Dumping Syndrome after Upper GI Surgery

Some patients suffer from ‘dumping syndrome’ after their surgery. It is one of the effects of having a shorter digestive tract. The food rushes through the system more quickly than it should. The Vagus nerve, that normally controls the speed of the digestion, will often have been cut because of the surgery, and for some patients it takes months for the body to re-train itself to cope with the new system.

Dumping Issues

a) Early dumping is within 30 minutes of eating. Carbohydrates enter the digestive tract quickly and disturb the osmotic balance (concentrations) causing dizziness, faintness, palpitations, low blood pressure, cramping and diarrhoea. Resting immediately after eating may help.

b) Late dumping normally occurs 2-3 hours after eating or if a meal is missed. It is primarily caused by poorly timed insulin release for the amount of food entering the digestive system and results in feeling faint or sick and shaky. Consuming sugary food may help.

Recommendations for dumping

  • Avoid refined carbohydrates, chose lower glycaemic index foods
  • Include starchy foods as part of meals
  • Small, frequent & regular meals and snacks
  • Chew well: eat slowly
  • Keep liquids separate for meals
  • Dry foods may help
  • Loperamide (Imodium) and Creon may help 

Should we be eating Low Glycaemic Index Foods to minimise dumping?

Not all carbohydrate foods behave the same way in our bodies, and the Glycaemic Index rates of foods according to how much they affect our blood-glucose levels. So this can become very relevant if you suffer from dumping syndrome or diabetes. Ask your specialist dietician for advice about whether concentrating on low glycaemic index goods might be better for you.

The following table summarises the Glycaemic Index for some common groups of food.

Drinks Sugar-free drinks Sports drinks
Fanta
Cola
Lucozade
Glucose drinks
Cereals All Bran
Muesli
Porridge
Special K
Sultana Bran
Fruit & Fibre - type
Oat and Wheat Flakes
Shreddies
Sustain
Grapenuts
Cheerios
Branbuds
Cornflakes
Cocopops
Rice Krispies
Weetabix
Puffed Rice
Puffed Wheat
Shredded Wheat
Bread, Biscuits
& Cake
Heavy grain bread
e.g. Granary/multigrain
Pitta Bread
Rye Bread
Chapatis
Fruit loaf
Sponge cake*
Banana cake*
Fibre enriched white bread
Ryvita
Oat meal biscuits
Shortbread*
Muesli bar*/flapjack*
Croissant*
Muffin
Digestive biscuits
Brown
Wholemeal/White
French stick
Bagels
Crumpets
Morning coffee biscuits
Water biscuits
Puffed crispbreads
Rice cakes
Potatoes, Rice
& Pasta
Yam
Sweet Potatoes
Basmati Rice
Noodles
Pasta - most types
New potatoes
Boiled potatoes
Macaroni
Instant potato
Mashed potato
Jacket potato
Chips*
Instant rice
Brown rice
White rice
Fruit &
Vegetables
Apple, dried apricots, banana,
cherries, Cantaloupe melon, 
grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, mango,
orange, peach (canned and fresh),
pear, plum, fruit cocktail.
Apple Juice, grapefruit juice, 
pineapple juice (small glass).
Carrots, peas, sweetcorn
Apricots (canned)
Pineapple
Papaya
Squash
Sultanas and raisins
Parsnips
Pumpkin
Swede
Broad Beans
Watermelon
Legumes/Grains Baked beans, butter beans, black
eyed beans, chick peas, haricot
beans, kidney beans, lentils, soya
beans.
Pearl barley, buckwheat, bulgar
wheat.
Couscous
Cornmeal
Millet
Tapioca
Snacks Most chocolate*
Popcorn*
Crisps*
Peanuts*
Some chocolate bars*
e.g. Mars bars
Taco Shells
Jelly babies
Jelly beans
Corn chips
Sugars Fructose
Lactose
Honey
Sucrose
Glucose
Dairy Low fat ice-cream
Milk
Yoghurt
Full-fat ice-cream*

Foods containing relatively high amounts of fat - keep these to a minimum 

© The Oesophageal Patients Association 

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