It’s important to avoid certain foods on a post-bariatric surgery diet to get the appropriate amount of nutrition and to lose weight.
After you go home from the hospital, you will be instructed to follow a diet after having surgery. This can be quite different from a pre-bariatric surgery diet. During the first few months of your recovery from surgery, you will work your way up from consuming liquids to solid foods. Some bariatric surgery patients make the mistake of thinking that once they are free to eat solid food, they can have whatever they like. Here are eight foods to avoid after bariatric surgery:
1) Food with Empty Calories
Since your stomach is about the size of a walnut after bariatric surgery, you will need to get enough daily nutrition by making wise diet choices. A bariatric surgery diet means avoiding foods that provide little or no nutritional value. This includes pastries, candy, chips, pretzels, rice cakes, and popcorn. If you eat these foods, you may end up undernourished or gaining back your weight. Foods loaded with sugar or that are fried can lead to a condition called “dumping syndrome,” in which these foods are dumped in the colon quickly after you eat them. Dumping syndrome causes weakness, cold sweats, nausea, and possibly vomiting and diarrhea.
Booze is high in calories, and it won’t be recommended as part of your post-bariatric surgery diet. Like any liquid, alcoholic beverages take up precious space in your stomach that needs to go to foods packed with vitamins and minerals during a post-surgery diet. In addition, alcohol absorption increases dramatically after surgery, which can lead to intoxication. Patients are usually directed to drink two liters, or eight cups, of water or beverages without caffeine or sugar every day. It’s important to remember not to drink beverages with food or 30 minutes before or after a meal. This practice, essential to any weight loss surgery diet, will help you feel full and will save space in your pouch for nutrients.
3) Dry Foods
Because you aren’t drinking liquids while you eat, you may want to avoid dry foods, at least in the beginning of the final phase of your bariatric surgery diet. Foods like nuts or granola may be difficult to swallow. You can have regular cereal, but make sure it is softened by low-fat milk. Try very small pieces of these foods to see if you can tolerate them as part of your bariatric surgery diet. If not, don’t get discouraged. As your body further heals, you may be able to eat these foods later during your post-bariatric surgery diet.
4) Bread, Rice, and Pasta
Because of the starchy nature of bread, rice, and pasta, after your surgery, they can form a paste in your throat that is hard to swallow without liquid. In some cases, they can block the stoma, the hole to the pouch that is your new stomach. You don’t have to completely reject these high-starch foods, but it’s best to avoid them in the beginning. When you do eat them, try to have very small portions, and make sure that you only eat small bites of each.
5) Fibrous Fruits and Vegetables
You should be eating lots of nutritious fruits and vegetables as part of your diet, but avoid hard-to-digest, fibrous vegetables. Celery, corn, broccoli, cabbage, and asparagus are foods to definitely avoid. Over time, you may be able to tolerate these foods, but in the short term, eat cooked, soft vegetables with no skin. Beans and peas are a good option because they will also provide the extra protein that you will need to maintain proper nutrition on your post-surgery diet.
6) High-Fat Food
Eating fatty foods after surgery may make you nauseous, and they aren’t good for long-term success at weight loss. Skip the bacon, sausage, bologna, butter, whole milk, and hard cheeses and choose lower-fat options instead. Select low-fat sandwich meats, lean beef, chicken, turkey, and low-fat cheeses. Eating too much fat on your diet can make you feel sick and may result in dumping syndrome.
7) Sugary and Highly Caffeinated Drinks
Any drink with sugar, corn syrup, or fructose is something to avoid post-gastric bypass. Drinking sugary drinks like soda and some fruit juices while on your diet can lead to dumping syndrome. Instead, choose water, unsweetened packaged drinks, decaf coffee, and tea. Caffeine leads to dehydration, so as you are getting used to your smaller stomach, avoid it.
8) Tough Meats
One of the habits bariatric patients must learn while on a post-surgery diet is to chew their food really well. The more you chew, the easier it is to swallow and digest your food. Chewing is particularly important when you are eating meat on a bariatric diet. Lean meats are an essential part of a diet plan because getting enough protein is very important. While you are getting used to chewing more, choose meats without fat or gristle. Start with bites that are the size of a pencil eraser. Avoid steak, pork chops, hot dogs, and ham. Instead, choose ground turkey, baked chicken, or fish.