Diet After Surgery
The formulation of a new diet is necessary to achieve the full effects, and overall safety, of losing weight after bariatric surgery. Obesity surgery literally changes the way your body ingests food and as a result, your dietary habits must also change. Since your food intake will be limited after surgery, more nutritious foods and smaller portions will need to be eaten.
Our dietary plans typically include high-protein foods with limited carbohydrates and fats. Lots of water and non-carbonated, low-calorie beverages are also recommended. We also generally recommend that you take a multi vitamin supplement after surgery, and we ask that you avoid alcohol and smoking as these substances can hinder your progress. You will meet with a dietitian who will customize the proper the proper diet for your specific needs.
The procedure will have a major impact on your life and can help you lead a healthier lifestyle with less risk of obesity-related secondary diseases. However, you will have to change your eating habits as well. Although the gastric band will help you to induce sustainable weight loss it is not a self-acting slimming device and your postoperative dietary and behavioural compliance is of essential importance for successful weight loss as well as in avoiding complications.
We also generally recommend that you take a multi vitamin supplement after surgery, and we ask that you avoid alcohol and smoking as these substances can hinder your progress. You will meet with a dietitian who will customize the proper the proper diet for your specific needs.
Each individual surgeon will have specific diet requirements for their patients, but the following are general recommended guidelines after you have had surgery. It is highly recommended to consult your surgeon and dietitian on your personal diet requirements.
Weeks 1 & 2: Fluid Diet Plan
- Day 1-3 after surgery: CLEAR FLUIDS.
- Drink small amounts (about 50 ml) slowly in small sips.
- Wait in between the sips for a minute or two.
- Have a drink (about 50 ml) at least every 20-30 minutes.
- Suitable clear fluids include:
- water, still not sparkling,
- black tea or coffee (decafe),
- cordial (preferable diet cordial),
- strained fruit and vegetable juices,
- stock or clear soup,
- clear high protein nutritional supplement drinks, as suggested by your surgeon or dietitian.
- AIM for a total of 1.5 to 2.0 litres of total fluids a day.
Day 3 to Day 14: FULL FLUIDS (Nourishing Fluids: NF)
- Continue to drink slowly in small sips.
- Wait in between the sips for a minute or two.
- Gradually increase the volume of drinks from 50 ml to 120 ml over the first week.
- Then increase as tolerated to no more than 250 ml per drink.
- Choose liquids that are thin enough to pass through a standard sipping straw.
- Suitable fluids include:
- all fluids on the clear fluid list (above),
- milk, liquid yoghurt, thin milk shakes, and
- thin smoothies thin, strained soups (these do not need to be clear),
- milky high protein, nutritional supplement drinks as suggested by your surgeon or dietitian.
- AIM for 500-1000ml of NF each day.
- AIM for 1.5 – 2.0 litres of water or diet cordial a day.
Week 3: Pureed Diet Plan
The following is a guide only. It is important to follow the recommendations given to you by your surgeon or dietitian. Introduce puree/mushy consistency foods – much like baby's first foods.
- Use a blender to achieve a smooth consistency.
- Your portion size should start at about ½ a cup.
- This may increase over the next three weeks, but should not exceed 1 cup (250ml).
- Include at least 3 regularly spaced meals i.e.; breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- If you are getting hungry add a small snack between meals, choose thicker blends
Yoghurt (no lumps) – low fat preferred.
- Reduced fat ricotta or cottage cheese.
- Reduced fat/ reduced sugar mousses, dairy desserts, custards and ice-cream.
- Fruit puree – fresh or canned.
Mushy breakfast cereals, Porridge.
- Mashed potato, Mashed baked beans, Pureed vegetables.
- Blended casseroles containing meat, chicken, fish, lentils, legumes, vegetables and rice/pasta.
- Very soft white fish may be mashed with a fork, mixed with a white sauce rather than pureed.
- Try include a source of protein (blended meat, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes or lentils), with each meal.
- Eat slowly, using small spoonfuls and practice your chewing.
- Concentrate on your meal.
- Do not do anything else while eating
NOTES for Week 4
If you are experience hunger, you may be ready to increase the consistency of your food at week 4 post surgery.
Try introducing the following:
- A small piece of soft, white fish wish sauce, e.g. white sauce.
- A scrambled or poached egg.
- Soft cooked vegetables, fork mashed.
- Minced meat or minced chicken in gravy or sauce.
- It is important to separate fluids from foods.
- Drink water 5-10 minutes before you are due to eat, avoid drinking with food and wait 30-40 minutes after eating, before drinking again.
- Drinking fluids with foods may 'flush' the food through your band before your brain is able to register that you are satisfied.
- Continue to drink adequate fluids between your meals (about 2 litres per day).
- Stick to 250 ml as the maximum volume of fluid taken at once.
Week 5 onwards
Introduction of Solids.
The timing of the introduction to solid foods will vary between surgeons. Most commonly this occurs at week 4 or 5 post surgery. Ensure you follow the recommendations given to you by your surgeon or dietitian.
Starting solids is a return to healthy 'normal' consistency foods, much the same as you would have had prior to surgery. However, the amount you will be able to eat will be much smaller.
- Use a small plate (entre sized) to ensure your meals are appropriately sized.
- Eat slowly, taking small mouthfuls.
- Cut food up small and chew your food well - much longer than you have been used to prior to the operation.
- Enjoy what you are eating and concentrate on your meal.
- Do not do anything else while eating.
- Be aware of your eating habits.
- Stop eating immediately when you feel satisfied, even if it means leaving some food on your plate.
- Avoid "grazing" - it is better to stick to regular meal times.
- Include one or two snacks to avoid getting overly hungry.
- This can cause you to eat too fast and not chew your food enough.
- Suitable food choices cover the main food groups.
- Vegetables – start with soft cooked, and progress to firmer options, including salads. Some stringy, fibrous vegetables may need to be eaten with caution e.g. raw carrot, asparagus, leaf spinach, cauliflower and broccoli, stalks, stringy green beans, leeks and cabbage. Chew well.
- Fruit – start with peeled fruit, cut into small pieces. Progress to fruit with the skin as tolerated. Chew well.
- Meat and alternatives - Choose tender, lean meat, chicken and fish – use sauce and gravies to moisten meal. Minced meat and poultry, tender casseroles and wet dishes as well as juicy cuts are better tolerated e.g. chicken thighs. Caution will need to be paid to stringy and dry meats such as steak and chicken breasts. Chew well. Eggs, legumes and lentils are usually well tolerated.
- Bread and cereal products - Doughy or fresh bread (especially white, tends to get stuck in the gastric band. Choose less doughy options such as crackers (low fat) and well toasted wholegrain breads or flat breads. Breakfast cereals, grains, rice and pasta dishes are usually well tolerated if moist.
- Dairy foods are generally well tolerated - Choose reduced fat options.
- Fats and oils –use sparingly to assist with weight loss.
Continue with the fluid recommendations given in the above section.
- Make sure you drink enough (at least 2-3 litres per day) of low-calorie or calorie-free liquids.
- Drink before and between meals rather than during a meal.
- Please have on your mind that liquids pass freely and very quickly through the narrow area created by the band on your stomach.
- It is easy to take more calories than intended by this.
- High-calorie drinks (sugar sweetened, alcohol etc.) as well as ice creams may prevent weight loss or even make you gain weight, so try to avoid them.
- If feelings of faint and dizziness occur it is often due to insufficient fluid intake.
- Keep your fluids up.
- Inadequate fluid intake may lead to constipation.