How Food Options for Bariatric Surgery Patients Are Changing - Rational Foods
How Food Options for Bariatric Surgery Patients Are Changing

How Food Options for Bariatric Surgery Patients Are Changing

October 30, 2018

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states that bariatric surgery helps patients lose between 15 to 30 percent of their weight. However, patients can regain a portion of that weight if they forgo replacing their old eating habits.

When bariatric surgery, such as laparoscopic adjustable gastric band or Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, was first approved for medical use, patients were left with powdered shakes as their sole bariatric food surgery options.

Fortunately, new developments mean that patients can have more than just these shakes. Learn more about the reasons for dietary restrictions, along with information about the latest food options for post-bariatric surgery.

Dietary Guidelines for Bariatric Patients

For bariatric surgery patients, the recovery process revolves around food intake. Too much food and the patient’s stomach cannot heal and may stretch. Too little nutrition and the patient suffers from malnourishment and is far more likely to rebound and gain weight.

The goal is to find the best bariatric surgery food options to ensure a successful treatment and recovery. This depends on the post-surgery stage the patient is currently in. Here are post-bariatric surgery foods that move beyond powdered shakes for each stage of recovery.

Stage 1 Meal Plan

During the first couple of days after surgery, patients will be in the hospital and just transitioning home. As Tufts Medical Center explains, they’ll be limited to water and most likely will not have an appetite. Nausea often follows the application of general anesthesia used to sedate patients during bariatric surgery.

Once patients are past the initial stage and holding down clear liquids, they can start having unsweetened juice, decaffeinated tea, broth, or popsicles, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, during this first stage, patients should not eat whole foods just yet.

Stage 2 Meal Plan

By the end of the first week, patients will be hungry and ready for a meal. Yet they’ll need to continue to limit your bariatric surgery food options. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center recommends a pureed diet at this stage. However, applesauce and mashed potatoes are not nutritionally dense enough for the patient.

According to the UPMC, bariatric patients in stage 2 need:

  • 50 to 60 grams of protein for women
  • 60 to 70 grams of protein for men

However, eating a meal of pureed chicken breast is not exactly a welcoming meal. One way to get the recommended allowance of protein is to opt for food pouches of pureed ingredients.

For example, with Achieve pouches, patients can have a pureed pouch of real food containing a full serving of macronutrients, including 20 grams of protein. Three of these pouches a day account for total protein needs, while also providing the necessary vitamins and minerals through organic food sources.

Stage 3 Meal Plan

Once patients have reached stage three, the goal is to stabilize bariatric surgery weight loss, while continuing to losing weight until they achieve their optimal weight. They’ll need to take a dietary supplement, such as a multivitamin, daily, in addition to eating a healthy and balanced diet. This is where the transition to new, healthier eating habits is crucial for maintaining bariatric surgery results.

A major issue for patients is finding the time to eat healthy given their busy and often stressful lifestyles. A way to maintain nutritious, well balanced meals while avoiding empty calories and overeating is to keep ready-to-eat food on hand.

The food pouches used during stage two work well for this purpose. Patients can stash a few food pouches in a variety of flavors in a briefcase, purse, car, or desk for times when they can’t eat a healthy meal. This will help patients increase the positive results of bariatric surgery without having to resort to powdered shakes.