Maintenance (Long-Term) Diet
No matter what bariatric procedure you undergo, you will need to commit to a lifestyle change that includes improved diet. Depending on the procedure and your particular situation, you may require additional vitamin and mineral supplementation to ensure you do not develop long-term nutritional deficiencies. Post-surgery dietary guidelines will be tailored to your situation. This diet can vary between patient – even within our practice – based on your medical history and what your surgeon thinks is best for you. As such, you may hear of other patients who have a different diet to follow. It is important to remember that every bariatric surgical procedure is different and the dietary guidelines are based on the individual.
What is most important is that you adhere to your surgeon’s recommendations. Here are some of the generally accepted dietary guidelines that a weight loss surgery patient may encounter:
- How you eat will make a difference. A few weeks after surgery, you will be able to consume solid foods. At this point, it is imperative that you chew thoroughly. Any steak or meat chunks must be ground or chewed thoroughly to avoid problems.
- Avoid drinking fluids 45 minutes before and after eating. The added volume can cause satiety before you have consumed a sufficient amount of nutrition, therefore increasing the chances of nutritional problems. Further, gastric bypass patients may experience dumping syndrome, an uncomfortable condition involving the rapid emptying of stomach contents into the intestine.
- Sugary desserts are a no-no. If the dessert lists sugar as one of the first 3 ingredients, it’s best to avoid it.
- We want you to stay hydrated, but drink the right drinks. Carbonated drinks, many liquid nutritional supplements, milk shakes, high-fat foods and foods with high fiber content should all be avoided.
- Try not to drink alcohol. Alcohol provides no nutrition and plenty of empty calories. Further, gastric bypass patients may become inebriated sooner than they expect.
- Snacking and grazing can add hundreds of calories to your daily diet – avoid it.
- Smoking can cause gastric pouch issues – even chewing tobacco is not recommended.
- Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs or NSAIDs such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Naproxen (Aleve), etc. can injure the stomach pouch.
Try not to consider your long-term eating changes as a “diet” per se. Rather, you are now consuming food in moderation and eliminating foods that provide neither nutrition nor satiety. What you will find is that your long-term diet is sustainable and does allow for some creativity in tastes and flavors. Many bariatric patients find their stride within a couple months after surgery. They learn how to cook, order in a restaurant and motivate themselves in a healthy and sustainable manner.