Oesophageal Patients Association
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Unhealthy diet

Does anyone else find themselves eating an unhealthy diet? I read all the time that sugar and butter are bad for you, but If I try to cut back on them I loose weight, and I never seem to be able to put it on again. I lost four stone after my op., but I was rather over weight, but now I'm under weight. I'm a vegetarian, I have been for forty years, and I wouldn't change that, but I find fruit and vegetables are bulky, and fill me very quickly, without many calories. Which leaves me with bread, biscuits and cake. I do eat beans and lentils, and pasta and rice but only in very small amounts, and they do sometimes cause dumping. I can't manage soup or health drinks, they always make me dump.

So I find myself guiltily enjoying hot buttered toast and chocolate. And humous, my one healthy food.

Do you think sugar and butter are bad in themselves, or because they make some people overweight?

13 Replies

I also struggle to keep my weight up, like you I am four stone lighter, but I dont worry about butter. Have used nothing else all my 77 years. Todays D Mail says its ok too, so must be right.

Sugar I think is another story and would be cautious with it. I like chocolate but go for dark or 70% in small amounts. I am sure others will come up with some good suggestions so I will keep an eye on your replies.


Morning Patchworker. If you use more cream and cheese and butter and yogurt than sugar you may get the same weight gain results but feel less guilty. Use more olive oil in the hummus and , if these Mediterranean dips work then try things like pine nuts blended with olive oil , yoghurt , lemon and garlic. Lentils can be used for dips too. If you need some advice on dips I can help. I make a lot fro all sorts of ingredients. Cream cheeses like ricotta and mascarpone are excellent for this sort of thing. Oddly so is smoked salmon with cream , lemon , nutmeg. The possibilities for healthy but weight enhancing meals exist

How long since your oesophagus was removed?

1 like

I too eat all the wrong food but like you said if I didn't I too would lose lots of weight. I ate a Kiwi Fruit yesterday and had upset stomach for over an hour and it felt like I had a brick sitting in my gut. Don't feel guilty for what you eat as we have to eat whatever our bodies will accept. And if it's chocolate, crisps, sweets etc then that's just the way it is for us xxxx


my other half has just reminded me that another trick is to add olive oil or crème fraiche or butter galore to mashed potatoes , carrots or swede. It makes the veg tastier , and adds calories. the same goes for pasta ; add cream to the tomato sauce , make carbonara (without bacon in you case!) , using eggs and double cream.


I understand that you do not want to lose weight continually, but it is a very common experience to settle down at a much lower normal weight than you were before. Try not to confuse gaining /losing weight with health as such, although ultimately I know that keeping up a certain weight matters eventually. There are not many who have had this operation that have much spare flesh.

Bread, cakes and sugar give problems to many people because of the insulin:sugar spikes that they will cause. I have not heard so many people having problems with butter and fat although you might have to watch how sweet they are.

I am interested that soup and health drinks make you have dumping syndrome - is this regardless of flavour? There are a wide variety of health drinks - I would advocate looking at the small print for the ingredients.

Does SlimFast give you trouble? You will think I am mad to suggest this when your problem is losing weight, but this does help because it cuts out some of the ingredients especially sugar that cause problems. I would try anything that is designed for diabetics, and low GI index foods (like basmati rice rather than white rice). There are some details on the OPA website. Egg Benedict?

Eating to try to gain weight is a very great frustration and problem in life that you can do without; but finding a sensible diet that keeps you stable does require some research and trial/error. I do not see any reason why you cannot achieve this as a vegetarian as long as you take enough protein from other sources.


It isn't easy. I like sweet things far more now after my operation almost 4 years ago, though I tend to try to eat fruit. However, I am easily tempted by chocolate and really have no great conscience about it. As for butter, you no doubt saw in yesterday's press that back in the 1980's, they got it quite wrong about dairy fats, and that they are not the horrors they were painted out to be those years ago. But there is no doubt that it is a bit of a struggle, though better by far than the alternative.

Best wishes,


1 like

Can anybody explain why we don't gain weight. I, like many of us have lost four stone. I used to eat a healthy diet,plenty of fruit, vegetables and salad,now I don't like salad and eat very little fruit. I crave for chocolate, sweets, cakes etc. , and all foods one would associate with obesity, and I'm always hungry. Over the course of the day I eat far more than I used to prior to my op. four years ago. What happens to the food we eat, in what way are we different. The reason for our inability to gain weight must surely be of interest to people who need to lose weight. My ambition is to get up to a 32 inch waist.


Thanks everyone for the good ideas. I particularly like the thought of the wonderful garlicy dips. But I won't be able to make them myself, as I have developed a new problem over the last few years, a nasty tremor which is exhausting and leaves me with no spare energy for cooking. My next neuro appt. is soon, and I expect to be told it's Parkinson's disease. I do my shopping on line and get it delivered, so I'll see what other good dips they have.

I'm finding it difficult to explain my problem with soup and health drinks. I can only manage a few sips of any liquid at one time without feeling sick or the liquid coming back up. so I feel thirsty a lot of the time. Thick liquids don't slake my thirst, so I drink only water, a few sips every few minutes.

I can't eat brown bread or brown rice or anything high fibre, it just stays in my gut for hours and hours, so I've no room for my next meal.

I sound as if I'm having a good moan, but actually I'm not too bad. It's almost five years since my op., and I'm still alive! And when I get dumping syndrome it's usually my own fault for eating too much, or eating hot food.

Thanks again everyone, it really does help talking to people who understand.


Hi again ; I forgot to wonder whether you've looked at Simply Puree who offer healthy ready pureed food. Maybe they can help. They have donated to the OPA and I have heard that the grub they offer is good and healthy


It is my hope that you may find my book LivingWithAchalasia.org - a free download - helpful in addressing this issue. It has helped me tremendously.


If you are losing weight after discontinuing certain food items then that means that you should perhaps continue eating our bodies our different and so is the rate of metabolism so a food item that may be bad for some may not be much of a problem but still if you have an issue with sugar try intake of solubke fibres since they form a gel in your body and trap glucose and lipids and help in weight control i hope that helps let me know if it does


Hello again!

My Doctor prescribed some Fibre gel, but it didn't work well for me. It stayed in my stomach for hours and hours, blocking it, and made it impossible to eat the next meal, so I lost more weight. I don't really have a medical issue with sugar, it just makes me feel guilty!


Oh hello granny i didn't realize.....i am so sorry....even i love food but i simply can't eat pizzas and burgers and chips although i love junk food but my loving mother

keeps a check on what i eat as she is really worried for me so i dont eat foods made up of refined flower as it upsets my stomach and if i do sometimes cheat i make sure my mum doesn't find out :)


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