If you’ve made the decision to start your weight loss journey by undergoing a gastric bypass surgery to switch over to a healthy lifestyle, then you’ve come to the right place. You probably want to know exactly what you can and can’t eat as a result of your surgery — if you’re looking to reach your weight loss goals, you will need to watch what you eat. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about gastric bypass diet plans.
Table of Contents
What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?
Gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy are types of bariatric or weight loss surgery. In the case of gastric bypass, a doctor will make changes to the small intestine and the stomach to improve how food is absorbed and digested. This surgery effectively results in a smaller stomach, therefore restricting the amount of food it can hold.
What is a Bariatric Diet?
This simply refers to the type of foods to eat before and after any bariatric surgery. Some examples of this diet include soft foods at the beginning until solid food is slowly introduced to the new system. Generally, bariatric diets will contain low-calorie meals while highlighting lean protein, hydration, fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.
Foods to Eat Before a Gastric Bypass
Before you proceed with gastric bypass surgery, you will generally need to stick to a liquid-only diet for the next week or two; if you fail to comply with this diet, your doctor could cancel the surgery. The aim is to consume a diet that’s high in protein but low in calories to make the liver smaller. Doing this will lower the risk of complications relating to the surgery and provide the bariatric surgeon with an easier route to the stomach.
This pre-op liquid diet can include water, clear liquids, protein shakes, and sugar-free beverages for bariatric patients. While this might sound boring, there are many ways to liven up this diet; be sure to discuss additional options with your healthcare provider that will be appropriate for your diet.
Foods to Eat After a Gastric Bypass
Once your surgery is finished, healing is the most important thing, and your post-op diet will need to include various phases to help the stomach to heal. This will start with a clear liquid diet within the first 24 hours after the surgery, then a progression to soft foods and full liquids over the next two to four weeks. Because of the changes in your appetite and a smaller stomach, you should find it easier to follow this diet plan.
Soft and pureed foods can be introduced three weeks after surgery to start your gastric sleeve diet. You may stay on this eating plan for a while until your healthcare provider agrees that you may move on to the next stage of your diet. Quick post-bariatric surgery meals include protein soup and protein powder for making drinks are also ideal for gastric bypass patients.
Once your dietitian thinks you’re ready, you can slowly start adding solid food — be sure to have a list ready of all the gastric sleeve foods that you are able to eat. Include vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat in your list, and check with your doctor about the most suitable options for your specific needs.
General Dietary Guidelines
Below are a few things to remember when on the bariatric diet.
- Eat a balanced diet with small meals.
- Implement a diet low in sweets, fats, and calories.
- Chew small bites and eat your food slowly while chewing thoroughly.
- Keep a record of your protein and calorie intake, along with your food portions.
- Don’t eat fresh fruits, raw vegetables, bread, rice, and meats that can’t be chewed easily such as steak and pork.
- Don’t use straws, chew ice, or drink carbonated beverages since they can bring air into your pouch, causing discomfort.
- Avoid concentrated sweets, fruit juices, food, and beverages containing sugar.
- Your calorie intake should be around 300 to 600 calories a day for the first two months after your surgery and should focus on thicker liquids.
- Your daily caloric intake shouldn’t go over 1,000 calories.
- Drink calorie-free or low-calorie fluids as well as extra water between your meals to avoid dehydration. Moreover, all liquids need to be free from caffeine.
- Drink one cup of fluid between your meals, around six to eight times a day.
- Experts warn against drinking alcoholic beverages because alcohol is absorbed into the system a lot more quickly now compared to before your surgery. As such, its mood-altering and sedative effects can be harder to control and predict.
What to Eat on the Gastric Bypass Diet
Here are the most important food items you’ll need to eat before and after your bariatric procedure.
High-protein foods can help you preserve muscle tissue, which includes the following:
- Red meats and ground meats
- Soft-boiled eggs
- Soy milk
- Cottage cheese
- Soy products like tofu
- Milk products
Try to eat as many as 65 to 75 grams of protein each day, but don’t worry if you aren’t able to meet this goal in your first month after surgery.
Be sure to get the following supplements each day to avoid nutrient deficiencies; all of the pills should be cut into small pieces or crushed. Remember that you won’t be able to eat whole foods and pills before and after the surgery, and your new anatomy may have difficulties processing these food items.
- Mineral supplement and multivitamins: With a minimum of 400 mcg of folic acid, copper, zinc, selenium, and 18 mg of iron. Take two tablets every day for three months after surgery, and one tablet every day for life.
- Calcium citrate: To prevent bone disease and calcium deficiency, take 1,200 to 2,000 mg of calcium every day.
- Vitamin D: Take 400 to 500 International Units (IUs) of vitamin D twice a day every day for a total of 800 to 1,000 IUs. This should be taken along with the calcium supplement.
- Vitamin B12: Take a 500 mcg tablet of vitamin B every day.
Lifestyle Changes Post Surgery
While you may feel motivated to get started with an exercise routine right after your surgery, it’s best to let your body heal first and start slowly when it comes to physical activities. During your first month, low-impact exercises can be a good option, which includes swimming and walking. Other people may opt for stretching, simple yoga poses, as well as deep breathing exercises.
Start Your New Life Today
While some people prefer to stick to a special diet, others may look into gastric bypass surgery to achieve their health and fitness goals. But before you take this leap into a new chapter of your life, it’s best to prepare a pre-op and post-op diet to help you reach and maintain a successful transformation. By spending some time to come up with the right diet for your specific needs, you’ll be able to protect yourself from surgical complications while learning how to eat and drink right for the rest of your life.
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