Here are some dietary treatment strategies that your doctor may recommend and that you can do on your own. They can help maintain good nutrition and minimize your symptoms.
- Eat smaller meals. Try consuming about six small meals a day rather than three larger ones.
- Avoid fluids with meals. Drink liquids only between meals. Avoid liquids for a half-hour before eating and a half-hour after eating.
- Change your diet. Limit your intake of foods and drinks with high sugar content. Milk contains a natural sugar — lactose — which may cause dumping symptoms. A small serving (half a cup) of milk, cheese or yogurt is tolerable to many people. Consume more protein-rich foods such as meat, fish and chicken. Including fat with a meal — for example, margarine, mayonnaise or oil — adds calories and may help dumping symptoms. It may help to see a registered dietitian.
- Chew well. Chewing food thoroughly before you swallow can ease digestion.
- Increase fiber intake. Psyllium, guar gum and pectin in food or supplements can delay the absorption of carbohydrates in the small intestine. Pectin is found in many fruits, such as peaches, apples and plums.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Stay away from acidic foods. Tomatoes and citrus fruits are harder for some people to digest.
- Use low-fat cooking methods. Prepare meat and other foods by broiling, baking or grilling.
- Consume adequate vitamins, iron and calcium. These can sometimes become depleted following stomach surgery. Discuss this nutritional issue with a dietitian.
- Lie down after eating. This may slow down the movement of food into your intestines.
Even with dietary changes, you may continue to experience symptoms associated with dumping syndrome.
Feb. 23, 2013
- Rapid gastric emptying. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/rapidgastricemptying/. Accessed April 27, 2012.
- Tack J, et al. Pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of postoperative dumping syndrome. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2009;6:583.
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- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Dietary Guidelines for Managing Dumping Syndrome. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2008.
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- Collazo-Clavell ML (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 1, 2012.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. May 8, 2012.