Avoiding poor dietary choices
After having weight loss surgery it is usual for patients to discover they are less able to digest and appreciate certain foods. However, this isn't the case for all patients, as experiences are unique to individuals. Foods which are high in fat or sugar should be avoided after surgery, which can prevent weight-loss and reaching weight loss goals. Making poor dietary choices also carries risks of stretching your stomach pouch, sleeve or stoma, depending on your procedure.
Choosing a healthier diet
Foods such as white bread and pasta are high in refined carbohydrates which is turned into sugar in the process of digestion. For a healthier alternative, swap refined carbohydrates for protein-added alternatives like multi-seed crisp bread and wholemeal options. Foods which are high in saturated fats should also be swapped for foods that contain unsaturated fats, such as nuts, avocado and peanut butter.
High-calorie drinks, carbonated soft drinks (full-sugar and diet options) and fruit juices can be swapped for coconut water, flavoured water and water enriched with protein.
Drinking alcohol after surgery can have adverse effects in multiple ways. Alcohol can induce food cravings and binges; it is high in calories and can cause the malabsorption of nutrients, leading to further complications. People who have had weight loss surgery to correct an eating disorder, such as a food addiction, must be extra mindful not to replace the food addiction with an addiction to alcohol.
Foods to avoid indefinitely:
- Ice cream
- Fried foods (including crisps)
Patients with a gastric band fitted can experience food getting lodged in the band, or the band causing some obstruction to the digestion of certain foods. During the recovery period, if you experience problems with digesting certain foods it is always safe to revert back to soft and pureed foods, until your digestive system is stronger.
A word of caution: Chew well!
Some food that is high in fibre can cause discomfort. In this case, try chewing your food very well before swallowing to ensure that it is broken down properly. The same goes for nuts, seeds and anything hard, grainy or sharp. These foods must be broken down sufficiently before being swallowed. Breads and pastries can also cause some discomfort if not broken down correctly.
Dumping syndrome can affect all weight loss surgery patients. However, patients who have had the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass and the Mini Gastric Bypass are more susceptible to dumping syndrome. To avoid dumping syndrome, or lessen the frequency, you should avoid foods which are high in sugar. Foods which are high in natural sugars such as freshly squeezed fruit juice and fresh fruit are recommended but only when they are limited to small portions.
Please seek and follow the specific guidelines from your bariatric team. Guidelines vary for individual patient needs and surgeries.