One of the most common questions we are asked is whether fast food is OK after bariatric surgery. You may think that it is a simple yes or no, but the answer is nuanced. In this article we want to discuss the idea of eating fast food after bariatric surgery, including when you can and when you shouldn’t.
As you’ve probably guessed, as strange as it sounds, eating fast food after surgery may be OK. However, it does depend on a few variables and in very limited circumstances.
First, if the alternative means skipping a meal, you may wish to stop at a fast-food place for a quick bite. However, it is very important that you choose a restaurant, and ultimately a meal, that is high in protein, low in saturated fat and low in sugar. Admittedly, this is very difficult, but a newer generation of fast-food restaurants and some of the traditional fast-food restaurants have made it easier to choose something that will fill you up without piling on the calories
Let’s take the example of a burger joint. When you arrive, you may be faced with a whole lot of delicious looking options. For the most part, however, these will include burger patties that are high in saturated fat and fried chicken which offers a similar cholesterol bomb. This is all between a toasted buttered bun that can run in the hundreds of calories. However, you may find that there is a very suitable option in the form of grilled chicken. Opting for the grill versus the fryer saves hundreds of calories and most of the saturated fat. You can ask the restaurant to hold the butter and keep any sauces on the side as they are often loaded with the bad stuff as well. If you opt for a cup of water and leave the soda and fries behind, you’ve eaten a relatively healthful meal. While maybe not ideal for your post bariatric diet, you may have saved yourself hundreds of calories later by not missing a meal.
What About Vegetarian Options?
This is a great question! Vegetarian options including veggie meats have been touted as a healthful alternative. Unfortunately, their composition and preparation mean they may have just as much or even more saturated fat than their meat-based counterparts.
Ultimately, fast food may be an option when you’re in a pinch and you have no other option. However, for most, staying away from the fast food is a good idea and one that you will certainly not regret as the pounds continue to fall and your health improves dramatically.
Getting off fast food for even a month or two is transformative. You may find that the first time you eat a burger or a drink soda, it will take taste downright disgusting. This is because your taste buds will have started to normalize after years or even decades of being bombarded by processed foods and all the flavorings, sugar, and sodium they contain.