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After having a gastric bypass surgery, your small intestine has been re-arranged to help you absorb fewer calories and your new, smaller stomach pouch helps you to eat less at meals. Here is a quick guide to the foods you can and should eat, as well as, the foods you should limit or avoid.
(This is general information that is based on suggestions by our Mexico Bariatric Program. It has to be customized for each individual)
Post-op Diet Right After Gastric Bypass
- immediately after bariatric surgery, it is clear liquids.
- You can have beverages, like broth, low-calorie juice, and sugar-free Jell-O.
- Sip 2-3 ounces at a time to avoid discomfort.
- This is followed for 24 hours.
- Then, individuals usually advance to full liquids, which includes milk, cream soups, and other items.
Phase – 1 (A Few Days after Gastric Bypass Surgery)
This phase is critical as it is the most difficult to adapt to.
The prime focus of the post-op diet immediately after bariatric surgery is on liquids which mainly comprise of clear fluids that are low on calories and preferably without sugar.
- Patients are advised to stay away from carbonated drinks, caffeinated beverages and also any substances containing alcohol as they may cause nausea and bloating after bariatric surgery.
- You may sip or drink liquids slowly, over an hour. Starting with 1 oz per hour and gradually moving to 6 oz per hour.
- DO NOT use straws as the additional air may cause gas, discomfort and bloating.
Choice of Liquids
Your surgeon may guide you as to how to go about choosing the right liquids for post gastric care. Some of the safe and healthiest choices are listed below:
- Clear water and teas (herbal and decaf only)
- Broth, soup (clear only)
- Fruit juices (diluted only)
- Diet drinks such as diet Snapple, Crystal Light juice, etc.
- Diet gelatin, Ocean Spray light juices
Your physician will recommend a high-quality protein supplement until you reach phase 2. Protein helps to accelerate healing, keeps you full between meals, and is generally well tolerated.
Recommended Choice of Protein Powder
- Extreme Protein
- Soy Protein
- Whey Protein
- The Edge
- Pure Protein
- Designer Protein
- No-sugar-added Carnation Instant Breakfast Mix
Phase – 2 ( Full Liquids and Pureed Food)
After having developed tolerance to liquids, you can now move on to full liquids and slowly build your tolerance towards soft and pureed foods two to four days after surgery. Follow these guidelines to prevent malnutrition after gastric bypass surgery.
- Take no more than 2 bites per minute and put your fork or spoon down between bites.
- Chew your food thoroughly and pause for 1 minute after eating 4-6 bites.
- There should be very low fats and no concentrated sugars in your diet.
- Add only pureed foods to your diets such as beans, soft fruits, and well-cooked vegetables.
- You can also add high protein foods like cottage cheese, lean meats (ground or blended), eggs, and fish, but only in pureed form.
- Liquids such as water, skimmed milk, sugar-free juices and clear broths (without cream) can be used to blend solid foods to give them a paste-like consistency.
Choose a goal, stick to it, and experience the changes!
- DO NOT eat and drink simultaneously.
- There should be a gap of at least 30 minutes between a meal and a drink.
- If you are fond of spicy or dairy foods, make sure you add them slowly and in very small quantities as your digestive system is still very sensitive.
- STOP EATING at the first sign of fullness.
Suggested Food Ideas for Gastric Bypass Patients
- Oatmeal without added flavors
- Pureed chicken, tuna fish, and eggs
- Cooked and blended carrots and beans
- Diet pudding
- Fruits such as bananas, watermelons, cantaloupe (seeds and skins are to be avoided)
- Yogurt (plain), tofu, cottage cheese (low fat only)
Phase – 3 (After Eight Weeks)
Entering this phase is like almost getting back to your normal diet and routine, but with some care and precision.
- Your foods need not be pureed anymore but they should be low fat and not have any concentrated sugars.
- You are still required to chew your food thoroughly and properly, and wait for 5 minutes between bites.
- Any liquids that you want to consume must be taken at least 30 minutes after your meal.
- Always stop eating when you begin to feel full. Eating past this can cause vomiting and potentially lead to your stomach pouch stretching.
Suggested Food Ideas for Gastric Bypass Patients
- Add lean meats to your diet such as chicken, turkey, lean beef and seafood as they satiate you sooner and help in the healing process. Cook them thoroughly (only bake or boil).
- Go for light yogurt, scrambled eggs, and tuna fish.
- Move to dairy products like low-fat cheese, cottage cheese (preferably with 1% fat).
- High protein sources like soy, beans, and lentils can also be included gradually.
Note that nutritional deficiency is standard after gastric bypass and you may have to take supplements for the rest of your life. As per Obesity Action1, malabsorption can cause a shortage of the following:
- Vitamin B12
- Add raw fruits or vegetables and fibrous meats only after 6 to 8 weeks of surgery.
- DO NOT take additional iron supplements with calcium.
Foods to Steer Clear of
According to Mayo Clinic2, individuals should avoid eating the following items post gastric bypass surgery:
- Carbonated drinks
- Any form of nuts
- Rough, sturdy meat
- Meat gristle
- Fried eatables
- Sweet foods
- Vegetables with high fiber such as broccoli
- Addorisio, Denise. “The Post-Surgery Diet for Bariatric Patients: What to Expect.” Obesity Action, https://www.obesityaction.org/community/article-library/the-post-surgery-diet-for-bariatric-patients-what-to-expect/
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Gastric bypass diet: What to eat after the surgery.” Mayo Clinic, 2015, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/gastric-bypass-surgery/in-depth/gastric-bypass-diet/art-20048472
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