During this operation all or part of your stomach is removed. The small intestine is then attached to the remaining healthy part of the stomach or oesophagus. Due to the new shape of your food tract, your ability to eat normal sized meals will be affected. You may find you get full very quickly, as your storage capacity has been reduced. You may also discover that some foods make you feel quite sick after eating them. This is called Dumping Syndrome and will be discussed further below.


The aim is to provide your body with the best nutrition possible before surgery, to keep your body strong throughout surgery and during the recovery period. Prior to surgery, we suggest you consume some nutritional supplement drinks in addition to your normal diet. This will allow you to maintain a healthy body weight, as well as providing you with essential nutrients to strengthen your immune system.
We recommend starting the nutritional supplement drink Impact before surgery. Drink one supplement drink 3 times each day, for the 5 days leading up to your operation. It is available for purchase at our surgery, or alternatively can be purchased at Axcess.


It is normal to lose some weight after surgery. For the first several days after surgery while your wounds are healing, you will not be able to eat. Once you have been given permission to start eating again you may have a smaller appetite and find yourself getting full from a small volume of food. It is important to try and maintain a stable weight, even if it is less than your pre-surgical weight. Speak to your dietitian if you are suffering from nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea or weight loss.



In hospital you will commence on fluids, then will quickly progress to soft foods before reintroducing normal solid foods again. Initially you will need to eat 6-8 small meals each day, but over time you will be able to manage slightly larger volumes of food less often.
Try to eat every couple of hours if you can tolerate it.


  • cheese & crackers
  • toast + cheese/avocado/egg/hummus/peanut butter
  • raisin toast, scones, muffins or crumpets
  • milkshakes & fresh fruit smoothies
  • your supplement drink or a glass of milo/sustagen
  • yoghurt or custard
  • ice cream & jelly
  • stewed, dried or fresh fruit
  • a boiled egg or omelette
  • creamy soups or instant noodle soup
  • tins of tuna, cold meats, minced meat
  • baked beans
  • muesli bars, puddings, biscuits, cakes & chocolate


  • Eat small, frequent meals. Try not to miss meals and keep snacks handy throughout the day.
  • Have high protein foods with every meal and snack. These include: meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese, custard) and legumes (baked beans, kidney beans, tofu and soy products, lentils, split peas etc)
  • Chew, chew, chew!
  • Avoid filling up on low calorie foods like salads, clear soups, diet drinks, tea and coffee.
  • Avoid drinking with meals. Stop drinking half an hour before meals, and wait half an hour after meals before drinking again.
  • Sit down to meals, don’t rush or eat on the run.
  • Let fizzy drinks go flat before drinking.
  • You may find that moist, soft meals are easier to manage, e.g. try a casserole instead of a dry steak. White bread can also be a bit
  • tricky to swallow sometimes. Try adding a sauce to meals.
  • If you are experiencing reflux, stop eating 2 hours before bed and don’t lie down after eating. Try elevating the head of the bed.
  • Don’t eliminate foods unless they cause you discomfort. Do speak to your dietitian about replacing them with alternative foods!



  • Stir fry or bake with oil, rather than steam or boil
  • Add butter, margarine, cheese sauce or melted cheese
  • Use salad dressing or make your own with oil and vinegar
  • Add milk powder, butter and cream to mashed potatoes


  • Add a tablespoon of skim milk powder to each serve of dairy
  • One serve may be a glass of milk (250ml), a 200g tub of yoghurt or bowl of custard
  • Adding Milo, Nesquik, Sustagen or ice cream can make a nice milkshake
  • Add yoghurt to your breakfast cereal
  • Try cheese as a snack or add to meals


  • Choose fried rice over steamed rice
  • Mix with butter or margarine
  • Eat pasta with a creamy sauce, and rice with sauce or gravy
  • Top with grated cheese
  • Try the instant rice and pasta packets for a quick and easy addition to a meal or snack


  • Have stewed/tinned or fresh fruit
  • Add some cream, ice cream, custard or yoghurt


  • Enjoy spreads freely
  • Include: peanut butter, cream cheese, hummus, tahini or butter/margarine


  • Add milk/milk powder, a well-beaten egg, legumes or some chopped meat or fish for extra protein
  • Extra cream, sour cream or cheese will provide extra calories
  • Eat with buttered toast


  • Make casseroles and stews with added milk powder, cream or sour cream
  • Cook meat with oil and add creamy sauces or a gravy
  • Make curries with coconut milk


If you are finding it difficult to eat adequate amounts of food and are still losing weight there are plenty of options for you to increase the nutrient density without increasing the volumes.

