Once patients have bariatric surgery, part of a your job as a dietitian is to give them instructions on how to eat. During those first few months, they slowly go from consuming just liquids to eating solid foods.
However, even once patients are able to eat solid foods, they can’t simply eat everything they’d like. While there are many bariatric food ingredients that can be eaten after bariatric surgery, here’s a reminder about seven of the foods and ingredients patients should avoid.
While plenty of veggies and fruits are important in a post-surgery diet, it’s important to avoid those fibrous, hard-to-digest options that the stomach may no longer tolerate. Cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, corn, and celery are veggies to avoid. Avoid vegetables and fruits with skin, such as apples or potatoes, as well. Go for softer, cooked veggies without skin for the best results.
Patients also need to avoid any high-fat foods and ingredients after surgery. Eating high-fat foods may cause nausea or dumping syndrome, and they aren’t a good choice when patients are trying to lose weight. Instead of hard cheeses, butter, sausages, and whole milk, low fat options offer a better choice. Better bariatric food ingredients include lean meats and low-fat dairy products.
Starchy foods like pasty, rice, and bread may become a problem after having bariatric surgery. They can form pastes in the throat that make it difficult to swallow without liquids. It’s best to avoid having liquids with meals, since they can make patients feel full too fast, stretch the stomach, and cause dumping syndrome. Over time your patients may be able to introduce very small portions of these foods, but when they do eat them, it’s essential to take very small bites and avoid eating too much.
Teach patients how important it is to chew food very well after surgery, since chewing food thoroughly makes it easier to swallow and digest. This is especially important when eating meats. Patients need plenty of protein, so lean meats are an important part of the post-surgery diet. However, have them avoid meats that or tough and those that have a lot of gristle or fat. Instead of steaks and pork chops, better bariatric food ingredients with protein include baked chicken, fish, and ground turkey.
Since patients need to avoid drinking liquids when eating meals, they’ll probably want to avoid eating dry foods, particularly in the first few months after bariatric surgery. Granola, nuts, and other dry foods may be tough to swallow. Encourage patients to try eating very small pieces of dry foods to see if they’re able to tolerate them.
Drinks with caffeine can be dehydrating, so it’s best to have patients avoid caffeinated beverages as they try to get used to having a much smaller stomach. Sugary drinks like high-sugar fruit juices and sodas can result in dumping syndrome. It’s better to go with tea, decaf coffee, and water.
The stomach is very small after bariatric surgery, so it’s important to make sure patients get the best possible nutrition by choosing foods wisely. They shouldn’t waste the limited room in the stomach on foods that have very little nutritional value, such as popcorn, chips, pretzels, pastries, and candy. They can make patients more likely to gain weight, leaving them undernourished. Foods high in fat or sugar can result in dumping syndrome, which can result in symptoms like cold sweats, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
After bariatric surgery, it’s important to help patients continue their weight loss journey while ensuring they get good nutrition from their food. Teach patients to avoid certain foods that can be problematic and help them choose healthy bariatric food ingredients that will boost their weight loss efforts and contribute to their overall health.