Diet After Bariatric Surgery

How long will I be off of solid foods after surgery?
You will take in liquids for one to two weeks. After that, your diet will be advanced to soft/pureed food for two to three weeks as healing takes place. Solid foods will then be added as tolerated.

What are the best choices of protein?
The best choices include eggs, low-fat cheese, low-fat cottage cheese, tofu, fish, other seafood, chicken, and turkey.

Why drink so much water?
When you are losing weight, there are many waste products to eliminate, mostly in the urine. Some of these substances tend to form crystals, which can cause kidney stones. A high water intake protects you and helps your body to rid itself of waste products efficiently, promoting better weight loss. Water also fills your stomach and helps to prolong and intensify your sense of satisfaction with food. If you feel a desire to eat between meals, it may be because you did not drink enough water in the hour before.

What is dumping syndrome?
Eating sugars when you have an empty stomach can cause dumping syndrome in patients who have had a gastric bypass. Your body handles sugars by diluting them with water, which reduces blood volume and causes a shock-like state. Sugar may also induce insulin shock due to the altered physiology of your intestinal tract. The result is a very unpleasant feeling: you break out in a cold clammy sweat, turn pale, feel "butterflies" in your stomach, and have a pounding pulse. Cramps and diarrhea may follow. This state can last for 30-60 minutes and can be quite uncomfortable—you may have to lie down until it goes away. This syndrome can be avoided by not eating the foods that cause it, especially on an empty stomach. A small amount of sweets, such as fruit, can sometimes be well tolerated at the end of a meal.

Is there a problem with consuming milk products?
Milk contains lactose (milk sugar), which is not well digested. Some patients find milk or milk products cause cramps, gas or diarrhea. This sugar passes through undigested until bacteria in the lower bowel act on it, producing irritating byproducts as well as gas.

Why can't I snack between meals?
Snacking, nibbling or grazing on foods, usually high-calorie and high-fat foods, can add hundreds of calories a day to your intake, defeating the restrictive effect of your operation. Snacking will slow down your weight loss and can lead to regain of weight.

Why can't I eat red meat after surgery?
You can, but you will need to be very careful, and we recommend that you avoid it for the first several months. Red meats contain a high level of meat fibers (gristle) which hold the piece of meat together, preventing you from separating it into small parts when you chew. The gristle can plug the outlet of your stomach pouch and prevent anything from passing through, a condition that is very uncomfortable. Most patients find that lean ground hamburger is the easiest to tolerate.

How can I be sure I am eating enough protein?
40 to 65 grams a day are generally sufficient. We will run lab tests to monitor your nutritional status on a regular basis.

Is there any restriction of salt intake?
No. Your salt intake will be unchanged unless otherwise instructed by your primary care physician.

Will I be allowed to drink alcohol?
You will find that even small amounts of alcohol will affect you quickly. It is suggested that you drink no alcohol for the first year. Thereafter, with your physician's approval, you may have a glass of wine or a small cocktail.

Will I need supplemental vitamins?
You will need to take a multivitamin, calcium, iron, and B-12 daily.

Do I meet with a dietitian before and after surgery?
You will meet the dietitian at your consultation appointment and the pre-op education class prior to surgery. After surgery you will meet with the dietitian at your routine follow-up appointments and as needed.

Will I get a copy of suggested eating patterns and food choices after surgery?
You will receive a pre-operative educational manual at your pre-op class. This patient guide will outline the medical, nutritional and psychological aspects of the program.