How Many Carbs Should I Eat After Gastric Sleeve


How Many Carbs Should I Eat After Gastric Sleeve? If you have had weight loss surgery, then you have probably been told by your bariatric surgeon about what and how much to eat. But it can still be hard for a gastric sleeve patient in particular to figure out how many carbs they should eat after gastric sleeve. Here is a guideline for how many carbs you should eat after gastric sleeve.

What is gastric sleeve surgery?

Gastric sleeve surgery is a type of weight-loss surgery. Weight-loss surgery is also called bariatric surgery. This surgery also known as sleeve gastrectomy or vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG). Gastric sleeve surgery restricts your food intake, which leads to weight loss. You may lose from 50 to 90 pounds.

It’s done as a laparoscopic surgery, with small incisions in the upper abdomen. Most of the left part of the stomach is removed. The remaining stomach is then a narrow tube called a sleeve. Food empties out of the bottom of the stomach into the small intestine the same way that it did before surgery. The small intestine is not operated on or changed. After the surgery, less food will make you full when eating.

Why might I need gastric sleeve surgery?

Gastric sleeve surgery is used to treat severe obesity. It’s advised for people who have tried other weight loss methods without long-term success. Your doctor may advise gastric sleeve surgery if you are severely obese with a body mass index (BMI) over 40. Your doctor may also advise it if you have a BMI between 35 and 40 and a health condition such as sleep apnea, high blood pressure, heart disease, or type 2 diabetes.

What are the risks of gastric sleeve surgery?

Bleeding, infection, and blood clots in your legs are possible side effects that may occur after any surgery. General anesthesia may also cause breathing problems or other reactions.

Over time, you may also have some trouble absorbing certain nutrients. Or you may develop a narrowing (stricture) in your stomach sleeve. Some people may have heartburn or reflux after the surgery. If you already have moderate to severe reflux, a gastric sleeve could make that worse. You may want to consider a gastric bypass surgery instead. That type of surgery can stop reflux and heartburn.

You may have other risks based on your health. Make sure to talk with your healthcare team about any concerns before the surgery.

General Guidelines

  • Eat balanced meals with small portions.
  • Follow a diet low in calories, fats and sweets.
  • Keep a daily record of your food portions and of your calorie and protein intake.
  • Eat slowly and chew small bites of food thoroughly.
  • Avoid rice, bread, raw vegetables and fresh fruits, as well as meats that are not easily chewed, such as pork and steak. Ground meats are usually better tolerated.
  • Do not use straws, drink carbonated beverages or chew ice. They can introduce air into your pouch and cause discomfort.
  • Avoid sugar, sugar-containing foods and beverages, concentrated sweets and fruit juices.
  • For the first two months following surgery, your calorie intake should be between 300 and 600 calories a day, with a focus on thin and thicker liquids.
  • Daily caloric intake should not exceed 1,000 calories.


  • Drink extra water and low-calorie or calorie-free fluids between meals to avoid dehydration. All liquids should be caffeine-free.
  • Sip about 1 cup of fluid between each small meal, six to eight times a day.
  • We recommend drinking at least 2 liters (64 ounces or 8 cups) of fluids a day. You will gradually be able to meet this target.
  • We strongly warn against drinking any alcoholic beverages. After surgery, alcohol is absorbed into your system much more quickly than before, making its sedative and mood-altering effects more difficult to predict and control.

Carbohydrates for Gastric Sleeve Patients

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and they play a crucial role in our brain, muscle and nervous system functions, among many other roles. It is important to choose healthy carbohydrate sources that will deliver adequate amounts of fiber and nutrients to maintain optimal health. 

Types of Carbohydrates

1. Sugar

  • Sugars are known as “simple carbs” because they are used as a quick source of energy for our bodies.
  • Sugar coming from whole foods is healthy in our diets. Examples of whole foods with naturally occurring sugars include: grapes, berries, apples, pear, mango, banana, melon, and more. These whole foods not only deliver an energy source for our bodies, but also provide vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Added sugars such as table sugar and artificial sweeteners such as Splenda and high fructose corn syrup should always be avoided. Instead, use more natural sweeteners instead such as agave syrup or pure maple syrup. However, always use in moderate amounts due to their high calorie content.
  • Unhealthy sources of sugar include: sweets (candies, chocolate, doughnuts, cakes, pies and cookies), high sugar energy and sports drinks, fruit juices with added sugars (unnatural juices) and sweetened or flavored yogurt. These tend to be low in nutrients and high in calories, with many having high amounts of sodium and saturated fats, which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer over the long term.

