Having bariatric surgery can be a lifesaver for many people. Whether you choose a gastric sleeve procedure or one of the bypass options, your odds of losing weight and potentially overcoming some of the medical issues that you’re dealing with increase rapidly.
In addition, bariatric surgery drastically decreases the size of your stomach.Depending on which surgery you choose, it can even make it so that your digestive system processes fewer nutrients. However, both of these results mean you have to follow a specific diet that doesn’t include certain foods.
Wondering which foods should you avoid post-bariatric surgery? My Fit Foods has got you covered.
What Are the Best Post-Bariatric Surgery Meals?
After bariatric surgery, you should follow a primarily liquid diet for the first few months and gradually incorporate normal food a little at a time. Adding protein powder to your meals helps you get the nutrients you need while you prevent gastrointestinal distress from eating solid foods too soon.
Okay, but what happens when you’re ready for regular food? At that point, you still need to be careful and avoid eating foods with too many calories, too much sugar, too many carbs, and so on.
While there are some tasty prepackaged meal plans designed specifically for those who’ve had bariatric surgery, you can also put together your own meals — as long as you avoid certain ingredients.
What Foods Should I Avoid After Bariatric Surgery?
Once you’ve undergone bariatric surgery, you need to keep a close eye on your diet. Not only do you need to ensure that you’re getting the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) that you need to stay healthy, but at the same time, you don’t want to upset your digestive system and you want to lose weight.
As a result, you’ll need to avoid the following foods and drinks.
1. Sugar-Filled Beverages
Sugar, as well as many sugar substitutes, can upset your digestive system. Plus, they can cause weight gain, which is the exact opposite of your goals after bariatric surgery.
Do your best to avoid drinks that contain various forms of sugar, including high fructose corn syrup. This means that soda, as well as fruit juices (especially those made from concentrate) are off the table — literally.
2. Alcoholic, Carbonated, or Caffeinated Beverages
Since your digestive system is just still used to its new normal, both alcohol and caffeine can cause stomach pain and upset.
Plus, if you drink a caffeinated beverage that’s carbonated, you are introducing air into your newly operated on stomach. Trust us when we say that doesn’t feel good.
Plus, since your system is now absorbing things differently, you could end up with more alcohol or caffeine in your body than expected.
3. Fibrous Vegetables and Fruits
Iit’s always a good idea to include fruits and vegetables into your diet, as they contain plenty of vitamins and minerals. However, the experts say to avoid fibrous ones after bariatric surgery.
These vegetables, which include cauliflower, broccoli, corn, celery, bananas, pears, and apples, are harder to digest than their counterparts. Eating them could cause pain and indigestion.
4. Raw Fruits and Veggies
Speaking of foods that are hard to digest, raw fruits and vegetables are on the list. No matter the type of vegetable or fruit, it needs to be avoided after you’ve had a gastric sleeve or bypass procedure.
Instead, choose cooked vegetables that are easy to eat, like mashed potatoes. If you want fruit, blend some berries into a smoothie.
5. Whole Dairy Products
Some dairy products, like yogurt and cottage cheese, are okay to eat post-weight loss surgery. In fact, doctors recommend that you add them to your diet because they’re easy to digest and contain plenty of calcium along with other vitamins.
However, whole milk, cheeses, and even butter that contain plenty of fats, should be avoided because the fats in them can be hard to digest.
6. Sausage and Bacon
Both of these breakfast staples are tasty — but they’re also fatty, which is why you should probably avoid them. Sausage and bacon can cause gastrointestinal discomfort for bariatric surgery patients, along with other unpleasant side effects, because they aren’t so easy for these patients to digest.
7. Meats That Aren’t Ground
Yes, technically, sausage is a type of ground meat, but that doesn’t mean that it’s included in the category of foods that you can eat.
Ground meats, such as chicken and turkey, are easier to chew and digest, so they make great protein-filled additions to your diet. However, other types of meat, like steak, roast, and pork chops, are harder to chew, which makes them tougher to digest since they leave your digestive system to do most of the work.
8. Bread and Other Carbs
While whole carbs, like pasta and bread, are often included in healthy diet plans, they aren’t on the list at all for those who’ve had bariatric surgery.
Any type of bread, pasta, or rice should be avoided, particularly the ones that are made of highly processed white flour. This flour contains a lot of sugars, making it likely to upset your stomach.
Plus, eating too many refined carbs can lead to weight gain, making it harder to reach your weight loss goals.
9. Spicy Foods
Spicy foods may taste good, but they certainly won’t make you feel good after gastric bypass surgery. The ideal meal plan for people who’ve had this surgery is bland for a very good reason: their gastrointestinal system has been drastically changed. This leaves it unable to properly digest the spices in food.
Slipping up and eating a spoonful of that curry or salsa can lead to abdominal pain, cause you to spend quite some time in the bathroom, give you heartburn, or worse. It’s better to just avoid spicy foods altogether from here on out.
10) Greasy Foods
Some greasy foods, including sausage and bacon, are already on the list. Others, including anything that’s been fried, haven’t been specifically mentioned until now. But you knew this was coming, right?
Not only are these foods very fatty, but they’re also difficult to digest, even more so for those who’ve undergone bariatric surgery. Even though you might be tempted to go back to your old ways of eating, you need to avoid anything fried.
The stomach pain and cramping just aren’t worth it, and neither is the potential weight gain that these greasy foods can cause.
11. Anything That’s Been Reheated in the Microwave
It sounds strange to have to avoid foods that have been reheated in the microwave, but this is one rule that bariatric patients should stick to. Although it’s fine to heat meals up in the microwave the first time around , you shouldn’t eat anything that’s been reheated in the microwave.
Why? The process of rewarming food in this appliance dries everything out, making the items on your plate hard to digest, possibly even stretching your stomach in size at the same time.
12. Foods Made with Sugar Alcohols
People who’ve been trying to lose weight prior to their bariatric surgery are probably already familiar with sugar alcohols. They’re the sugar alternatives that are found in diet sodas and other “sugar-free” snacks.
Unfortunately, you can’t reach for that Diet Coke after your surgery. Not only are carbonated beverages a no-go, but so are these sugar alternatives.
Avoid anything with mannitol, erythritol, xylitol, glycerol, or sorbitol on the ingredients list. Some of these fake sugars cause diarrhea in people who haven’t undergone weight loss surgery — so just imagine what they could do to your newly-arranged digestive system!
Avoiding Foods Post-Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery is a life-changing event in more ways than one. Those who undergo one of the many procedures know that they are setting themselves up for weight loss, as well as a lifetime of watching what they eat and avoiding certain foods. The 12 foods listed here should all be avoided, as they can lead to stomach upset, diarrhea, stomach pain, and more.
In addition to slowly introducing solid foods to your diet post-surgery, you also need to ensure that you’re getting all of the nutrients that you need. Thankfully, that can be done while avoiding all of the foods on this list.
If you have any questions about food planning, post-bariatric surgery or anything else, please contact us!
Dietary Guidelines After Bariatric Surgery | UCSF Health
What Foods and Drinks Should You Avoid After Bariatric Surgery? | Penn Medicine
10 Foods to Avoid After Your Gastric Bypass | BASS Bariatric Surgery Center