Obesity is a severe condition that leads to many other illnesses. For some individuals it is a constant battle that is exceedingly difficult to overcome. However, bariatric surgery can significantly reduce weight, lessen cardiovascular risk factors and improve life quality. For some it is life saving.
This is done through procedures such as Gastric Bypass where the stomach size is reduced. Hence, you will feel full with less food. This procedure induces a drastic lifestyle change. You will need to retrain your dietary habits before and after the procedure. The exact diet plan will be determined by the doctor or dietician and will vary from person to person. However, here is a rough guide to let you know what to expect.
Diet Guide Before Surgery:
The diet does not just keep your body safe but also retrains and prepares your for the dietary changes after the surgery.
- Eliminate or decrease saturated fats (i.e. whole milk products, fatty meat, fried food, etc.)
- Eliminate or decrease high carbohydrate foods (i.e. bread, pasta, sugary desserts, potatoes, cereal, etc.)
- Eliminate high-sugar beverages ( i.e. fruit juices & soda)
- Avoid binge eating
- Avoid Caffeine (coffee & soda)
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
- Don’t drink beverages with your meals
- Take a daily multivitamin
- Take protein supplements as protein shakes or powder
However, as your surgery date comes closer you will need to follow a strict pre-op liquid diet for 1 to 2 weeks. Your doctor/dietician will provide you with the meal plan which dictates the exact time and exact foods you will need to take. If you fail to follow the diet, you will not be able to go through the procedure. The liquid diet is usually:
- Mainly protein shakes or meal replacement shakes
- Only sugar-free/ decaffeinated or uncarbonated beverages
- Soup broth, V8, vegetable juice, extremely thin cream of wheat or cream of rice may be consumed
- 1 to 2 daily servings of lean meat and/or vegetables may be eaten, but only if they are approved by your surgeon or dietician
Diet Guide After Surgery:
To allow your stomach to heal after the surgery, you will also need to follow a strict diet again. This will be done in stages. The length of each stage will vary according to your doctor/dietician’s instructions.
Stage 1 Clear Liquids (Week 1):
It is important to stay hydrated during this stage.
- Fat-free milk
- Fat-free broth
- Sugar-free jello
Stage 2 Pureed Foods (Week 2-3):
Puree foods are food, usually vegetables, fruits or legumes, that has been ground, pressed, blended or sieved to the consistency of a creamy paste or liquid. The daily intake in this stage is a mixture of puree foods with proteins and clear liquids.
- Protein shakes
- Egg whites
- Cooked cereal
- Non-fat soft cheese
- Non-fat cottage cheese
Stage 3 Soft Foods (Week 4-5):
Soft foods are foods that can be easily mashed with a fork, knife, or a spoon. You will likely be taking 3-6 small meals each day.
- Ground lean meat or poultry
- Egg Whites
- Non-fat Cottage cheese
- Cooked or dried cereal
- Canned or soft fresh fruit, without seeds or skin
- Cooked vegetables, without skin
Stage 4 Solid Foods (Week 6):
This is the last stage and where you will be reintroduced to solid foods. However you will need to dice up your food to smaller portions because your stomach is smaller. Large pieces may cause a blockage. Each food should also be introduced slowly, once a day. It is advised for patients to eat slowly and chew thoroughly. You will also need to avoid pre-packaged and processed foods and focus your diet on high protein foods.
Additionally, there are certain foods you should avoid:
- fibrous or stringy vegetables (i.e. pea pods)
- Carbonated beverages
- Tough meat (i.e. beef)
- Red meat
- Highly seasoned or spicy foods
- Fried food
- Crunchy foods (i.e. pretzels, granola, seeds, and nuts)
- Dried fruit
- Bread products (i.e. white breads, muffins)
With enough time, you might be able to take small portions of these foods again. However, it is vital to consult with your doctor first.
Overall there are several key things to keep in mind and they are : eat and drink slowly, chew thoroughly, exercise portion control, listen to your body, avoid high-fat and high-sugar foods, enjoy beverages between meals, but not during meals., drink enough daily and take your vitamins. Most of all obey your doctors instructions closely.