One question I see all the time, forum after forum, group after group is the question, “What can I eat after bariatric surgery?”

And, boy, do I wish that was a simple answer.

Sadly, the answer is FAR from simple.

You see, the answer will vary with doctors, nutritionists, and even from surgery to surgery.
What people with the VSG can eat, someone with the RnY or the Gastric Band might not be able to eat. One doctor in California might prescribe a low-carb eating plan while one in Maryland might encourage whole grains. It really is varied on what one “can” eat after bariatric surgery.

So … my first response to that statement is ALWAYS – check with your doctor and/or nutritionists plan for you.

IF your doctor did not give you an eating plan … well then it might be worth your time to look into another doctor for follow-up if it’s possible (a doctor should ALWAYS give you an eating plan!!).

That being said, there are a few things across the board for post-WLS patients – at least, for the first year or so.

 

  1. HIGH PROTEIN Protein count – especially in the early stages – is imperative. Your doctor will give you his/her exact recommendations, but the general consensus is between 60-90 grams of protein. That seems like a lot (and it IS), but it’s very important. Your body will use that protein for healing your new tummy, and the high protein count will help get your weight loss off to the right start. Some ways to make sure you’re getting in your protein – protein shakes (we love Syntrax Nectar whey, Unjury whey, and Jay Robb egg white), protein shots (these are pretty disgusting, but when you have a dire need for extra protein, they work in a pinch), adding protein to coffee (try chocolate), soups (unflavored or Unjury chicken broth flavored), and smoothies.
  2. LOTS OF CALCIUM Calcium is another very important nutrient our bodies need. For the first few weeks and beyond! When your body reaches a calcium deficiency, it starts to take calcium from your bones (NOT GOOD!). This can cause all kinds of issues from bone density problems to osteoarthritis. (check out this article from Bariatric Advantage for more information on this). Besides taking a calcium supplement, which can lead to digestive issues (constipation) you can get good calcium amounts through food. Including foods such as skim milk, spinach, broccoli, cheese, yogurt, and canned salmon or sardines (bone-in). Another good way to get calcium is with a good bone broth. You can drink as much of it as you like, it will be approved on all phases from clear liquids to full solids, and it will also help with other vitamin deficiencies. There are many good recipes on the internet for this, but this one is my favorite. (Note that Leanne doesn’t mention using the slow cooker, but you can definitely use yours for this).
  3. SUGAR FREE … EVERYTHING Although there are a FEW exceptions, most bariatric doctors suggest that we go completely sugar free. We use Splenda and Stevia for the majority of our recipes that call for sweeteners. If you are completely opposed to any artificial sweeteners, go with the stevia (it’s 100% plant-based and you can find it organic and GMO-free). We do suggest that people completely avoid saccharine and aspartame as these two sweeteners have been linked to all kinds of health issues including diabetes, autoimmune disorders, depression, and even cancer. Please keep in mind, however, that just because something is labeled as “No Sugar Added” or “Reduced Sugar” it doesn’t make it sugar free. Be sure to READ LABELS!!
  4. WATER!! While most doctors will OK things like tea and sugar free drinks (i.e. Crystal Light), it’s important to try to get in at least 8 cups of PURE WATER. First of all, water will hydrate you better than any other liquid. And certain drinks can actually promote dehydration (especially those loaded with aspartame and/or caffeine). For those that say you hate water, the reason you hate water is because you’ve only ever drank flavored liquids. Sometimes, we have to do something we hate for our bodies. For something like this, sometimes you gotta “Suck it up, Buttercup” (as my friend Sarah tells me) and just do it – one sip at a time.

PLEASE remember that we are not doctors and we are not nutritionists.
If your doctor did not give you anything on what you should or should not be eating, here are some great resources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/bariatric-surgery/in-depth/gastric-bypass-diet/art-20048472
http://bariatrics.ucla.edu/workfiles/UCLA-Bariatric-postoperative-diet-instructions.pdf
http://www.upmc.com/Services/bariatrics/approach/post-surgery/diet/Pages/default.aspx
https://www.youtube.com/user/DrMatthewWeiner
https://www.bariatricpal.com