Kidney Diet Tips

10 Ways to Help with Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is a condition where the stomach empties too slowly, and it can affect the nutrition and wellbeing of people with diabetes and kidney disease. It’s hard to predict which foods may cause problems for people with gastroparesis. Always consult your physician regarding your specific diagnosis and for any questions you may have regarding treatment and diet.

If you have chronic kidney disease and are struggling with gastroparesis, these tips may be helpful in alleviating your symptoms.

10 Ways to Help Improve Gastroparesis

  1. Eating small, frequent meals (six to eight throughout the day) can be helpful since eating large meals can slow gastric emptying and may also trigger esophageal reflux.
  2. Limiting high-fiber foods is important. A high-fiber diet is discouraged as it can lead to formation of a bezoar (a mixture of undigested food which can remain in the stomach and cause a blockage). Some high-fiber foods include legumes, dried beans, bran and whole grains cereals, nuts, fruits, dried fruits, vegetables and popcorn.
  3. Liquids may be tolerated better than solids as a source of calories and protein. A registered dietitian or doctor may recommend an appropriate nutrition supplement.
  4. The stomach helps to “chew” your food a second time, but in gastroparesis, it’s not good at this. Therefore, it’s important to chew your food very well before you swallow it. 
  5. Fatty foods may need to be limited with gastroparesis.
  6. If you are diabetic, improving your blood sugar by monitoring it closely and following the medication regimen prescribed by your doctor can help control gastroparesis.
  7. Sitting in an upright position for one to two hours after eating can help gastric emptying.
  8. Caffeine, carbonated drinks and alcohol should be avoided as much as possible.
  9. Avoid using over-the-counter supplements or laxatives for constipation, such as Metamucil, as they may remain in the stomach and lead to bezoar formation.
  10. There are many medications that can slow gastric emptying. Ask your doctor if any of your current medications may be contributing to the issue.

These suggestions are based on experience and understanding of how the stomach and different foods normally empty. Talk to your kidney dietitian about how you can incorporate these suggestions into your specific kidney diet.

To learn more about gastroparesis, visit the reference links below.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

IFFGD Publication: Dietary and Nutritional Recommendations for Patients with Gastroparesis

Additional Kidney Diet Resources

Visit and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

DaVita Food Analyzer

DaVita Dining Out Guides

Today’s Kidney Diet Cookbooks

DaVita Kidney-Friendly Recipes

Diet and Nutrition Articles                                                                              

Diet and Nutrition Videos

Kidney Smart® Virtual Classes

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Sue Yager, MS, RDN, LDN

Sue Yager, MS, RDN, LDN

Sue works as a dietitian in Carpentersville and Marengo in Illinois She has been a dietitian for the past 15 years. The last eight have been in kidney care. In her spare time, Sue enjoys reading and riding her bike.