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This information is designed for patients who have undergone bariatric surgery such as a gastric band insertion, a gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy. There is a separate booklet given out for those needing a gastric balloon.

 

After any bariatric surgery, you will be asked to follow a special diet in order to reduce the possibility of complications. Although it may be tempting to rush or skip stages, food is slowly re-introduced to reduce discomfort, the risk of vomiting but also to give your body time to heal. In the case of a gastric band, it is time to allow the band time to settle into position.

 

There are 4 stages to the food re-introduction. Except for the last stage, keep to each stage for 2 weeks.

The stages are:

  1. Fluids only
  2. Pureed foods
  3. Soft/Mashable foods
  4. Normal healthy eating

 

Nutrition is very important once you have had bariatric surgery. You need to ensure your diet contains sufficient nutrients, vitamins and minerals to live healthily and lose weight in a healthy manner.

 

The consequences of having a poor diet vary. In the short term poor nutrition may lead to dry or cracked skin or nails or hair loss. In the long term a poor diet may increase your risk of developing:

  • Anaemia
  • Osteoporosis affecting bone health
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Weight regain

 

A balanced diet will also ensure that the weight you lose is mainly fat. Many people, after surgery eat insufficient protein which results in them losing muscle mass instead of fat. Muscle helps you lose weight by boosting your metabolism as it uses up more energy than fat. (Metabolism is the way the body turns food into energy). It is therefore important during the first few weeks that you eat enough protein to reduce muscle loss.

 

As with any new food plan, there are a few guidelines:

  • Chew foods very thoroughly
  • Aim to chew each mouthful until food is a paste like consistency
  • Slow down your speed of eating
  • Expect to take 30 – 45minutes to eat a meal
  • Stop eating or drinking as soon as you feel full
  • Choose foods of a high nutritional quality i.e. it contains vitamins and minerals as well as providing energy
  • Eat small portions
  • Do not eat and drink at the same time
  • Continue to sip fluids through the day as you will no longer have the capacity to drink very fast or very much in one go
  • Ensure you stick to a regular meal pattern, do not skip meals