Bariatric Meal Plan | Gastric Bypass Diet Plan: What to Eat Before and After Surgery

Bariatric surgeries are surgical weight loss surgery that involves incisions. These surgeries cause changes to the anatomy of your gastrointestinal tract and can cause different physiologic changes in your body that change your energy balance and fat metabolism.

An example of bariatric surgery is Gastric Bypass. To be eligible for a gastric bypass, you need to have a body mass index (BMI) of over 40. If your BMI is between 35-40 and your health is at risk due to your weight, you may also be eligible for a gastric bypass.

If you are eligible for a gastric bypass, it is very important that you learn about your diet before and after the surgery. The type of diets you eat can affect the success of the procedure and the recovery rate either positively or negatively.

You need to visit your doctor and make plans for the special diets that you will be eating before and after the surgery. The diets before the surgery are aimed at reducing the amount of fats in and around your liver and to also allow for a safe surgical procedure. The diet after the surgery is aimed at increasing your recovery rate, reduce the risk of complications, lose more weight, and maintain healthy eating habits.Bariatric Meal Plan | Gastric Bypass Diet Plan: What to Eat Before and After Surgery

What to eat before a bariatric surgery

Reducing the fats in and around your liver and also losing weight before the surgery can help keep you safer during the procedure and also help maintain healthy eating habits.

As soon as you are cleared for the procedure, your eating plan may commence. It is best to start the diet plan as soon as possible because if sufficient and safe weight loss is not achieved, you may not be allowed to undergo the procedure until a safe and sufficient weight loss is achieved. The amount of weight you will need to lose before the surgery is determined by your surgeon and this depends on your weight, overall health, and the procedure. Some patients may be required to lose about 15-20 pounds while others may be required to lose 10% of their total weight before undergoing the surgery.

Before the surgery, your diets will largely consist of protein shakes and other high-protein, low-calorie foods that digest easily.

Eating protein helps boost and protect muscle tissue. It helps your body to burn fat instead of muscle for fuel. Protein also helps to keep your body and muscles strong. This helps to speed up your recovery rate.

When it is getting closer to the date of your surgery, you may need to take mostly liquid or liquid-only diet. You shouldn’t take any solid diets that take a long time to digest. However, your doctor may allow you to take certain semi-solid diets based on your weight and overall health. These diets include soft boiled eggs, soft fish, or soft hot cereal.

Within two days before the surgery, you may only need to drink carbohydrate-rich fluids.

Guidelines for preop diets

These guidelines should be followed typically between 2-6 weeks before your surgery. The guidelines for preop diets include:

  • Avoid or decrease eating saturated fats, such as whole milk products, fatty meat, and fried food.
  • Avoid or decrease eating foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as sugary desserts, pasta, potatoes, bread, and flour products.
  • Avoid drinking high-sugar beverages, such as juice and sodas.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and recreational drugs
  • Avoid drinking beverages while you eat
  • Avoid smoking
  • Take multivitamins every day
  • Take protein supplements
  • Engage in controlled exercises

What to eat after the surgery

After the surgery, the diet plan goes through several stages from liquids through to solid diets. Your doctor or dietitian will determine how long each stage will last and also depending on the rate of your recovery.

Stage 1 (24-48 hours)

Within the first few hours and days after your surgery, you are only allowed to take a few ounces of clear liquids. The liquids should be at room temperatures. These liquids include skim milk, decaffeinated coffee and tea, unsweetened juice, sugar-free gelatin and popsicles, thin soup and broth. The liquids you drink help your stomach to heal without being stretched out or stressed by food. It also helps to prevent postoperative complications.

Stage 2 (3-7 days)

Within 3-7 days, you are allowed to take only liquid foods such as milk, soy drinks, and unsweetened yogurts. These liquid foods are easily digested and they don’t put a lot of stress on the digestive system.

Stage 3 (1-2 weeks)

Within 1-2 weeks after your surgery is when you start eating pureed foods. Pureed or mashed foods are soft and easily digestible. Examples of pureed or mashed foods include mashed fish, pureed fruits such as applesauce, bananas, pears, peaches, melons, pineapples. Pureed vegetables include tomatoes juice, spinach, green beans. Also, low-fat cottage cheese, skim milk with protein powder, scrambled eggs, thin cereals, such as oats or cream of rice. Avoid fruits with lots of seeds and with high fibers such as broccoli and cauliflower. Avoid fluids while you eat pureed foods.

Stage 4 (2 weeks-4 weeks)

Within 2 weeks to a month after the surgery, you can start eating soft foods that are easy to chew. These include soft-boiled eggs or scrambled eggs, cooked white fish, canned fruits, soft meatballs, and cooked vegetables.

Stage 5 (1 month-2 month)

Within 1 month to 2 months after the surgery, you can start eating solid foods such as fresh fruits, legumes, vegetables, bread, whole grains, proteins. Eat solid foods in smaller bits and do not take a large portion of food at a time. Discontinue any foods that cause vomiting, nausea, or abdominal discomfort. Avoid foods that are hard to digest.

Stage 6 (2 months and above)

After two months, you can resume eating regular balanced diets. Foods rich in protein, such as eggs, meat, soy products, lentils, and cheese. Eat fruits and vegetables. Consume foods that contain a lot of fibers instead of carbohydrates. Avoid eating too much and also avoid unhealthy foods that are high in fat, carbohydrates, and calories. Ensure you don’t eat foods that will make you gain weight and keep to a healthy eating lifestyle.

Guidelines for postop diets

Keep to these guidelines even after recovery. Maintain these guidelines for your daily diets and lifestyle.

Postop guidelines include:

  • Always eat and drink slowly
  • Eat only small portions or pieces of food at a time
  • Each day drink at least 1.5 litres of water
  • Chew foods thoroughly before swallowing
  • Engage in controlled exercises
  • Do not continue eating foods that your body can’t tolerate.
  • Eat foods that are high in protein
  • Avoid eating due to stress or boredom. Eat only when you’re feeling hungry
  • Stop eating immediately you feel full
  • Avoid eating high-fat and high-sugar foods
  • Drink enough water daily to avoid dehydration
  • Drink beverages between meals not during meals
  • Take vitamin supplements according to doctor’s recommendations

Foods to avoid

To maintain a healthy weight and prevent weight gain, there are certain foods you need to avoid. Also, to avoid the risk of complications after your surgery, there are certain foods to avoid. These include:

  • Hard and dry foods that are difficult to swallow and digest.
  • Foods that are very high in calories dense foods such as ice cream, cakes, chocolate, and milkshake
  • Carbonated drinks such as soda sugar sweeteners.
  • Foods with a high glycemic index such as bread, rice, and potatoes.
  • Foods that contribute to flatulence such as chewing gums and beans.

Bariatric Meal Plan | Gastric Bypass Diet Plan: What to Eat Before and After Surgery

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