  • Continue drinking daily supplement drinks as these provide an extensive range of nutrients. Try Impact, Ensure, Resource Fruit Beverage, TwoCal or Sustagen. See your Dietician to help find you the most suitable option.
  • It is advisable to take a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement after surgery. (For example Centrum or Cenovis). To avoid constipation, add a fibre supplement such as Benefiber or Metamucil daily, and prune juice once-twice per day.
  • Include all foods groups – this provides you with an extensive range of nutrients in the form that will be absorbed most by your body.
  • Ensure adequate calcium intake: eat plenty of calcium rich foods, especially dairy, fortified soy and tofu products. Other calcium containing foods include fish (with edible bones), nuts and seeds, green leafy vegies, eggs and fruit including figs and citrus.
  • Consume plenty of iron containing foods, such as red meat, poultry, fish, legumes, enriched cereals and whole-grain products. Eat these with Vitamin C containing fruits and vegies (strawberries, kiwi fruit, broccoli, capsicum and tomato) and avoid eating them with caffeine to increase iron absorption in the gut.
  • Exposing your face and forearms to sunshine for 10 minutes each day helps produce Vitamin D in the skin.
  • If the thought of food is making you feel ill, avoid strong smells, stay away from the kitchen and try eating cold foods only. This should increase your appetite.
  • Light exercise daily will help your bowels and improve your appetite.
  • Visit the dietician to ensure your diet is nourishing, meeting your energy requirements and is nutritionally complete.


Dumping syndrome is the term for a group of symptoms caused by food moving too quickly through the digestive system. It can be a side effect after a gastrectomy because the stomach is much smaller and is less able to dontrol the release of food into the intestines.


This usually happens 10-60 minutes after eating. When a large volume of sugary foods are “dumped” into the gut, fluid rushes into the bowel leading to bowel distention. Thus the following symptoms may occur:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal cramping
  • bloating
  • diarrhoea
  • rapid pulse
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • fatigue


Late dumping syndrome can occur anywhere between 1-4 hours after a meal. It is a consequence of sugar being rapidly absorbed into the blood stream, causing a high blood sugar level.
The body counteracts this by producing insulin, the hormone that helps cells to take up sugar out of the blood. Excess insulin then causes a low blood sugar level (hypoglycaemia) with symptoms including:

  • light-headedness
  • weakness
  • sweating
  • rapid heart rate


  • Eat small, frequent meals or snacks. Include protein foods as these help to slow down stomach emptying.
  • Don’t drink liquids with your meals. Stop drinking half an hour before and start drinking half an hour after eating.
  • Eat slowly and be very aware of not overeating.
  • Never allow yourself to get too full.
  • Avoid extremely hot or cold foods.
  • Avoid sugary and sweetened foods.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks and alcohol.
  • If you are getting diarrhoea from milk, try lactose free milk.


  • sweetened cereals
  • donuts
  • sweet pastries
  • cakes
  • cookies
  • pies
  • ice creams
  • jams
  • honey
  • lollies
  • fruit juice
  • concentrated sugary drinks, eg. cordial and carbonated drinks
  • dried fruit, fruit cooked with sugar or canned with syrup


Use this sample meal plan as a guide. It will give you a general idea about the types and quantities of foods you should be having. Remember to drink plenty of fluids – aim for 1.5 – 2 litres daily.

REMEMBER… Eat high protein foods with every meal and every snack.


  • Cereal, muesli or porridge with full cream milk and some stewed fruit or
  • Toast with eggs, baked beans, cheese or spreads or
  • Fruit salad and yoghurt + a high protein milkshake


  • High protein/high energy snack, for example:
  • high protein milk drink/supplement drinks
  • cheese and crackers
  • a scone with jam and cream


  • Sandwich with cheese, cold meat, fish or eggs. Add avocado, mayonnaise, spreads and salad or
  • A hot meal of:
    • chicken, fish, meat or legumes, eg. casseroles, minced meat
    • stir fried or baked vegetables
    • potato, rice, pasta or legumes eg. lentils, chick peas, beans

+ stewed fruit and custard


  • High protein/high energy snack, for example:
  • high protein milk drink/supplement drinks
  • a boiled egg/tin of tuna
  • a slice of fruit cake with custard


  • Thick creamy meat and vegetable soup or
  • Sandwich with cheese, cold meat, fish or eggs. Add avocado, mayonnaise, spreads and salad or
  • A hot meal of:
    • chicken, fish, meat or legumes, eg. casseroles, minced meat
    • stir fried or baked vegetables
    • potato, rice, pasta or legumes eg. lentils, chick peas, beans

+ rice pudding or yoghurt


  • High protein drink/supplement drink

+ a piece of fruit or a high protein snack

Recipe: High  Protein Milk Drinks


  • 1 glass of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of milk powder


  • yoghurt
  • pureed fruit
  • chocolate powder eg. Milo, Sustagen
  • custard powder
  • honey
  • ice cream
  • anything!

Make enough high protein milk to last you the day. Add it to meals in replacement of normal milk or water. Sip on your high protein milk drinks throughout the day.


Dairy products may cause diarrhea right after surgery. You may need to avoid milk products at first, then try them in small amounts as you advance your diet. There are low lactose or soy milk and yoghurt options available. These are convenient because they still contain the good quality protein your body needs. If you can’t tolerate dairy products, ask your dietitian about lactose-free supplement drinks, such as Resource Fruit Beverage.

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