Bariatric surgery is not a magical prescription for weight loss. It is an excellent tool to help the patient to limit his food amount and facilitate weight reduction. It is only the first step towards a major re-adjustment in life style, where the patient needs to adapt a healthy diet and a physical activity plan that suits him the best.
The healthy diet aim for starts from choosing healthy foods to the way the patient eats those foods to achieve maximum success and help him lose weight safely.
If the patient follows the dietary and exercise recommendations within the first two years following surgery, he can expect to lose 50 to 60 percent of his excess weight. If he continues to follow these recommendations, he can keep most of that weight off for a long term.
People who regain weight after bariatric surgeries usually are consuming too many high-calorie foods and beverages and don’t exercise enough. And rather than eating three meals a day and perhaps a planned healthy snack, some people eat food all day long.
The Primary Nutrition Goals After Surgery:
- Learn proper eating habits that will promote weight loss while maintaining health at a reduced weight.
- Take adequate amounts of fluids to maintain hydration.
- Obtain adequate nutrients for optimal health through supplementation.
- Successful weight management requires the following healthy habits:
- Eat small frequent meals: During the diet progression, Patient advised to eat many small meals a day and sip liquids slowly throughout the day (not with meals).
- Take the vitamin and mineral supplements recommended by doctor: Because a portion of small intestine is bypassed after surgery, the body won’t be able to absorb enough nutrients from food. As a result, the doctor will recommend certain supplements for the patient.
- Drink liquids between meals: Drinking liquids with meals can cause pain, nausea and vomiting as well as dumping syndrome. Expect to drink at least 6 to 8 cups (1 to 2 liters) of fluids a day to prevent dehydration, constipation, and kidney stones.
- Eat and drink slowly: Eating or drinking too quickly may cause dumping syndrome (when foods and liquids enter small intestine rapidly and in larger amounts than normal, causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and sweating). To prevent dumping syndrome, choose foods and liquids low in fat and sugar, eat and drink slowly, and wait 30 minutes before or after each meal to drink liquids. Take at least 30 minutes to eat meals and 30 to 60 minutes to drink 1 cup of liquid.
- Chew food thoroughly: The new opening that leads from stomach into intestine is very small, and larger pieces of food can block the opening. Blockages prevent food from leaving stomach and could cause vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain. Take small bites of food and chew them to a pureed consistency before swallowing.
- Try new foods one at a time: After surgery, the ability to tolerate foods varies from one person to another. Try one new food at a time and chew thoroughly before swallowing. If a food causes discomfort, don’t eat it. As time passes, you may be able to eat this food. Foods and liquids that commonly cause discomfort include meat, bread, pasta, rice, raw vegetables, milk and carbonated beverages. Food textures not tolerated well include dry, sticky or stringy foods.
- Focus on high-protein foods: Immediately after surgery, eating high-protein foods can helps heal wounds, regrow muscle and skin, and prevent hair loss. High-protein, low-fat choices remain a good long-term diet option after your surgery, as well. Try adding lean cuts of beef, chicken, fish or beans to the diet.
- Avoid foods that are high in fat and sugars: After surgery, it might be difficult for the digestive system to tolerate foods that are high in fat or added sugars like fried foods, soda, candy and candy bars, and ice cream, so try to avoid these foods.