Gastroparesis is a disease in which the vagus nerve connecting the brain to the stomach muscles does not recognize the stomach as full. The muscles fail to contract and move food through the stomach and into the intestines. Diabetes is the most common cause of gastroparesis, when high blood sugar damages the nerve. The diabetic diet for treating gastroparesis has some similarities to a regular diabetic diet, but with substantial differences.
You are likely to start on a liquid diet when first diagnosed with diabetic gastroparesis. Take small sips of rice milk, skim milk, clear juice or broth. Acceptable pureed foods include cooked fruits and vegetables, baked chicken or fish with broth added, cereals with milk and enriched pastas. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water or suck on ice chips to prevent dehydration caused by vomiting from gastroparesis.
After progressing to solid food, it may be easier to eat nutrient-rich meals in the morning and early afternoon before switching to a liquid diet later in the day. Bloating, nausea, loss of appetite and other symptoms may occur by dinnertime, making liquids easier to consume.
Enjoy low-fiber foods, since fiber takes longer to digest. Among grains, enjoy white bread, bagels and English muffins. You can also try small doses of white rice, as well as arrowroot cookies and soda crackers. Some vegetables are okay, particularly cucumbers, and well-cooked eggplant, squash, and zucchini, but skin them first and then remove any seeds. Low-fat yogurt is good for breakfast, as a snack or dessert.
Replace necessary nutrients, especially Vitamin B-12, iron and calcium, through food or supplements. Difficulty with digestion can rob the body of these important nutrients. Seafood, liver, fortified cereals and yogurt are strong sources of B-12, while iron can be found in clams, pork, liver, fortified grains and blacktrap molasses. Dairy products and tofu are perfect for replacing calcium and add protein to your diet.
Other acceptable foods include applesauce, canned fruits or vegetables without skin, eggs, mild cheese and cottage cheese. Among the foods to strictly avoid are meat with gristle, dried fruits and beans, caffeine, spicy dishes, popcorn, nuts, seeds, chocolate, oatmeal, oranges and broccoli, all of which are either high in fat or fiber, and difficult to digest.
Over the course of a 15-year career, John Briggs has written for print and online clients. As a syndicated TV critic, his work appeared in some of the country's top dailies. He has a degree in political science from Temple University and took additional writing classes at NYU.