Nutrition After Bariatric Surgery
After bariatric surgery you will need to make changes to your eating patterns. Our bariatric coordinator, surgeon and dietitian will also help you through this process. It is very important to follow the eating and drinking instructions beginning immediately after the operation.
The size of your stomach pouch is about one ounce or one to two tablespoons. At first your capacity will be somewhat limited, so be patient. You may find that two to three teaspoons of food fill you up. This is expected. You may also find that you are able to eat more of one type of food than another. That is okay, too. Over time, your food pouch will stretch. By six months after surgery, it may stretch to eight ounces or one cup. Long term, the size of your pouch is likely to be eight to twelve ounces or 1 to 1½ cups. This will limit the amount of food you can eat at one time.
The surgery is designed to restrict solids, not liquids, so drinking liquids will not make you feel full. You also should not drink liquids during or immediately after meals as they will flush food through the reduced stomach pouch, which means you will not get the prolonged feeling of satiety needed to help you eat less; however, staying hydrated and drinking lots of water throughout the day is important. You will also need to learn to eat slowly and chew your food very thoroughly.
One of the changes that patients often comment about is the concept of wasting food. After surgery your eyes and head still work the same way as they did before. However, because of the new stomach pouch, you will be satisfied with much less. It is critical that you listen to your body’s signals of fullness and not to your eyes that see food left on your plate.
Weight Loss Diet After Surgery
Food amount and selection
It is recommended that you eat only three small meals a day. The primary source of nutrition should be protein. 70 to 75% of all calories consumed should be protein based (eggs, fish, meat, etc). Carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, etc.) should make up only 10 to 20%, and fats (butter, cheese, etc.) only 5 to 15% of the calories that you eat. A diet consisting of 600 to 800 calories and 75 grams of protein should be the goal for the first 6 months. Protein drinks can be helpful to fulfill your protein requirements. There are many to choose from. Look for protein drinks that are low calorie and low sugar and that have a good taste.
You will need to make good food choices and learn to avoid problem foods, such as high-fiber, high-fat, and dry foods, since these are more difficult for the small stomach pouch to digest. Good food choices include fruit and vegetables, lean protein, some bread and cereal, and some dairy products.
Avoid foods which contain sugar; foods that have a concentrated supply of calories with little nutritional value, such as milkshakes, syrups, jam, and pastries, should be avoided as much as possible. Not only will they slow down your weight loss, but they can make you sick! Sugar may cause dumping syndrome in patients who have had the gastric bypass procedure.
Foods that may be Difficult to Tolerate
- Bread products
- Cow milk products
- Pasta products
- Fatty foods and fried foods
- Candy, chocolate, any sugary foods and beverages
- Carbonated beverages
- Bran cereal and other bran products
- Corn, whole beans, and peas
- Dried fruits and skins of fresh fruit
All the foods you eat must be of the proper consistency to avoid damage to the sutures and to avoid clogging up the small opening in between your stomach and your intestines.
The diet after surgery progresses from a liquid diet to a pureed diet, then to a soft diet and last to a modified regular diet. The diet progression is designed to allow your body to heal. Initially, it will help you meet your protein and liquid requirements, and later, it will assist you in meeting your nutritional needs. It is imperative that you follow the diet’s progression and adhere to this regimen to maximize healing and minimize the risk of unnecessary complications.
After about two weeks after surgery you should be able to tolerate a small amount of solid foods. These solids will be soft, pureed and/or blenderized. It is very important that you make sure everything is chewed to the consistency of baby food. And finally, but most importantly, you should stop eating as soon as you feel full (no longer hungry).
- Phase I Post Operative Diet: Clear liquids
- Phase II Post Operative Diet: Full liquids
- Phase III Post Operative Diet: Pureed solids
- Phase IV Post Operative Diet: Soft solids
- Phase V Post Operative Diet: Stabilization
It is difficult to get all of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs from the small volume which you will be allowed to eat, so it is important to take vitamin and mineral supplements daily. Not all products are created equal. Bariatric surgery patients not only require higher amounts of vitamins and minerals, but it is essential that they are in the proper forms. Our suggestion: