One of the most important aspects of your recovery from weight loss surgery is your diet. What you eat and how much of it you eat will also factor into how much weight you will lose after surgery. No matter your reason for having bariatric surgery – extreme weight loss, improved quality of life, treating diseases related to obesity like type 2 diabetes, or feeling better overall – having a menu for your weight loss surgery diet is paramount to achieving your goals.
Why Do I Need a Weight Loss Surgery Diet Menu?
Weight loss surgery helps people lose up to 60% to 80% of their weight and is a lasting solution to keeping that weight off. It does so by limiting the amount of food you can consume, making you feel full quickly, increasing the amount of energy you expend, and changing the hormones in your gut. By adhering to a bariatric surgery diet menu, you will maintain your weight loss and defend against complications from the surgery. Eating the wrong kinds of food or overeating can result in complications and unpleasant symptoms that occur as a result of the stomach stretching. Some of these problems include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dumping syndrome
- Stomach pain
- Acid Reflux (GERD)
Essential Nutrients for Your Bariatric Surgery Diet Menu
The most critical nutrient to your body both before and after weight loss surgery is protein. Your protein daily intake should be at least 65 grams. The best types of protein include lean meat, dairy products and canned tuna. Once you can start eating solid foods, the best way to get your protein is in food instead of meal supplements and protein shakes.
You will have difficulty absorbing some essential nutrients after surgery. You will need to take certain supplements for the rest of your life. These include:
- A multivitamin with iron
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
If you do not eat those foods that are packed in nutritional content and do not take the required supplements, you will be at an increased risk for deficiencies in nutrients.
Bariatric Surgery Pre-Op Diet Menu
Maintaining a liquid diet before your weight loss surgery is vital because it shrinks your liver, jumpstarts your weight loss and prepares you for following a liquid diet after surgery. Shrinking your liver is very important because it aids your surgeon in visualizing your organs better and reduces post-surgical complications. Most weight loss surgeons require a liquid diet 7 to 14 days before your surgery. Permitted liquids are vegetable juices, sugar-free beverages, meal replacement shakes or protein shakes.
Weight Loss Surgery Post-Op Diet Menu
The amount of recovery time post-surgery will determine your diet menu. Immediately post-op, you will be limited to fluids. A standard bariatric surgery post-op diet menu resembles the following:
- 1-Week Post Op: Only clear liquids (Broth, sugar-free jell-o, fat-free milk, water)
- 2- and 3-Weeks Post Op: Pureed foods and protein shakes (Cottage cheese, soft cheeses, egg whites)
- 4- and 5-Weeks Post Op: Soft foods with the importance on lean proteins (Cucumbers, bananas, avocados, steamed carrots, fish, chicken, lean turkey)
- 6-Weeks Post Op and Beyond: Solid foods
Staying hydrated during the post-op period is essential, with most people requiring at least 64 fluid ounces of water each day. Avoid drinking while you are eating so that you do not stretch your stomach.
Meal planning is extremely beneficial, especially once you can consume solid foods. Following a weight loss surgery diet menu will make sure that you avoid unhealthy food while getting all of your essential nutrients. Keep these daily servings in mind while planning your menu:
- 3 servings of meat or a high-protein meat alternative
- 3 servings of starch (Avoid rice or bread)
- 3 servings of milk or other dairy products
- 2 servings of vegetables (These are best well-cooked in your first months post-surgery)
- 1 serving of fruit (Avoid dried fruits and skins for several months post-surgery)