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Bariatric Surgery – Foods To Eat And Avoid

By Dr. Mohit Bhandari +2 more

Bariatric Surgery is commonly known as weight loss surgery and it is done by performing changes to your digestive system. Generally, a medical practitioner recommends this surgery if a person has been unable to lose weight by other methods, including habit changes, diet and exercise, that didn’t show positive results. Another thing to keep in mind is that bariatric surgery is usually recommended when a person is experiencing serious health problems due to their body weight.


Bariatric surgery might offer a range of health benefits and your doctor will help you find the best course of action to minimize the risk of any further complications. There are several types of bariatric surgery that work in different ways. While some reduce your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from the food consumed, others might restrict the amount of food your stomach can hold. Another point to remember is that bariatric surgery isn’t recommended for every obese person. Your doctor will look at your health and suggest the best approach to help you get back to a healthier life.

In my opinion, one must regularly take vitamin supplements to avoid nutritional deficits post-bariatric surgery. Doctors recommend one should consume 800–1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D every day and take 500 mcg of vitamin B.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

10 Best foods that may be helpful for obese people

1. Low-fat or fat-free dairy products

Nowadays, lower-fat variations of different dairy products like cheese, milk and yoghurt are easily available. These offer adequate nutrition and health benefits but with lower calories.

2. Lean chicken

Chicken is low in calories and high in protein which aids in weight loss. The high protein content will keep you full for longer and stop you from binging on unhealthy snacks. Moreover, protein aids in calcium metabolism and boosts bone health. Some healthy chicken preparations include chicken stir-fry, grilled chicken and baked chicken.

3. Flavoured mustards and vinegars

You may add flavoured mustard and kinds of vinegar to a healthy bowl of salads.

4. Low-calorie or calorie-free beverages

You may drink flavoured waters and swap your canned beverages like sodas with healthy beverages like green tea and buttermilk, which promotes weight loss.

5. Whole grains

Dietary fibre helps you stay full for longer and aids in better digestion. Generally, whole grains are rich in fibre and can be a great snacking option. You could also include whole-grain pasta in your diet as they are great nutrient-rich replacement for refined grains.

6. Fruits

Binging on chocolates or sweet desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth adds to the calories consumed. A great alternative is fruits which are loaded with nutrients. These are also rich in natural sugars and do not cause a sudden spike in your blood sugar. Moreover, dietary fibre in fruits contributes to better digestion and keeps you full for longer. Stock up on your all-time favourites and some convenient fruits like frozen berries.

7. Vegetables

You can buy some easy vegetables like mixed greens, broccoli and carrots for easy and quick salads. You can also roast these for a nutritious and filling diet. These are also rich in fibre which relieves digestive issues.

8. Cooking liquids

Unhealthy cooking oils have a high content of trans fat that is quite harmful to your health. Choose healthy cooking alternatives like olive oil, cold-pressed oil, etc.

9. Dip alternatives

Dips like mayonnaise are high in calories and fat content, which leads to weight gain. Instead, buy nutritious dips like fat-free onion dips, hummus and other low-calorie alternatives.

10. Oats

Breakfast cereals are high in sugars and calories and lack other nutrients like fibre and protein. Instead, have oatmeal, a rich source of dietary fibre. It also helps manage digestive conditions like indigestion and acid reflux.

In my opinion, one should take little sips of clear liquids after surgery such as water, black tea or coffee, diluted no-added-sugar beverages such as squash. It’s crucial to remain hydrated by drinking a lot of water throughout the day. Try to consume two teaspoons or so of clear liquid every hour. Stop when you’re full. You can switch to a liquid diet once the surgical team has allowed for the same.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Foods to avoid when obese

1. White bread

Refined products like white bread are high in sugar and calories. It ranks very high in the Glycemic Index (GI), meaning it can cause a sudden spike in your blood sugars. Instead, choose healthy alternatives like almond flour bread. But remember that all bread is rich in gluten and can cause digestive issues in people with sensitive stomachs.

2. Processed fruit juices

Whole fruits are high in natural sugars, which are not harmful to health. But, the fruit juices available in the market are severely processed and contain loads of added sugars. Moreover, fruit juice lacks fibre which is why it does not keep you full for a long time.

3. Unhealthy desserts

Most desserts like pastries, cakes and cookies contain refined flour and sugar. These are also high in trans fats, which are harmful to your health and are best avoided.

