(The following article was provided by Dr Hani)
Diet after gastric bypass needs to be modified to accommodate changes in stomach capacity, to allow proper wound healing, and to prevent complications after surgery. The capacity of the stomach after gastric bypass surgery usually gets down to half a cup in comparison to 6 cups before surgery.
Patients after surgery need to take mineral and vitamin supplements for the rest of their lives to avoid mineral/vitamin deficiency. Similarly protein is an essential part of diet after gastric bypass surgery and your healthcare provider/nutritionist will calculate the individualized daily protein requirements for you.
After gastric bypass, fats are usually difficult to digest and patients are advised to avoid snacks and fast foods high in saturated fats. Avoiding high-fat diet also helps in your weight control. Only small amount of fat is usually recommended for patients after surgery.
After gastric bypass surgery, the normal processing of sugar and/or fats become compromised. Therefore, patients are advised to avoid concentrated sweets and take low-sugar diets. Sudden onset of diarrhea has been reported in patients after consumption of concentrated sweet or fatty foods. These patients may also have symptoms of nausea, flushing, lightheadedness, and stomach pain.
Soon after surgery, the patients are allowed to take small amount of clear liquids and monitored for any untoward symptoms after fluid intake. Patients are advised to take small fluid sips and if the patient starts tolerating it well, semi-liquid diet is started. After about 2-4 weeks, your healthcare professional will evaluate your diet and health and if all is well, you will be switched to soft diet. Patients are advised to strictly follow the dietary plan and don’t eat more than recommended and shouldn’t change the diet at their own.
Solid foods are usually started about 4-6 weeks after the surgery. Patients are advised to take a very small amount of food they wish to start and evaluate their level of tolerance to that food. Diet high in fiber like popcorn, bran, dried beans, and raw vegetables are also restricted due to less space available in the stomach to hold and process these bulking foods. Patients are advised not to take any fiber pill or laxative without prior consulting with their healthcare professional.
Adequate fluid intake is important after gastric bypass surgery and the patient should take at least 4-6 cups of liquids between meals. Liquids should be taken well before or after the meal. Eating too fast, drinking while eating, eating more than space in the stomach, and inadequate chewing may result in nausea and vomiting especially in the first month after surgery.
Some patients complain about the food intolerance especially to milk, red meat, and high-fiber foods. If you feel any untoward symptom after starting a new food, immediately consult your healthcare professional.
To achieve optimum weight loss and to maintain it over longer period of time, patients are advised to strictly follow the dietary recommendations. High calorie and high-fat foods shouldn’t be added to daily diet as these foods will compromise your weight loss efforts.