2. Fiber

  • Fiber is the part of plant-based foods that cannot be digested by your body, and it is only found in plant-based foods.
  • Fiber has four main functions: 1) helps move food during digestion, allowing us to have more regular bowel movements; 2) helps promote healthy gut bacteria to keep our immune system strong; 3) lowers cholesterol levels; and 4) slows down the absorption of sugar and helps improve blood sugar levels.
  • Fully recovered gastric sleeve patients should aim for at least 20 grams of fiber per day. Consuming less than the recommended amount can result in constipation, poor digestion, risk of cardiovascular diseases and a slowdown of your metabolism.
  • The best sources of fiber include: Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, oats, almonds, quinoa, berries, among other foods.

3. Starch

  • Starches are known as “complex carbs” because they take longer to digest due to their higher fiber content.
  • Starches provide important calories to maintain optimal levels of energy. Most starches also provide antioxidants, iron, calcium, B vitamins, among other nutrients.
  • The best sources of starches include starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn, peas and whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and bulgur.
  • Note, although white bread, white pasta, and white rice are considered carbohydrates, they should be limited as much as possible. These foods are classified as refined carbohydrates, meaning they are generally lower in fiber and nutrients. Opt instead for the whole grain versions, such as whole wheat pasta and brown rice.

How many grams of carbs do gastric sleeve patients need?

The short answer is 100 to 130 grams per day for fully recovered patients. For those that are still in recovery mode, the actual intake will be much less. Let us explain why. Early on in your recovery, the primary energy source that is limited are carbs. Protein is needed to help heal your stomach’s tissue, while fat is used as an energy source given that it contains more calories per gram than both carbs and protein. Since the stomach is still healing and has decreased in size considerably, we reduce carbohydrate intake. As your recovery progresses and you are able to eat more, you will be able to add more carbs into your diet. Carbs should be the new source of calories as you continue to recover, given that protein is needed at constant levels and should not change much while fat will likely only increase slightly. It is important that we focus on healthy carbs and not processed or high-fat carbs such as pizza, cookies, doughnuts or chips. To read about the reality of low-carb diets for gastric sleeve patients click on the button below.

The best sources of carbs are:

  • Legumes such as black beans, chickpeas, and lentils
  • Fruits such as grapes, apple, banana, mango, clementine, and melon
  • Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, corn and peas
  • Whole grains such as oats, brown rice, quinoa, farro, and bulgur

Another good source is buckwheat, which is technically a seed, although it is very similar to grains. One final healthy source is whole-wheat pasta. You might be wondering, “But everyone says pasta is a big no!” We have 2 responses for this common concern. 

1. The reason why pasta is viewed as an unhealthy item to eat is not because of the pasta itself in most cases, but rather what comes with it, especially the sauces. Most sauces are cream and butter based which make them extremely fatty and high in calories. It transforms the dish from a carb-loaded dish to a fat loaded dish. When eating pasta, either stick to tomato-based sauces like marinara (just check for added sugars) or make your own sauces. Almost all of our recipes use homemade sauces that are both delicious and very easy to make. 

2. Secondly, most dishes use regular white pasta. White pasta should be avoided at all times because it is made from refined wheat flour that has been processed and stripped from its nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Although some vitamins and minerals are added back, the fiber content remains low. What you should choose instead is whole-wheat pasta. To make sure the pasta you are buying is whole-wheat, read the nutrition label and check that it has at least 5 grams of fiber per serving of 2 ounces of dry pasta. The word “whole” should be listed in the ingredients as well, so you should look for the word “whole wheat” or “whole grain” to ensure it is not refined flour. It should also be dark brown colored rather than light brown or white. For our most recommended brand. 

Apart from being a good source of carbs, whole-wheat pasta is also very high in fiber, iron, and other minerals. It is even high in protein for being a predominantly carbohydrate rich food. So, do not be afraid of pastas, simply stick to tomato and very low-fat sauces, eat the right portions, and make sure to add a protein source. For example, you can add chicken, beans, or perhaps seeds, to boost the nutrient content and make it more appropriate for your diet.

How many carbs after gastric sleeve surgery

gastric sleeve diet weight loss

Doughnuts, fettuccini, tortillas – all the greatest foods in the world are just laden with carbohydrates. While we might be joking about “greatest” foods, carbs do tend to show up in a lot of the foods we enjoy eating. Bread, pasta, sugary cereals, and more may make up our daily menu, but they don’t do much for weight loss. At least when we talk about processed carbohydrates. So how many carbs should you eat after gastric sleeve surgery? We suggest gastric sleeve patients consume around 90 grams of carbohydrates per day depending on the level of activity and the individual’s specific needs. Consulting a WeightWise dietician is the best solution to finding the diet that is just right for you.

In fact, carbs are a necessary building block of a healthy diet. They help power the brain, improve the digestive process, heart, kidneys, and muscles. The lack of carbs in a diet can actually lead to headaches, fatigue, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

The Right Carb for The Right Job

Don’t go running for that cinnamon bagel just yet. Just like movies or music, there are good carbs and there are bad carbs. The good carbs, the ones that power the body throughout the day, are found in natural or raw foods.

