Are you following a bariatric meal plan for weight loss? If not, I can tell you one thing: it’s difficult to stay on a diet. Bariatric meal plans help people lose too much weight by forcing them to eat smaller meals throughout the day. If you want to be successful on your weight loss journey, you need a bariatric meal plan.
Gastric bypass diet: What to eat after the surgery
People who are recovering from sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass surgery, also known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, can rehabilitate and alter their eating patterns with the aid of a gastric bypass diet.
You will discuss the diet you will need to follow following surgery with your doctor or a qualified dietitian, who will explain what kinds of food and how much you can consume at each meal. You can lose weight safely by adhering to your gastric bypass diet strictly.
The gastric bypass diet is designed to:
- Allow your stomach to heal without being stretched by the food you eat
- Get you used to eating the smaller amounts of food that your smaller stomach can comfortably and safely digest
- Help you lose weight and avoid gaining weight
- Avoid side effects and complications from the surgery
Diet advice after gastric bypass surgery depends on your unique circumstances.
To help you gradually transition back to eating solid foods, a gastric bypass diet often uses a tiered approach. How quickly your body heals and adapts to the change in eating habits determines how quickly you advance from one phase to the next. After surgery, you can normally resume eating regular meals around three months later.
As you progress through the gastric bypass diet, be mindful of:
- Drink 64 ounces of fluid a day, to avoid dehydration.
- Sip liquids between meals, not with meals. Wait about 30 minutes after a meal to drink anything and avoid drinking 30 minutes before a meal.
- Eat and drink slowly, to avoid dumping syndrome — which occurs when foods and liquids enter your small intestine rapidly and in larger amounts than normal, causing nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating and diarrhea.
- Eat lean, protein-rich foods daily.
- Choose foods and drinks that are low in fats and sugar.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Limit caffeine, which can cause dehydration.
- Take vitamin and mineral supplements daily as directed by your health provider.
- Chew foods thoroughly to a pureed consistency before swallowing, once you progress beyond liquids only.
For the first day or so after surgery, you’ll only be allowed to drink clear liquids. Once you’re handling clear liquids, you can start having other liquids, such as:
Liquids you can have during stage 1:
- Unsweetened juice
- Decaffeinated tea or coffee
- Milk (skim or 1 percent)
- Sugar-free gelatin or popsicles
You can start eating foods that have been strained and pureed (mashed up) after about a week of coping with liquids. The combination shouldn’t contain any chunks of food and should have the consistency of a thick paste or smooth liquid.
Three to six modest meals each day are OK. There should be 4 to 6 tablespoons of food at each meal. Eat slowly; give each meal 30 minutes.
Choose foods that will puree well, such as:
- Lean ground meat, poultry or fish
- Cottage cheese
- Soft scrambled eggs
- Cooked cereal
- Soft fruits and cooked vegetables
- Strained cream soups
Blend solid foods with a liquid, such as:
- Skim milk
- Juice with no sugar added
You can add soft foods to your diet after a few weeks of eating only pureed meals, if your doctor gives the go-ahead. They ought to be bite-sized, delicate, and simple to chew meal bits.
Three to five modest meals each day are OK. Every meal should contain between a third and a half cup of food. Before swallowing, chew each bite until the meal resembles mush.
Soft foods include:
- Ground lean meat or poultry
- Flaked fish
- Cottage cheese
- Cooked or dried cereal
- Canned or soft fresh fruit, without seeds or skin
- Cooked vegetables, without skin
On the gastric bypass diet, you can gradually resume eating firmer foods after around eight weeks. Start by eating three meals every day, each containing one to one and a half cups of food. It’s critical to stop eating before you reach full satisfaction.
You might be able to change the frequency of meals and the quantity of food served at each one depending on how well you handle solid food. Discuss your dietary needs with your dietitian.
Eat one new food at a time. Following gastric bypass surgery, some foods may induce discomfort, nausea, or vomiting.
Foods that can cause problems at this stage include:
- Carbonated drinks
- Raw vegetables
- Cooked fibrous vegetables, such as celery, broccoli, corn or cabbage
- Tough meats or meats with gristle
- Red meat
- Fried foods
- Highly seasoned or spicy foods
- Nuts and seeds
Over time, you might be able to try some of these foods again, with the guidance of your doctor.
A new healthy diet
Your stomach will be smaller after having gastric bypass surgery, and food will enter your intestines differently. It’s crucial to eat enough food after surgery while continuing to work toward your weight-loss objectives. Your doctor probably will advise you to:
- Eat and drink slowly. To avoid dumping syndrome, take at least 30 minutes to eat your meals and 30 to 60 minutes to drink 1 cup of liquid. Wait 30 minutes before or after each meal to drink liquids.
