The postoperative bariatric diet is extremely important for two reasons. First, a proper diet allows your body to heal after this significant surgical trauma. Gastric sleeve patients will have part of their stomach cut away, while gastric bypass patients will also have alterations to their small intestine. Both require easing into a normal diet. For the first 3-to-4 days after surgery, the diet will consist of clear liquids including water, decaf coffee, broths, diluted fruit juices and other hydrating liquids.
From there, a modified liquid diet and pureed diet will ensue. This will include strained soups, soft proteins, certain grains and more. This typically consists of anything you can break apart with a plastic fork. Fish, well stewed chicken or pork, soft vegetables, eggs and more. You do not want to eat anything crunchy or anything that is overly chewy, such as red meat.
At about six weeks, you will go back to a “normal” diet where you can consume most foods. But what exactly is a normal diet? It is certainly not what you were eating prior to surgery. A normal diet will not consist of any high-fat, high-sugar, or high-sodium foods. In the end, your long-term diet will be very similar to what our parents or grandparents ate several decades ago, when obesity was not a societal concern.
Maintaining your long-term diet is as much about measuring and choosing your foods as it is a mindset. If you believe that you are depriving yourself of the foods you love, and you consistently fight your new diet, it will be that much harder to lose weight. Instead, think of this new diet as what you should have been eating all along. You certainly can indulge (very) occasionally and in moderation to fill any cravings that you may have.
During the entire post-bariatric diet process progression, you must stay hydrated. This will be a theme for the rest of your life. Water is always best, but you can occasionally indulge in a low-calorie, low-sugar beverage to get your fill of electrolytes and quench your thirst. You should not drink carbonated beverages, as they will create discomfort in your smaller stomach pouch. Within the first six months after surgery you should also avoid alcohol, as it is a stomach irritant. Caffeine can also irritate your stomach pouch and should be avoided. Drinking some decaffeinated coffee should not be a problem if you enjoy it in the mornings.
Hydration is one of the keys to success after bariatric surgery, so please click through to the next page to learn more about how to hydrate properly.