A gastrectomy diet needs to be high in calories as the surgery will cause you to loose upwards of 20% of your total body weight, which is significant.
To achieve this you need foods that are easily digestible and also pleasant to take as your appetite will likely be lost for a while.
So how can you do this post gastrectomy?
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Your food post gastrectomy needs to incorporate proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It is the carbohydrates and fats that will help you to gain weight, but too many carbohydrates may cause an issue with dumping syndrome, so this needs to be done with caution.
The other thing you have to remember is that you no longer have a stomach, so you don’t get the same feeling of need to eat nor necessarily the feeling of satiety or ‘feeling full’.
You also don’t have the same ability to ‘hold your food’ from the small bowel so when you eat the foods have to be in a digestible form for the small bowel.
When you first start eating, you are likely to experience diarrhea as your ‘new gut’ starts to adapt to not having a stomach.
This will likely settle in time or certainly the frequency will.
Make sure that you eat small, but regular meals and more frequently. Think of 6-8 meals a day as the norm.
If you would like a comprehensive guide, why not look at my book "The Art Of Eating After Gastrectomy", it provides you with everything you need to know about the right foods to have following stomach cancer surgery. It also provides gastrectomy diet recipes for you to try.
Dairy products are an excellent source of calories in your diet after gastrectomy as they provide both fats and carbohydrates. Milk puddings, milk shakes (sugar free preferred), custard, yoghurts, cheese, cream and butter are excellent although may need to be modified according to your bowel movements.
Proteins in the form of eggs, fish, poultry such as chicken and meats (not grisly) should be added to what you eat. Make sure that the food is chopped and chewed well though.
Nuts are a great source of protein, but need to be chewed well. Peanut butter is a good source.
Take fiber foods to provide bulk to your meals. Soluble fiber foods are ideal as they not fermented in the same way as insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber fruits and vegetables include mango, melon, oranges, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, yams, parsnips, carrots, squashes, sweet potatoes, swede, flaxseeds and potatoes (without skins).
Soluble fiber supplements such as Benefiber and Acacia can be added to your food and drinks.
The main thing to avoid in a gastrectomy diet is too much sugar because of the risk of dumping syndrome. Try to avoid too many sugary foods such as pastries, doughnuts, frosted cereals, sweetened juices, ice-cream (full sugar), dressings (often contain a lot of sugar) and sweets in general.
Also be careful of sugar free drinks and products as sorbitol sugar substitute has a laxative effect.
As a rule of thumb, try to avoid drinks with your meals as they will serve only to wash the foods down quickly in to your small bowel, which you don’t want.
Try to drink no sooner than half to one hour after your meal or drink before eating, preferably no sooner than half an hour before eating.
Avoid alcohol and also look at decaffeinated tea and coffee as caffeine is a stimulant to your bowel.
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