- Keep meals small. Eat several small meals a day. You might start with six small meals a day, then move to four meals and finally, when following a regular diet, three meals a day. Each meal should include about a half-cup to 1 cup of food.
- Drink liquids between meals. To avoid dehydration, you’ll need to drink at least 8 cups (1.9 liters) of fluids a day. But drinking too much liquid at or around mealtime can leave you feeling overly full and prevent you from eating enough nutrient-rich food.
- Chew food thoroughly. The new opening that leads from your stomach into your small intestine is very narrow and can be blocked by larger pieces of food. Blockages prevent food from leaving your stomach and can cause vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain. Take small bites of food and chew them to a pureed consistency before swallowing.
- Focus on high-protein foods. Eat these foods before you eat other foods in your meal.
- Avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar. These foods travel quickly through your digestive system and cause dumping syndrome.
- Take recommended vitamin and mineral supplements. After surgery your body won’t be able to absorb enough nutrients from your food. You’ll likely need to take a multivitamin supplement every day for the rest of your life.
Your recovery from surgery and transition to a healthy eating plan that supports your weight loss objectives can both be aided by the gastric bypass diet. After having weight-loss surgery, keep in mind that you might not lose all of your excess weight or you might gain back any weight you do lose if you resume bad eating habits.
The greatest risks of the gastric bypass diet come from not following the diet properly. If you eat too much or eat food that you shouldn’t, you could have complications. These include:
- Dumping syndrome. If too much food enters your small intestine quickly, you are likely to experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating and diarrhea. Eating too much or too fast, eating foods high in fat or sugar, and not chewing your food adequately can all cause nausea or vomiting after meals.
- Dehydration. Because you’re not supposed to drink fluids with your meals, some people become dehydrated. That’s why you need to sip 64 ounces (1.9 liters) of water and other fluids throughout the day.
- Constipation. A lack of physical activity and of fiber or fluid in your diet can cause constipation.
- Blocked opening of your stomach pouch. Food can become lodged at the opening of your stomach pouch, even if you carefully follow the diet. Signs and symptoms of a blocked stomach opening include ongoing nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Call your doctor if you have these symptoms for more than two days.
- Weight gain or failure to lose weight. If you continue to gain weight or fail to lose weight on the gastric bypass diet, talk to your doctor or dietitian.
Phase 4: Stabilization Diet for Post-Bariatric Surgery Patients
During this phase, or stage, after your bariatric surgery, you will be able to eat foods of a regular consistency. This does not mean, however, that you can go back to your old eating habits and patterns.
Key Goals of Phase 4: Stabilization Diet
- Eat three, well balanced, meals each day with calorie free fluids between meals.
- Avoid empty calories. Since you will only be able to tolerate limited amounts of food at a time, it’s very important to eat nutrient-dense foods.
- Avoid foods high in sugar or fat that do not contain protein, vitamins, or minerals.
- Continue taking your vitamin supplement with minerals, since your meals won’t be large enough to meet your daily requirements through food alone.
Meal Plan for Bariatric Surgery Patients in Phase 4: Stabilization Diet
- Consume three balanced meals each day containing nutrient-rich foods, such as:
- lean meat, poultry, pork, and fish
- low fat dairy products
- low fat starches and whole grains
- vegetables and fruits
- These foods contain the energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals that your body needs.
- If you can’t tolerate the amount of food at one meal, you may have to consume six smaller meals each day.
- Stop eating whenever you feel full.
- Protein — You should be able to meet your protein needs through foods. If not, you may need to supplement with protein shakes between meals.
- Women: 50–60 grams of protein
- Men: 60–70 grams of protein
Gastric Bypass Patients: To meet protein needs, you may have to consume a low calorie protein food between meals.
- Liquids between meals
- Wait at least 30 minutes after each meal. Then consume an 8 ounce protein supplement or shake, followed by 16 ounces of sugar free, clear liquids.
- Try to spread fluids out over a three-hour period.
- Stop drinking at least 30 minutes before mealtime.
Sample Menu Plan for Phase 4: Stabilization Diet
Eat the protein portion of your meal first, and don’t forget your liquids between meals (about 30 minutes after each meal).
