Patients with carcinoma of the stomach who underwent curative resection were randomized to total gastrectomy (n = 49), total gastrectomy and an S-shaped gastric substitute (n = 28) or subtotal gastrectomy (n = 12); all had a Roux-en-Y reconstruction. The gastric substitute and gastric remnant allowed a volume of 400–500 ml to be installed without increments in basal pressures. The corresponding volume in the Roux limb was 100 ml. Energy intake was approximately 120 kJ/kg preoperative weight per day 3 months after operation, and then remained constant. Patients who had subtotal gastrectomy ate less (91.7 kJ/kg preoperative weight) 3 months after operation, but thereafter increased their intake. Patients allocated to have a gastric pouch or subtotal gastrectomy complained more frequently of adverse postprandial symptoms (P < 0.03) as a major cause of reduced calorie intake. The construction of a gastric reservoir did not improve nutritional adaptation after surgery for gastric carcinoma.