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Foods Provoking and Alleviating Symptoms in Gastroparesis: Patient Experiences

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Abstract

Background

Nutritional counseling for gastroparesis focuses on reduction of meal size, fiber, and fat to control symptoms. The tolerance of gastroparesis patients for particular foods is largely anecdotal. The aim of this study was to identify and characterize foods provoking or alleviating gastroparesis symptoms.

Methods

Gastroparesis patients completed: (1) Demographic Questionnaire; (2) Patient Assessment of Upper GI Symptoms; (3) Food Toleration and Aversion survey asking patients about experiences when eating certain foods utilizing a scale from −3 (greatly worsening symptoms) to +3 (greatly improving symptoms). Descriptive qualities (acidic, fatty, spicy, roughage-based, bitter, salty, bland, and sweet) were assigned to foods.

Results

Forty-five gastroparesis patients participated (39 idiopathic gastroparesis). Foods worsening symptoms included: orange juice, fried chicken, cabbage, oranges, sausage, pizza, peppers, onions, tomato juice, lettuce, coffee, salsa, broccoli, bacon, and roast beef. Saltine crackers, jello, and graham crackers moderately improved symptoms. Twelve additional foods were tolerated by patients (not provoking symptoms): ginger ale, gluten-free foods, tea, sweet potatoes, pretzels, white fish, clear soup, salmon, potatoes, white rice, popsicles, and applesauce. Foods provoking symptoms were generally fatty, acidic, spicy, and roughage-based. The foods shown to be tolerable were generally bland, sweet, salty, and starchy.

Conclusions

This study identified specific foods that worsen as well as foods that may help alleviate symptoms of gastroparesis. Foods that provoked symptoms differed in quality from foods that alleviated symptoms or were tolerable. The results of this study illustrate specific examples of foods that aggravate or improve symptoms and provide suggestions for a gastroparesis diet.

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Correspondence to Henry P. Parkman.

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Wytiaz, V., Homko, C., Duffy, F. et al. Foods Provoking and Alleviating Symptoms in Gastroparesis: Patient Experiences. Dig Dis Sci 60, 1052–1058 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-015-3651-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-015-3651-7

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