- Protein: 1 egg or ¼ cup egg substitute
- Starch: ½ cup hot cereal
- Fruit: ½ banana
- Fat: 1 teaspoon margarine
Gastric Bypass Patients: Add 6 ounce light yogurt
- Protein: 2 ounces low fat turkey breast
- Starch: ½ cup mashed potatoes
- Vegetable: 1 cup salad
- Fruit: 1 small orange
- Fat: 2 tablespoons light dressing
Gastric Bypass Patients: Add 1 reduced fat string cheese
- Protein: 2–3 ounces baked fish
- Starch: ½ cup cooked rice
- Vegetable: ½ cup cooked spinach
- Fruit: ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- Fat: 1 teaspoon margarine
Your Guide to the Gastric Bypass Diet
Role of diet in gastric bypass
You must be a candidate for gastric bypass surgery and be aware of the dangers and advantages before having the procedure.
Typically, those who qualify for this operation are overweight by more than 100 pounds or have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher.
According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, you may also be qualified if your BMI is between 30 and 35, your health is at danger as a result of your weight, and lifestyle adjustments haven’t resulted in weight loss (ASMBS).
You must also be willing to relearn your eating habits in order to be a strong contender. New dietary routines can aid in ensuring that the surgery has favorable and long-lasting benefits.
You must make preparations for a special diet that you will follow both before and after your surgery.
The goal of the pre-surgery diet is to lessen the fat surrounding and in your liver. By doing this, the possibility of surgical complications is decreased.
Your doctor will modify the overall dietary recommendations for you after the procedure. The post-operative diet often involves many weekly periods. It aids in your recovery, allows you to feed your now-smaller stomach, and encourages the development of healthy eating routines.
Diet before your surgery
Before surgery, you can lower the amount of fat in and around your liver and abdomen by losing weight. As a result, laparoscopy rather than open surgery can be an option for you. Less invasive, requiring less recuperation time, and less taxing on your body are all benefits of laparoscopic surgery.
Prior to surgery, you should lose weight to prepare for a new eating style and to keep yourself safer during the process.
Your healthcare physician will decide on your precise eating schedule and pre-op weight loss objective with the assistance, most likely, of a qualified dietician.
Once you’ve received the all-clear for the procedure, you can start your dietary regimen. The treatment might be delayed or abandoned if not enough weight is lost. You should begin the diet program as soon as you can for this reason.
Guidelines will vary from person to person, but they may include the following:
- Eliminate or reduce your intake of saturated fats, including whole milk products, fatty meat, and fried foods.
- Eliminate or reduce your intake of foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as sugary desserts, pasta, potatoes, bread, and bread products.
- Eliminate high-sugar beverages, such as juice and sodas.
- Exercise portion control.
- Avoid binge eating.
- Don’t smoke cigarettes.
- Avoid substances not recommended by your doctor.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages.
- Don’t drink beverages with your meals.
- Take a daily multivitamin.
- Consume protein shakes or protein powder.
What to eat
Protein shakes and other low-calorie, high-protein foods that are simple to digest make up the majority of the pre-op diet.
Muscle tissue is strengthened and protected by protein. This may encourage your body to use fat as fuel rather than muscle. Additionally, protein keeps your body strong, which might hasten recuperation.
You might need to stick to a diet that is primarily liquid or liquid-only as your surgery date approaches. Your doctor might allow you to consume some solid foods during this time depending on your weight and general health. These might contain soft-boiled eggs, salmon, or watered-down hot cereal.
Prior to the procedure, be sure to confirm the anesthesiologist’s instructions regarding what is permitted and prohibited. Depending on your circumstances, these advice might change. For instance, up to two hours prior to surgery, your doctor can advise you to consume drinks high in carbohydrates.
Diet after your surgery
The post-surgery food regimen is broken down into sections. Your doctor or dietician will specify how long each stage lasts and what you can eat and drink.
Every step emphasizes how crucial portion control is. This behavior will aid in your ongoing weight loss and help you get ready for your lifelong eating habits.
Stage 1: Liquid diet
Your nutritional needs during stage 1 are focused on promoting your body’s recovery from surgery. You can prevent postoperative problems with your diet.
You’re only permitted to consume a few ounces of clear beverages at a time for the first several days. This prevents meals from stretching out your stomach while it is healing.
You will advance to more advanced liquids after clear liquids, such as:
- decaffeinated coffee and tea
- skim milk
- thin soup and broth
- unsweetened juice
- sugar-free gelatin
- sugar-free ice pops
Stage 2: Puréed diet
You can advance to stage 2 once your physician determines that you are ready. Foods that have been puréed and have a thick, pudding-like consistency make up this stage.
With the use of a food processor, blender, or another appliance, many meals can be puréed at home.
