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Home » Overcoming Dietary Challenges in Stomach Cancer: A Guide to Healthy Eating and Weight Maintenance

Overcoming Dietary Challenges in Stomach Cancer: A Guide to Healthy Eating and Weight Maintenance

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It may be challenging for a patient to eat when they have a stomach tumour because obstructions can prevent food from passing correctly from the oesophagus to the stomach or from the stomach to the intestines. For this reason, it is advised that patients with stomach cancer consume foods that they like.

People with stomach cancer often have similar issues, most of them are connected to dietary and digestive issues. A million new instances of stomach cancer are thought to be diagnosed globally each year given that it is the fourth most frequent disease in the world’s population.

Since stomach cancer therapy may require surgery to remove all or part of the stomach, patients often have issues with appetite and digestion. Nutrition is crucial in the battle against any illness.

Overcoming Dietary Challenges in Stomach Cancer
What dietary issues can stomach cancer bring on?

  • People with stomach cancer have issues with nutrition and food digestion as a result of:
  • The glands, unique cells, and nerves of the stomach that impact food digestion are removed or damaged if all or part of the stomach is removed.
  • Removing or harming the muscle rings (lower esophageal or cardiac sphincter) that regulate food entering and exiting the stomach (pyloric sphincter)
  • Toxicity from chemotherapy or other therapies
  • Lack of appetite brought on by the cancer itself because the stomach does not empty correctly, resulting in an instant and prolonged sense of fullness at the start of a meal.

Why do people lose weight and have less appetite?

Many individuals lose weight rapidly, have stomach discomfort, and feel full even when they see food in addition to the patients’ weak appetite and the way they digest food. People with stomach cancer often struggle with weight loss.

Eating may be challenging if a stomach tumour prevents food from moving properly from the oesophagus to the stomach or from the stomach to the intestines. The body’s capacity to utilise food as fuel alters as cancer advances.

As a consequence, energy is expended more rapidly, which, when coupled with decreased food consumption, causes weight reduction.

People who have stomach cancer often experience appetite loss and, far more frequently, feel completely satisfied.

Following surgery for stomach cancer, a patient could find it difficult to eat big meals and might only need a modest quantity to feel satisfied.

Depending on how much of the stomach was removed following surgery, this phenomena may occur. Food may not be fully digested or its fats and nutrients properly absorbed in the small intestine or residual stomach. Another issue is the dumping syndrome, which may make it challenging to keep weight off.

Food or liquid moves through the stomach and small intestine too rapidly when dumping syndrome is present. It could happen if all or a portion of the stomach is removed. Even if hunger has altered, doctors stress the need of maintaining weight since healthy eating will help the body fight stomach cancer and deal with its side effects.


Diet Recommendations For Those Who Have Stomach Cancer

If you’re having trouble losing weight, the following professional guidance may be helpful:

  • Avoid skipping meals. Even if it’s only a few bites, make an effort to eat often.
  • Make every mouthful count by consuming high-protein, calorie-dense meals and beverages. Use sauces and gravies for meat and vegetables, add butter to potatoes, and add whole milk or cream to cooked cereals or stews.
  • High-calorie beverages When you’re unable to or don’t want to consume solid meals, consume high-calorie, high-protein beverages (such as shakes and smoothies), or consume semi-solid foods (like pudding or yogurt). Additionally, consume little quantities of high-calorie, high-protein beverages in between meals.
  • Meal that is high in protein and calories. Eat a range of meals that are rich in protein and calories, and always have some fast and simple snacks on available. The following foods are advised: milk or milk shakes, ice cream, cheese and crackers, muffins, peanut butter, eggs, almonds, yoghurt, and pudding.
  • Tube for feeding. A feeding tube may be recommended by the doctor if the weight loss gets severe. A feeding tube is a small, flexible tube inserted into the intestines or stomach.
  • Liquid nutritional supplements may be administered via the tube after it is in position (enteral feeding). When it is too difficult for someone to eat or drink, feeding tubes may help them fulfil their nutritional requirements, particularly if they have lost a lot of weight.

