In 2017, 228,000 bariatric procedures were performed in the U.S. This number is only about 1% of the population that is eligible for the surgery based on medical guidelines.
While weight loss surgery is effective, you still need to follow a post gastric bypass diet. Read on to learn the 7 things you need to include in your post gastric bypass surgery diet so that you can optimize your weight loss.
7 Things to Include in Your Post Gastric Bypass Diet
Your surgeon will perform tests before and after your surgery to identify your specific needs. However, in general, to optimize your weight loss you need to do the following things.
1. Drink Plenty of Fluids
Hydration is very important after surgery. It helps to flush out the extra weight and promote an active metabolism.
After the surgery, you should avoid alcohol because it absorbs into your bloodstream much faster after surgery. It will be much harder to identify, how much alcohol is too much after surgery.
Your goal should be to drink 64 oz, or 8 cups of water a day. This includes drinking/sipping 1 cup of fluid between each meal. If this number seems large, know you will be able to build up to it slowly after surgery.
Water is the ideal fluid. At a minimum, all of your fluids should be low-calorie or no-calorie and caffeine-free.
2. Eat the Right Amount of Lean Protein
All weight loss is associated with a corresponding loss of lean muscle mass. Lean muscle is metabolically active so you want to retain/build as much lean muscle as possible.
The goal is approximately 65-75 grams of protein a day. High-quality protein comes in eggs, meat, fish, and chicken. You will also find protein in soy milk, tofu, yogurt, and other milk products.
Be sure to discuss your food preferences with your medical team, before surgery. You can get ample protein on a vegetarian or vegan diet but it is much harder.
3. Take a Multivitamin
Because you have significantly changed your anatomy with weight loss surgery you have also changed the way your body absorbs both calories and vitamins and minerals. As a result, you will need to be on a supplement regiment for the rest of your life to prevent serious nutrient deficiencies.
Pills may need to be crushed or cut into smaller pieces to pass through your new anatomy. Talk to your physician or nutritionist before you cut up any pills as some types of pills should not be cut up.
A high-potency daily chewable multivitamin and mineral supplement will be your first line of defense against nutritional deficiencies. It should contain the following minimums:
- 18 mg of iron,
- 400 mcg of folic acid,
- copper and
Typically, you will take two tablets daily for at least three months. After that, you can switch to one tablet daily. Again your physician or nutritionist will give you a specific plan to follow.
There are other vitamins and minerals you will need to take, below is a list of these nutritionist recommended vitamins.
4. Calcium Supplement
To prevent calcium deficiency and bone disease take a 500 to 600 mg supplement taken three times a day. This should total between 1,2000 and 2,000 mg a day. Your body will absorb calcium citrate the best.
5. Vitamin D Supplement
While we typically absorb vitamin D through our skin, you will need to take it in supplement form after surgery to ensure you are getting enough.
Divide your doses into 400 to 500 IUs twice a day totaling 800 to 1,000IUs daily. Ideally, you should take your vitamin D with your calcium as they are best absorbed together.
A combination of calcium-vitamin D supplements may be a better option if you struggle to take the required number of pills daily. Keep in mind, the combined pill will need to have the right amount of both vitamins.
If you have questions, talk to your health care team.
6. Vitamin B12 Supplement
Vitamin B12 is broken down in the stomach, then absorbed in the intestines so it is important to supplement this vitamin after surgery. You can take Vitamin B12 as a pill of 500 mcg or sublingually/placed under the tongue.
7. Iron Supplement
Iron is absorbed in the duodenum, which was removed by your surgery, so iron supplementation is important to prevent anemia.
Your doctor will monitor your iron level as too little (anemia) and too much can both cause health issues.
Other Things to Consider
Portion control and well-spaced meals will help you to keep your calories under control. Even though you will now eat less of each food, you still need to follow a low fat, low-calorie diet.
Your goal should be to get in the right amount of protein daily and avoid sweets and sugary drinks.
Because your anatomy has changed, chew your food thoroughly. Eating slowly will help you to minimize the chance of overeating. You should also portion out your foot to prevent overeating.
Do not use straws or chew ice, it can introduce air into your pouch and create a significant amount of discomfort.
For the first 2 months, you will consume about 300-600 calories a day. You should never eat more than 1,000 calories a day.
Bariatric surgery can change your life for the better. While there may seem to be many things to consider, with proper planning, you can eat a well-balanced diet to promote weight loss and proper nutrient consumption.
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