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What Foods to Avoid After Bariatric Surgery?


Weight loss surgery is often touted as a way to prevent overeating and lose a large amount of body fat in a short period of time. But the reality is that weight loss surgery requires certain lifestyle changes. Part of these lifestyle changes is to remove certain foods from one’s diet completely. But what foods should be avoided, and what foods can you eat after weight loss surgery?

3 Foods To Avoid After Weight Loss Surgery

Greasy, fried, or high fat foods

After most types of weight loss surgeries, greasy foods cannot be digested very well by the body. As a result, greasy foods can cause serious stomach upset. These types of foods may result in “dumping” which results in nausea and vomiting, so it’s best to continue to avoid them. Also foods like chips or crackers, while also high in fat, tend to slide into the pouch but really don’t provide any nutritional benefits.

Spicy food

Spicy foods are notable for causing stomach upset in people who haven’t undergone surgery; however, it’s common for people to develop a sensitivity to spicy foods after weight loss surgery. The mechanism is not well known, but it may have to do with how the body processes capsaicin, which is the chemical that makes foods spicy.

Sugar and sugar alcohols

Sugar alcohols are a common addition to sugar free foods. Although sugar free foods have fewer calories, certain ones should be avoided. The ones that should be avoided have something called sugar alcohols, which are sweeteners that cannot be digested by the body. Therefore, they have no caloric content that can be absorbed by the body. These include erythritol, glycerol, mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol. Generally, if it ends in ‘-ol’, it’s probably not good.
Foods that are high in sugar such as candy, cakes, pies, etc. may also result in “dumping” which results in nausea and vomiting.

What Foods Are Allowed After Weight Loss Surgery?

Phase 1: Clear Liquids (0-1 days post-op)

This is the liquid fast that all patients start with. The reason patients have to do this fast is due to the stomach not being able to deal with regular foods for a few days after surgery..

Allowed foods: water, decaf tea, decaf coffee, thin broth, and approved electrolyte beverages.

Phase 2: Full Liquids (weeks 1-3 post op)

This diet consists of mostly protein drinks, low fat, low sugar yogurts, and non-carbonated non-alcoholic beverages can also be added. You may also add protein powders to boot your protein totals.

Phase 3 Pureed Foods (weeks 3-6)

Foods that can be blended into a smooth, non-chunky puree can now be consumed. Juices, lactose free milk, protein shakes, meal replacement shakes, and non-carbonated non-alcoholic beverages can also be added.

This diet will be very low in protein. As a result, your doctor will require that you consume liquid protein supplements in order to meet your protein goals.

Read more: Snack Time: The Best Protein For Bariatric Patients

Phase 4: Soft Foods (Week 7-8)

Foods like scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, ground meats, and other soft foods are reintroduced into the diet. These foods do not require much digestion, allowing them to be safely added back to the diet.

Patients are advised to continue consuming the protein supplements at this stage.

Phase 5: Week 9

Foods that can be introduced at this stage, such as lean meats and certain vegetables. Eventually, patients will be able to eat most whole foods without any complications.Patients are advised to continue consuming the protein supplements at this stage if not meeting their protein goals.

However, some foods should continue to be avoided. Foods high in fat, spicy foods, sugar and alcoholic or caffeinated beverages can cause digestive complications.

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