.
    • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol increases the risk of cancer recurrence and does not provide the body with any nutrients.
  • Rest after eating.
    • Lie down for 20-30 minutes after eating.

More information about the Gastrectomy Procedure

A gastrectomy may cause lactose intolerance. Avoiding dairy products such as milk, creamy soups, ice cream, yogurt and cheese. You may still be able to eat yogurt with “live, active cultures” on the label.

Your body may not be getting enough nutrients from food alone. In this case, you may need to take fiber, calcium, iron or vitamin B-12 supplements. Iron can prevent anemia, calcium can prevent osteoporosis and fiber supplements may lessen symptoms of dumping syndrome. Ask your surgeon or a registered dietitian what is best for you.

If you experience rapid weight loss, talk to your surgeon or a registered dietitian immediately. Losing more than one to two pounds per week is rapid weight loss. Rapid weight loss is dangerous even if you are overweight. Your body may not be getting the nutrients it needs.

What foods to avoid after a gastrectomy?

  • Milk and dairy
    • Choose buttermilk, evaporated milk, one percent or skim milk. Eat plain yogurt without added sugar, powdered milk, low fat cheese and no sugar added ice cream.
    • Avoid chocolate milk. Avoid any milk product with added sugar.
    • If you are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or soymilk.
  • Meat and protein
    • Choose tender meats cooked without added fat, including chicken, turkey, beef, pork and lamb. Eat soy based meat products, eggs, fish and smooth nut butters.
    • Avoid fried meats. Avoid processed meats like salami, bologna, bacon, sausages or hot dogs. Avoid tough or chewy meats. Avoid beans, peas, lentils, nuts or chunky nut butters.
  • Grains
    • Choose white breads and cereals made with white flour.
    • Avoid high fiber grains and cereals or foods with more than two grams of fiber per serving.
  • Vegetables
    • Choose cooked vegetables without seeds or skin. Eat potatoes without the skin.
    • Eat lettuce. Drink strained vegetable juice.
    • Avoid vegetables except for iceberg lettuce. Avoid cooked vegetables with seeds or skin. Avoid beets, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, collard greens, mustard, greens, turnip greens and corn.
  • Fruits
    • Choose canned and soft fruits without added sugar. Choose bananas and melons.
    • Avoid any fruits except bananas and melons. Avoid dried fruits such as raisins and prunes. Avoid fruit juices.
    • Do not eat canned fruit in syrup with added sugar.
  • Fats
    • Choose oils, butter, no-trans-fat margarine, cream, cream cheese and mayonnaise.
  • Drinks
    • Choose water, decaf coffee, decaf tea and diet, sugar-free, caffeine free soft drinks.
    • Avoid caffeinated tea, coffee or sodas. Avoid alcohol. Avoid fruit juice. Avoid sweetened drinks that contain sugar, corn syrup or honey.
  • Sweeteners
    • Use stevia as a natural artificial sweetener
    • Avoid any foods made with artificial sweeteners, including saccharin, aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame potassium. Avoid food with sugar, honey, syrup, sorbitol, or xylitol listed as one of the first three ingredients.