Avoid using spicy seasonings altogether or just use one at a time to avoid stomach irritation. Avoid eating kiwi or strawberries or other foods with a lot of seeds. Additionally, avoid foods like broccoli and cauliflower that are too fibrous to liquefy.
Choose meals that liquefy nicely instead, like:
|Fruits||applesauce, bananas, canned fruits, peaches, apricots, pears, pineapples, melons|
|Vegetables||spinach, carrots, summer squash, green beans|
|Protein||yogurt, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, beef, chicken, turkey, white fish (cod, tilapia, haddock), scrambled eggs|
Stage 1 baby foods (which don’t contain solids) and vegetable juices such as V8 are also convenient options.
However, at this stage, it’s important not to drink fluids with your meals.
Stage 3: Soft foods diet
You’ll probably eat nothing but puréed food for several weeks. Once your doctor decides you’re ready, you can start building soft, easy-to-chew foods into your diet. These may include:
- soft-boiled eggs
- ground meat
- baked or steamed white fish
- canned fruits, such as peaches or pears
It is important to eat small bites. Eat a little at a time and practice good portion control.
Stage 4: Stabilization
The gastric bypass diet’s fourth stage involves reintroducing solid meals. Usually, it starts two months following surgery.
You still need to cut or dice your food into small portions because your stomach is considerably smaller. Large bits of food may block the passageway, which can result in discomfort, nauseousness, and vomiting.
Introducing new foods gradually You may then decide which ones to avoid and which ones your stomach can handle. Any food that induces nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain should be avoided.
Foods and drinks to avoid in stage 4
Certain foods and drinks shouldn’t be attempted yet, such as those that are hard to digest. These include:
- fibrous or stringy vegetables, such as pea pods
- corn on the cob
- carbonated beverages, such as sodas and seltzer
- tough meat
- fried foods
- crunchy foods, such as pretzels, granola, seeds, and nuts
- dried fruit
- bread and bread products, such as muffins
You might be able to start eating regularly again around 4 months after surgery.
Portion management is still crucial, though. Make sure that the majority of the foods in your diet are fresh produce, lean protein, and wholesome carbohydrates. Avoid eating unhealthy foods that are high in calories, fat, and carbs.
By eating wisely, you can maintain your health without gaining weight again.
Overall guidelines for a post-op diet
The guidelines for your postoperative diet will also serve you throughout life. They include:
- Eat and drink slowly.
- Practice portion control.
- Listen to your body. If you can’t tolerate a food, such as something spicy or fried, don’t eat it.
- Avoid high-fat and high-sugar foods.
- Enjoy beverages between meals, but not during meals.
- Drink enough daily to avoid dehydration.
- Eat only small pieces of food at a time and chew each piece thoroughly.
- Take the vitamins your doctor recommends.
Lifestyle changes after your surgery
You might be inspired to start or continue an exercise regimen. You must allow your body to recuperate following surgery. Slow down.
For the first month, low-impact workouts are an excellent alternative. These consist of swimming and walking. Simple yoga positions, stretches, and deep breathing techniques may also be helpful.
You can gradually increase your strength- and cardio-training throughout the coming months.
Consider exercise and movement together. Simple lifestyle adjustments, like the following, can improve physical fitness:
- walking instead of riding the bus
- parking farther away from your destination
- taking the stairs instead of the elevator
Possible complications of the surgery
Following the proper pre- and post-surgery diets can help you avoid complications, such as dehydration, nausea, and constipation.
Your stomach and intestines can occasionally constrict their connection. Even if you are careful about what you consume, this can still happen.
Inform your doctor if you experience nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain for longer than two days. All of these signs point to a potential impediment.
You can also prevent what is known as dumping syndrome by controlling your portions, eating and drinking slowly, and avoiding high-sugar, high-fat foods. When food or liquids enter your small intestine too rapidly or in excess, you have dumping syndrome.
Dumping syndrome can also result from eating and drinking simultaneously. It does so by increasing intake volume.
During any phase of the post-operative diet, the dumping syndrome might occur. These signs include:
To help avoid dumping syndrome, a good rule of thumb is to take at least half an hour to eat each meal.
Choose low-fat and low- or no-sugar foods. Wait around 30 to 45 minutes before drinking any liquids, and always sip liquids very slowly.
The bottom line
A fresh start in terms of health and fitness can be provided with gastric bypass surgery.
Following the advised pre- and post-operative diet will greatly increase your chances of success. The proper diet can help you avoid post-operative issues and also educate you how to maintain a healthy diet for the rest of your life.