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What Should I Eat After Bariatric Surgery?

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If you have had bariatric (weight loss) surgery it means that you want to improve your health. Being well nourished in process of weight loss surgery recovery is crucial to achieving the best outcome for the long term. After bariatric surgery you can expect the way you eat and drink to be different. Your stomach will be smaller, and as a result, the amount that you eat. Of course, this will vary depending on the specific surgery you have had. A good post-op diet will include the best foods to nourish you while aiding your weight loss progress.

What does a good post-op diet achieve?
Aids in the stomach healing process (and small intestine – Gastric bypass)
Avoids complications after the surgery
Provides nutrients and easy to digest foods
Optimizes the nutritional value of the small meals
Aids healthy weight loss
The stages:
After the surgery your nutritionist or doctor will provide you with detailed information about the different stages of the post op diet. Here is an example:

Clear liquids: The first week you will be encouraged to drink clear liquids (“see thru”), low sugar, non-carbonated and caffeine free. The purpose of this stage is mainly to help you to stay hydrated and start the healing process.

Full liquids: After the second week you can start with full liquids like protein shakes (always high protein and low sugar) blended and strained soups. The main purpose of this stage is staying hydrated and observing the tolerance of the protein.

Puree foods: From the third to fourth week you can experiment with new food with pureed consistency such as creamy soups with protein, low sugar yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. If you are not able to tolerate pureed foods then focus on your protein shakes (at least two a day), liquids plus other small meals.

Soft foods: Continue drinking the protein shakes and add some soft foods like well-cooked veggies, small cuts of white meat and well-cooked legumes. The size of your meals on this stage should be between ½ – ¾ cup.

Normal diet: Start introducing new foods, always focusing on a low sugar and high protein choices. Over the time you will be able to tolerate most foods, although red meat, crispy foods and starches might be difficult to tolerate. Carbonated drinks and alcohol are not recommended during the first 6 months, and these are also linked to regaining weight. Protein shakes can be discontinued when you can meet the daily protein goal (60-80g women and 80-100g men) with food.

Helpful tips:

ALWAYS protein first! Protein is needed for the healing process and preventing muscle wasting and malnutrition.
Stay well hydrated; this is really important for your skin retraction and also for preventing kidney stones.
Drink and eat slowly
Take your time to have 3 meals and two high protein snacks plus plenty of liquids.
Take at least 20-30 minutes for your meals.
Chew your food completely
Watch your protein intake carefully
Listen to your body; stop at the first sign of fullness to avoid stretching your stomach.
Exercise daily
Take your supplements as prescribed
Practice MINDFUL EATING

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