4. Fast foods

Fast foods are highly processed, contain unhealthy ingredients and are high in calories. You must avoid eating them to maintain good health and proper body weight.

5. Alcohol

Alcoholic drinks are high in calories and sugars, which contribute to weight gain.

Food to eat and avoid after bariatric surgery:

Every patient’s diet plan can vary based on their individual health needs. Talk to your doctor about the diet plan after bariatric surgery. Here are some common Dos and Donts-

  1. The patient should eat at least three full meals a day post-surgery.
  2. Eat protein (60-100 gms daily) and carbohydrates at each meal. Start with the protein first and then go on with carbohydrates and vitamins.
  3. Avoid snack foods like chips, crackers, candies, cookies, ice cream, fatty meats and fried food.
  4. Avoid carbonated and sugary beverages like fizzy and aerated cold drinks and beverages.
  5. Avoid alcohol and smoking during your recovery process completely.
  6. Drink at least six glasses of water a day.
  7. Drink skim or soy milk or light yoghurt instead of having a snack daily.

Food to eat 15 days post-operation

  1. Lentils (mushed or blended)
  2. Hummus
  3. Oatmeal blended with protein powders
  4. Low-fat soup with added protein powder – chicken broth or unflavored (puree chunks)
  5. Fat-free beans
  6. Scrambled, soft boiled or poached eggs/egg whites
  7. Tofu

Bariatric-friendly food recipes to try

1. Chicken stew 

A hearty meal that is loaded with gut-friendly veggies and offers a boost of protein from chicken on the bones. It is wholesome and extremely healthy. Follow these steps for a tasty meal:

  • Add two tablespoons of butter and wait for it to become moderately hot. Throw in the whole spices and a bay leaf and allow it to sizzle.
  • Now add in a half cup of onion and one tablespoon each of roughly chopped ginger and garlic. Saute it for about one to two minutes until the onions caramelize.
  • Wash about 400 grams of chicken on the bones and saute until they turn white.
  • Add in some vegetables like – 7 pieces of raw green papaya (peeled and cut), ½ cup of carrots, and ½ cup of green beans. Mix it well with other ingredients.
  • Pour in water and add in salt and crushed pepper for taste. Then, put it in a pressure cooker and set it on high for six minutes.
  • Open the pot and garnish with a bit of garam masala and lemon juice before serving.

2. Peanut butter and banana with oatmeal 

Oatmeal is a great breakfast staple that you can easily make by adding a few ingredients for a base of healthy fats and natural sugars. Follow these steps to make a tasty morning meal:

  • Boil four and a half cups of water and add two cups of rolled oats after turning it to low heat. Stir occasionally and cook for about 5 minutes until it gets soft. Take it off the heat and let it cool down a bit.
  • Add in a splash of your favourite milk (dairy or non-dairy), peanut butter, honey, and chopped almonds.

3. Green smoothie 

If you love a tropical kick, this green smoothie recipe is a great option. Follow these steps for a nutritious and delicious green smoothie:

  • Blend a cup of spinach or other greens with a cup of liquid of your choice. You can go for water or non-dairy milk.
  • Add chunks of frozen fruits like mango, banana, and pineapple. Blend it on high speed until it is creamy. You can also add in natural sweeteners like dates or honey for more sweetness.
  • Add protein powder, chia seeds or other superfoods for a boost of healthy fats and proteins.

Conclusion

It is important to manage your body weight and consume a clean diet before undergoing bariatric surgery as well as post-surgery. Remember that your doctor will put you on a restrictive cleaning plan after the surgery to avoid further risks and complications. Moreover, a healthy and nutritious diet will help build better overall health and immunity. We recommend you consult your doctor for a detailed dietary plan that you can follow.

FAQs

Q.1. What foods can a bariatric patient eat?

Bariatric patients can eat soft foods like lean meat, eggs and cooked vegetables. It is important to follow dietary guidelines to manage the risk of further complications.

Q.2. What can a bariatric patient drink?

Some healthy beverage choices that bariatric patients can indulge in include zero-added-sugar beverages, green tea and water. You should avoid fizzy drinks, alcohol and sodas as these might cause greater discomfort.

Q.3. Why do you have to wait 30 minutes to drink after bariatric surgery?

Your doctor will instruct you about the right time to resume liquids and solid food post-surgery depending upon the type of procedure and technique of anaesthesia used.

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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