Feeling full after consuming food and liquids

Even those who have not had any kind of stomach cancer surgery might experience the sense of fullness. In the event that surgery was required, the procedure shrinks the stomach and may leave scars on the stomach wall.

  • The vagus nerve, which relaxes the stomach wall when food enters the stomach, may potentially be harmed by surgery. As the stomach’s remaining portion increases or as the body adapts to changes in digestion, the condition can become better.
  • The stomach may empty considerably more slowly, even without surgery, keeping you satisfied for a longer period of time.
  • The following advice may be useful if feeling full after eating little quantities of food is a problem:
  • Six smaller meals or snacks should be had each day. Usually, this is more simpler than attempting to eat two to three substantial meals each day.
  • Avoid consuming liquids, particularly fizzy beverages, with meals. The stomach may easily fill up with these drinks. Drink calorie- or protein-rich liquids in between meals.
  • Eat fewer items high in fibre, such as whole-grain breads and cereals, since they might cause you to feel full more quickly than other meals.
    Get adequate minerals and vitamins.

Foods to avoid if you have stomach cancer

Pick meals that are high in proteins to aid the body in repairing damaged tissues and cells. Additionally, it aids in immune system recovery after sickness. Good protein sources include:

Lean meats like poultry, fish, or turkey

  • Eggs
  • Dairy items with low fat, such milk, yoghurt, and cheese.
  • After surgery, avoid dairy products if possible. Lactose intolerance may result after a gastrectomy.
  • After surgery, gradually incorporate dairy items into your diet to determine how your body responds to them.
    Butters prepared with them and
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Soy
  • Oatmeal, whole grain bread, brown rice, and whole grain pasta are all examples of whole grains that are a healthy supply of carbs and fibre that help sustain energy levels.
  • Consume a wide range of fruits and vegetables each day to provide your body antioxidants that may prevent cancer.
  • Eat five servings or more of whole fruits and vegetables each day.

Avoid fried and greasy meals and choose sources of healthy fats. Instead, choose dishes that are baked, broiled, or grilled. Limit sweets and added sugars. Healthy fats include olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds. Foods heavy in sugar, such as cakes, pastries, and sweets, have minimal nutritional value and often take the place of foods that are healthier for you.

Drink plenty of water. To avoid dehydration during cancer treatment, it’s crucial to consume adequate liquids. Every day, you should consume roughly 2 litres of liquids. Dehydration may result from consuming significant quantities of caffeinated drinks.

B12 vitamin

Red blood cell production, as well as the well being of the neurological and digestive systems, depend on vitamin B12. After the stomach is removed entirely or in part, low amounts of vitamin B12 are present and may cause anaemia. Intrinsic factor, which is produced by the parietal cells that line the stomach, aids the body in absorbing vitamin B12. Pernicious anaemia is anaemia brought on by vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is often administered (by injection or oral supplement) to patients who have had surgery for stomach cancer to ward against anaemia.


The mineral iron is crucial for the production of red blood cells. Stomach acid aids in the body’s iron absorption. Iron levels may fall if the patient has a gastrectomy, which involves the removal of the stomach. A gastrectomy that removes a portion of the duodenum, where the majority of iron is absorbed, may also cause a decline in iron levels. Anemia may result from low iron levels. Green leafy vegetables, red meat, and fish are on the list of approved foods after a gastrectomy, and patients are often given an iron supplement to take.


Calcium is a crucial element for developing healthy teeth and strong bones. Less calcium is absorbed by the body after duodenal removal surgery. Due to the excessively fast emptying of stomach contents into the intestines, calcium absorption is also decreased in Dumping syndrome. People who have stomach cancer may not consume enough calcium, which may cause osteoporosis as the following issue.


For the creation of red blood cells, folate is crucial. Because persons with stomach cancer may find it challenging to maintain a balanced diet, low folate levels may be an issue. The body’s ability to absorb and digest folate may be affected by changes to the shape of the stomach and intestines as a result of surgery. You should take a folic acid supplement since a deficiency might cause anaemia.


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