What Can You Eat After Weight Loss Surgery?
With the issue of obesity on the rise in the United States, more people are now turning to bariatric surgeries for weight loss. Most of these surgeries make the stomach smaller than it usually is. Due to the complexity of the procedure and the critical healing process, your diet is going to change drastically. Before and after surgery, you are going to be under extensive dietary watch to avoid complications and ensure the effectiveness of the procedure. Experts advise that you should start with clear liquids and extend to solid foods, depending on your tolerance. This article looks at the different foods you can have after weight loss surgery.
The first few days after the surgery, the stomach is very sensitive to particles. This is because they might injure the sensitive wound and cause internal bleeding. For this reason, experts advise that you should stick to clear liquids unless your doctor advises otherwise. After a few days, you can now start drinking a little viscous liquids such as broth, unsweetened juices, decaffeinated coffee and tea, and milk. Even as you do that, ensure that you take little amounts and take them in intervals. Again, do not drink them so fast, otherwise, you are risking dumping syndrome.
Pureed foods are mashed and strained foods. They are in either thick paste or soft liquids in texture. To ensure they have no solid particles in them, blend the foods with milk, broth, water, skimmed milk or juice with no added sugars. We insist on juice with no added sugars because such sugars contain large amounts of calories that would otherwise nullify the purpose of weight loss through the surgery. You should consume foods that blend well such as lean meat, fish or poultry, cottage cereal, soft scrambled eggs, soft fruits, and cooked vegetables. When dealing with fruits at this stage ensure to peel the skin since this can cause injuries on the wound and end up slowing the recovery process. Experts advise that you take a few tablespoons of pureed foods in intervals of 30 minutes, and eat them slowly. Remember, this is around a week after the surgery.
At around the second or third week after the surgery, you can now progress to soft foods. However, this should be under the advisory of your dietician, and you should be okay with it. You should eat three to five portions per day, each consisting of quarter to half a cup. Among the soft foods that are highly recommended after a weight surgery include; cottage cereal, dried and cooked cereal, eggs, rice, canned or soft fruits without skin and seeds and cooked vegetables without skin.
In the 8th-10th week after the surgery and you have tolerated the soft foods, you can slowly begin to take solid foods bit by bit. Remember, you should only do this under the advisory of your dietician. This is because depending on your tolerance and recovery rate, some foods might cause you nausea and vomiting, a common condition known as dumping syndrome. The recommended amount of food you should take is around 5 portions, each between a 1/2 and 2/3 cup. It is important to note that, at this stage, the stomach has not fully adapted and is still sensitive to lots of fibers and hard particles.
With this in mind, you should keep off foods such as raw vegetables, nuts and seeds, cooked fibrous vegetables, tough meats and meat with gristle, popcorn and highly seasoned foods. Since you do not want to go back to the same weight as before and want to make the best out of the surgery, avoid foods that are loaded with calories. Such foods include bread, fried foods, and carbonated drinks.
Experts advise that even as you adapt to the new diet recommended by your dietician, you should adhere to some guidelines. You should chew your food for long and completely. Doing this helps ensure it breaks into the finest particles possible. You should take smaller portions of food because failure to this can cause you to experience the same weight issues as before. You should take food portions in intervals of 30 minutes to avoid dumping syndrome. Your meals should have a balanced diet to avoid malnutrition since most of these surgeries inhibit the absorption of vital nutrients together with the food. Also, take some bits of water between meals to avoid dehydration. Even as you do that, beware to take excess water because this would deprive you of food and important nutrients. If you do this, the surgery should be very effective and should help in your weight loss endeavor.
Dr. Saniea F. Majid, MD, FACS, FASMBS, is our founder, director, and award-winning surgeon with more than 10 years of experience treating patients. She is the President of the New Jersey state chapter of ASMBS, a member of the Board of Directors at New Jersey Doctor-Patient Alliance, and Chair of the Post Operative Weight Recurrence Task Force (POWER). Dr. Majid has devoted her life to helping people like you lose weight and transform their lives and not only started and directed the Metabolic and Bariatric Center at Saint Michaels Medical Center but also achieved the National Center of Excellence. Dr. Majid is one of only three bariatric doctors and surgeons featured in the 2023 Healthy Living magazine published by NJ Top Docs. She is also a regular guest speaker for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) where she trains bariatric surgeons on the latest methods and techniques.