Maintaining a Healthy Diet After Bariatric Surgery

Adjusting your food intake after bariatric surgery is a key component to a smooth recovery. Bariatric surgery restricts the amount of food that your stomach can hold, to encourage you to eat smaller portions and help you lose weight. Because your stomach is significantly smaller after bariatric surgery, it is important to follow strict food guidelines, in order to avoid complications and ensure that you receive the nutrition you need. Follow the instructions below to ensure the best results after your procedure.

Follow A Diet Chart

Your doctor will provide you with a diet chart in order to ensure that you eat food appropriate for your level of recovery. Be sure to follow this chart, as it will provide you with foods and portions that your system will be able to handle at different stages. As your stomach heals, you will be able to increase your portions, but your diet should remain low in calories, fats and sweets. 

Keep A Food Log

As you add food back into your diet, be sure to keep a log of the food items and portions you eat, even snacks. This will help you track your recovery and give you and your doctor an easy reference for foods that may not process well in your new system, and the amount that you can comfortably ingest. It is important to be honest in your food log, so write everything down, including intake of water and other liquids and any portions of food, even if it is only a bite or two. Your stomach capacity is much less, so a bite or two could be a full meal while you are recovering. Remember that you are eating much less, so everything you ingest counts.

Eat Balanced Meals With Small Portions

what to eat after bariatric surgeryAlthough you will start with a very specific set of instructions for liquids and foods you can ingest during recovery, you will still need to prepare nutritionally balanced meals in small portions when your recovery period is complete. The reduced size of your stomach will dictate smaller meal sizes that you may not be used to, so plan your meals accordingly.

Avoid Sugar and High-Calorie Foods

Since your ability to absorb food is greatly reduced after bariatric surgery, it is especially important to avoid foods high in sugar and calories. Rather, focus on small meals with nutritionally valuable foods that will give your body the nourishment it needs. Remember that your capacity for food intake is considerably reduced, so smaller amounts of food must provide you with greater nutrition. 

Avoid Tough or Starchy Foods

Your new system will be less able to digest tough foods, so avoid eating the skins and seeds of fruits and vegetables and tough meats that are difficult to chew. You should also avoid rice, bread, pasta, and other starchy foods, as they can form a paste in your stomach that may block the hole to your stomach pouch and result in significant digestive issues.

Chew Food Thoroughly

Even when eating soft non-starchy foods, be sure to chew your food thoroughly, to make it easier for your new stomach to digest. Even a small amount of insufficiently chewed material can be enough to cause a blockage, with resultant pain, and nausea.

Avoid Introducing Air

After bariatric surgery, you should not use straws, chew ice, or drink carbonated beverages. All of these activities can introduce air into your stomach pouch. The air can easily be trapped, which can cause you to feel discomfort and bloating, and could stretch your stomach pouch. 

Stay Hydrated

stay hydratedIt is very important that you pay attention to hydration after gastric bypass surgery. Since your stomach pouch has a reduced capacity, you must drink small amounts of water throughout the day in order to ensure that you are sufficiently hydrated. Be sure to drink water between every meal, and aim for at least eight 8oz glasses of water per day. If you can't drink this much at the beginning, don't worry! Just work toward this goal as your recovery progresses.

Eat Foods Rich in Protein

The human body requires regular protein intake in order to function properly, and it needs even more to rebuild your muscles and soft tissues after surgery. Be sure that you ingest sufficient protein to help your body heal. It may take some time for you to increase your intake to a healthy level, so don't worry about ingesting the full suggested amount immediately; you can work your way up to the recommended daily values.

Take Vitamin Supplements

Bariatric surgery greatly reduces your body's ability to absorb nutrients from your food. In order to prevent nutrient deficiencies, it is imperative that you take vitamin supplements, including a quality multivitamin, calcium, B12, and Vitamin D supplements. Individuals will have different nutrient needs, so check with your doctor to see if you will need any additional supplements, such as folic acid or iron. Be sure to crush any supplement tablets or use chewables, as it will be difficult for large pills to pass through your system. In addition, double up on your multivitamin dosage for the first few weeks, since your body will need additional nutrients to heal.

Be Patient

It can be difficult to restrain yourself during recovery, and adjusting to your new diet limitations can be a challenge. Your diet is slowly adjusted after surgery, as your stomach heals and you become accustomed to your new stomach pouch. Your doctor will start you on an all liquid diet for the first few days of recovery, and slowly add thicker liquids and then solids as you progress.

It is very important that you not overeat! Eating too much food can result in pain, nausea, and even post-operative stretching or rupture of your stomach pouch. When you begin liquid and food intake, wait ten minutes after each bite or sip. You may feel like your stomach is still empty, but it takes some time for your body to register that it is full. Slow adjustment is the key to healing well and getting the best results from your procedure.

Be patient, follow your food chart and recovery schedule, and you will get used to your new lifestyle in no time! For more information on bariatric surgery and other weight loss procedures, contact My New Beginning today!

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