Bad carbs, laden with sugar or highly processed, are the ones that slow the body down after an initial burst of energy. There are three main types of carbohydrates: fiber, starches, and sugar. Let’s take a quick look at some foods that, while containing carbs, are still good for the body.

Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage
Leafy greens: Spinach, lettuce, kale
Others vegetables: Green beans, asparagus, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini
Seeds: Pumpkin, sunflower
Legumes: Pistachios, walnuts, peanuts
Nuts: Almonds, cashews
Other: Tofu, soy milk

Gastric Sleeve Diet

After a gastric sleeve or other kinds of bariatric surgery, such as the duodenal switch or gastric bypass, what you eat is very critical. Weight-loss surgery has become very advanced over the past decade, including the use of laparoscopic surgery to speed recovery.

Laparoscopic surgery is a series of small incisions designed to be less disruptive than one large incision. As a bariatric patient, this allows you to be mobile almost immediately after surgery. In many cases, patients return to day-to-day activities 24 to 48 hours later or after leaving the medical center.

The rest of the post-surgery lifestyle will be quite a bit harder. Often, surgery is the easiest part of the life-changing procedure. Long-term success also depends on a complete revamp of the diet and physical activity. Luckily, these two go hand in hand.

Getting the required good carbs per day will keep your body energized to handle the increased activity. Cutting the bad carbs will help the lost weight stay off. So how many grams of carbohydrates are recommended after surgery to maintain a healthy lifestyle? At the start, the answer is zero.

Carbohydrate Consumption After Surgery

The first days, weeks, and months after surgery, food intake requirements are quite strict. There are many reasons for this, the most important of which is to protect the patient. While walking around the park, picking up the kids from school, or even going to the grocery store are all possible right after surgery.

What the patient buys at the grocery store is a different story. For the first two weeks, gastric sleeve patients will be limited to non-carbonated, sugar-free liquids, and liquid protein supplements This allows the body to get used to the lesser amounts of food being taken in and optimal healing

Difficult at the start for sure. Soon, the body will begin to adapt to the new diet, releasing hormones that make the patient feel fuller faster. This also allows the sleeve to heal. Eating solid food or gulping water at this point could cause discomfort, complications with the surgery, and even injury.

In the following weeks, lean, high-protein foods, and vegetables will be introduced in phases. Unfortunately, still no carbs at this point. So continue to avoid rice, bread or flour, corn starch, or other processed starches. After a month or two, you will be able to add small amounts of carbohydrates from vegetables or the occasional protein bar.

Please Read The Labels! Many manufactures use the phrase “net carbs” to make it appear they contain fewer grams of carbohydrates. However, the antiquated phrase doesn’t actually mean the food has fewer carbs, just that there are other ingredients (such as fiber) that supposedly lessen the effects of the actual carbs. Always focus on “total carbohydrates” when reading labels.

Part of the Process

The individualized diet and bariatric procedure are just two parts of the weight-loss puzzle. At WeightWise, we create a personalized plan for every patient. After all, no situations are ever alike, which means there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Before any procedure, patients will meet with our staff to discuss what will happen before, during, and after.

Surgeon Consultation
The first meeting with our staff will be had with one of our surgeons. The discussion will include why a client is coming to WeightWise, their family history, personal history, and any big life events that may have led to weight gain. This could include an accident, injury, or family issue that causes a lifestyle change.

This is the time for our surgeons to explain the process and the time for potential clients to ask questions. We want to make sure you understand everything that has to happen to make the surgery successful. In a few cases, clients aren’t considered good candidates for gastric sleeve surgery. Although we do offer non-surgical plans for weight loss as well.

Meet With A Dietitian
After meeting with a surgeon, our dietitian will meet with the client to go over diets before and after the procedure. You’ll talk about your current diet and what changes need to be made for long-term success. This is the time to talk about any allergies you may have and gain a better understanding of the lifestyle choice that clients will be undertaking.

We mentioned some of the necessary dietary steps right after surgery that nearly every patient goes through. Our dietitians will outline certain foods and drinks that must be avoided while losing weight and long term to maintain the weight loss.

Activity Plan
The third meeting will be with an exercise physiologist to communicate what is expected from each client. While normal, low-impact activities will continue after surgery, the body as a whole will need to start building strength, stamina, and flexibility. We won’t be training you for a marathon, but we will show you the way to a healthier lifestyle.

Even if you weren’t that “athletic” growing up, our physiologists will personalize a workout just for you. This is the time to talk about lingering injuries or health issues you have. Part of the reason for coming to WeightWise is to address those issues. Daily physical activity and reachable goals will be put in place to help with the journey.

Patient Advocates
We understand changing your entire life around can be very, very difficult. That’s why we assign every client with a patient advocate. Not only will this person help with insurance, billing, scheduling, and the administrative part of medical care, they will also be your personal cheerleader!

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