dumping syndrome diet

Patients who have undergone any stomach operation, such as gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery, may experience dumping syndrome. It can also occur following the removal of the esophagus, called an esophagectomy.

What Is Dumping Syndrome?

Sometimes occurring after stomach surgery, “dumping syndrome” occurs when large amounts of food pass too quickly into the small intestine. Dumping Syndrome can develop after surgery that removes part of or bypasses your stomach. Also known as rapid gastric emptying, changing your diet following surgery can help prevent dumping syndrome.

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Symptoms of Dumping Syndrome

Dumping syndrome causes symptoms like:

What Causes Dumping Syndrome?

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states that excess hormones caused by food moving too quickly through your body and movement of fluid into your small intestine causes the symptoms of dumping syndrome. These excess hormones may cause your pancreas to produce too much insulin. This overproduction of insulin can lead to low blood glucose 1 to 3 hours after eating, causing the symptoms of dumping syndrome hours after your meal.

Follow our tips and diet plan to help stop the symptoms of dumping syndrome.

Tips to Help Relieve Dumping Syndrome Symptoms

What you should do:

  • Eat small, frequent meals. Eat at least 6 times a day.
  • Lie down as soon as you finish eating. This reduces the symptoms of dumping syndrome by slowing the emptying of food from the stomach.
  • Tell your doctor if you lose any weight.

What you should avoid:

  • Everyone tolerates foods differently. Avoid foods that you know cause you problems.
  • Avoid simple sugars such as sweets, candy, soda, cakes, and cookies.
  • Avoid foods that are very hot or very cold. These can trigger dumping syndrome symptoms.
  • Do not drink liquids with your meal. Instead, drink liquids at least a 30 minutes to an hour after eating solid food.

Dumping Syndrome Diet: Foods to Choose and Avoid

Use the charts below for foods to choose and avoid when following a diet to relieve dumping syndrome symptoms.

Breads, Cereals, Rice, and Pasta Choose Avoid
  • 6 to 11 servings each day
  • Serving size = 1 slice bread 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal
  • 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta
  • Breads, bagels, rolls
  • Unsweetened cereals
  • Pasta, rice
  • Potatoes
  • Crackers
  • Soup, medium room temperature (wait one hour after solid foods before eating soup)
  • Sweet rolls and doughnuts
  • Sweetened cereals
  • Pancakes and waffles with syrup
  • Soup (eaten at the same time as solid foods)
Fruit Choose Avoid
  • 2 to 4 servings each day
  • Serving size = 1 medium-size piece of fresh fruit, 1/2 cup canned fruit, or 3/4 cup fruit juice
  • All fresh fruit
  • Drained, unsweetened canned fruit
  • Unsweetened frozen fruit
  • 100 percent pure juice (drink one hour after meals)
  • Canned fruits in heavy syrup
  • Sweetened frozen fruit
  • Sweetened juice, punch, or sports drinks
  • Candied fruit
Vegetables Choose Avoid
  • 3 to 5 servings each day
  • Serving size = 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked or chopped
  • All vegetables
  • Any not tolerated
Milk and Dairy Products Choose Avoid
  • Limit to 2 servings each day
  • Serving size = 1 cup milk or yogurt
  • Plain or unsweetened yogurt
  • Skim, 2 percent, or whole milk (drink one hour after meals)
  • Sweetened yogurt
  • Milkshakes and chocolate milk

Note: Dairy products such as milk, cottage cheese, ice cream, and pudding may cause diarrhea in some people after stomach surgery. You may need to avoid milk products at first and then try them in small amounts as you advance your diet.

Meats, Poultry, Fish, Dried Beans, Peas, Eggs, and Cheese Choose Avoid
  • 2 to 3 servings each day or a total of 6 ounces daily
  • Serving size = 2 to 3 ounces cooked meat, chicken, or fish (about the size of a deck of cards), 1/2 to 3/4 cup cottage cheese or tuna fish, 1 egg, 1/2 cup cooked beans, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 ounce of cheese
  • All meat, fish, and poultry
  • Choose leaner cuts of beef and meat
  • Eggs
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried beans or legumes
  • Any meats not tolerated
  • Limit the amount of high-fat items like eggs and cheese
Fats, Condiments, and Drinks Choose Avoid
  • All butter, margarine, cream, oil, and salad dressings
  • Salt, herbs, spices, and condiments
  • Any sugar-free beverage: coffee, tea, diet soda, etc. (drink one hour after solids)
  • Sweet pickles or relish
  • Sweetened drinks (regular lemonade, soda)
  • Honey, syrup, and jelly
  • Any others not tolerated
Snacks, Sweets, and Desserts Choose Avoid
  • Sugar-free gelatin and pudding
  • Sugar-free candy
  • Sugar substitutes
  • Sugar
  • Candy and chocolate
  • Cakes and cookies
  • Ice cream and sherbet
  • Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, xylitol, and mannitol

Sample Menu to Stop Dumping Syndrome Symptoms

Breakfast
  • 1/2 grapefruit
  • 1 slice toast
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon margarine
  • 1 cup 2 percent milk (one hour after eating breakfast)
Snack
  • 2 ounces cheese and 6 crackers
  • 1/2 banana
Lunch
  • 2-ounce hamburger on a small bun with lettuce and tomato
  • 1/2 cup fresh fruit salad
  • Tea (one hour after eating lunch)
Snack
  • 1/2 turkey sandwich with mayonnaise
Dinner
  • 1/2 chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup broccoli
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons margarine
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 cup 2 percent milk (one hour after eating dinner)
Snack
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter on graham crackers

About Digestive Disorders

The UPMC Digestive Disorders Center cares for a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions and diseases, from diagnosis to treatment. Upon referral from your physician, we coordinate your testing and treatment. If you have a complicated condition, we can refer you to one of UPMC’s digestive health centers of excellence. Most of our office visits and outpatient procedures take place at UPMC Presbyterian or UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Oakland. We also provide inpatient care at UPMC Montefiore or UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland.