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Meal Plans for Dumping Syndrome

By Larissa Gedney

Dumping syndrome is a condition that often occurs after a stomach surgery, including bariatric surgery or a gastrectomy. It gets its name as a result of food “dumping” from the stomach into the small intestines too quickly. The symptoms associated with dumping syndrome may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, faintness and rapid heart rate. Following a diet prescribed for you by a doctor or registered dietitian may help prevent the occurrence of dumping syndrome.

Timing of Meals

Not only is the timing of your meals important, but also how much time it takes to eat the meal is important. Space meals out evenly throughout the day and try eating several smaller meals rather than three large ones. Eat slowly, chewing each food item very well before swallowing it. Include fiber and protein with each meal or snack and lie down after eating to slow the digestion of the food.

Fluids

Staying adequately hydrated is an important component to your diet after gastric surgery, and it is also important in helping with dumping syndrome. But the types of fluids and when they are consumed need careful attention. Water and calorie-free non-carbonated beverages are your best bets. Avoid alcohol and drinks with simple sugars, such as soda, sweet tea and some fruit juices. Do not eat and drink at the same time. Wait 30 minutes after drinking before eating, and then wait at least another 30 minutes after eating before having your next drink. This will help prevent fluids from washing food through the digestive tract too quickly, resulting in dumping syndrome.

Carbohydrates

High-sugar foods are one of the main contributors to aggravated symptoms of dumping syndrome. Cakes, cookies, candies and table sugar are often difficult to digest, not to mention counterproductive in weight loss if you have had bariatric surgery to help you lose weight. Choose complex carbohydrates with adequate fiber, such as whole-grain breads, whole-wheat pastas, fruits and vegetables to meet your carbohydrate needs without providing excessive simple sugars. Avoid sweet breads and pastries and fruits canned in heavy syrup.

Low-fat Foods

Prepare foods using low-fat cooking techniques, such as baking, broiling and grilling. Choose lean meats, such as 3 oz. of skinless chicken, fish and lean cuts of beef. Avoid seasoning foods with butters and oils. It may also be prudent to avoid using lemon juice, tomatoes, citrus or other acidic foods, as acids can also cause difficulty with digestion.

Sample Menu

A sample breakfast may consist of a small piece of fruit, one slice of dry wheat toast and an egg or egg substitute. Lunch may include 2 oz. of grilled chicken breast on a bed of dark leafy greens with 2 tbsp. of low-fat dressing and a banana on the side. For dinner, try 2 oz. of baked fish with ½ cup of brown rice and ½ cup of steamed green beans. Between meals include snacks with a small amount of carbohydrate and protein, such as low-sugar yogurt or an apple with low-fat string cheese. Remember to include plenty of water throughout the day but to avoid drinking it during mealtimes.

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