What Can’t Be Eaten After Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatrics deals with preventing and treating obesity. There are many methods that are used:  

  1. Diet control 
  2. Exercises to reduce weight 
  3. Surgery 

To get rid of obesity and get fit again, you might need bariatric surgery. After the surgery, you may want to eat your favorite ice cream or chicken wings from KFC. But wait, are you allowed to eat anything you want? Are you? Well, the answer is no. You’re not! In fact, after surgery, the surgeon, nutritionist, dietician, and physiotherapist make a list of foods that you are allowed to have. If you want to know which foods you should avoid, read this article to find out.  


Bariatric surgery and diet  

In bariatric surgery, a part of the gut is removed, or some alterations are made to your gut to reduce your weight. Surgery is always done as a last resort when diet and exercise have no or very little effect on your body. For a bariatric surgery procedure to be successful, you need to follow the precautions outlined by the bariatrics team. These are:  

Before surgery   

  • Start a routine workout for weight loss goals. 
  • Lower your intake of calories (between 1200-1500/day). 
  • Avoid consuming caffeine or caffeine-containing beverages for at least one month before the surgery.  

After surgery 

  • Avoid certain foods.  
  • You should eat a healthy, nutritious diet and take appropriate supplements to speed up your recovery.  
  • For fast recovery, focus on walking, standing, and changing positions while trying to sleep. These activities help to improve blood circulation and minimize complications.  
  • For 6 weeks after the surgery, avoid high-intensity workouts such as heavy lifting.  
  • Drink 1.5 to 2 liters of fluid per day to keep yourself hydrated.  


Foods to avoid after surgery 

After the surgery, your bariatric team will hand out an extensive list of foods you should avoid and the ones you should consume. There are eight major foods that you should avoid after bariatric surgery:  

  1. Foods with empty calories: Foods with excess sugar and fried foods that are not rich in nutrition (including pastries, sweets, rice cakes, chips, pretzels, popcorn, etc.) can lead to dumping syndrome, which means the food goes directly into the colon after you eat them. This can cause weakness, cold sweats, nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting.  
  2. Alcohol: Alcohol is high in calories and takes up a lot of space in your stomach, which can instead be used for nutrition-rich foods that contain vitamins and minerals. Also, alcohol absorption from your gut can increase after surgery, which can cause intoxication and death.  
  3. Dry foods: You can’t drink liquids with food after surgery, so you should avoid dry foods for at least a few days after surgery. Foods like nuts or granola should be avoided as they can also be hard to swallow. You can eat cereal after softening with milk, but only if your body allows it.  
  4. Bread, rice, or pasta: These foods should be avoided as they create a paste due to their starchy nature, which can get stuck in your throat or block the stoma, the hole that leads food to your new stomach. You can eat them, but in very small portions, after a few days of surgery. But it is best at the beginning that you avoid these completely.  
  5. Fibrous fruits and vegetables: You should eat a lot of nutrition-rich fruits and vegetables but avoid fibrous vegetables (like celery, asparagus, corn, and cabbage) as these are hard to digest in the early days after surgery.  
  6. High-fat foods: Avoid high-fat foods like bacon, sausage, butter, milk, and hard cheeses as they can make you nauseous or lead to dumping syndrome. So, choose low-fat foods (lean beef, chicken, turkey, low-fat cheeses) instead.  
  7. Sugary and highly caffeinated drinks: Avoid drinks that contain high amounts of sugar, corn syrup, and fructose as these can lead to dumping syndrome. Caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea should be avoided as they dehydrate your body; instead, drink water and unsweetened drinks.  
  8. Tough meats: You should avoid tough meats as they will be hard to chew. Chewing is one of the important habits you need to develop after your surgery. Instead of choosing hard meat to eat, choose lean meats without fat or bones. Avoid steak, pork chops, hot dogs, and ham instead choose minced chicken or turkey, baked chicken, or fish. 


Are you considering bariatric surgery? Contact our specialists in bariatrics. Take the first step towards better health, call us at 347-868-1060 or contact us online at www.doralhw.org. 

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