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Bariatric surgery is performed on an individual who is morbidly obese and needs to lose weight immediately. It does not remove the fat from the body, but reduces the individual’s urge to consume food. Since food plays a very important role in the entire procedure, patients looking to undergo bariatric surgery need to follow specific diets before and after the surgery.
A good diet is very important after you have had obesity surgery. The amounts and types of foods that you are able to eat will change, and you need to make sure that your new diet contains enough protein, vitamins and minerals to keep your body healthy. Having a poor diet after obesity surgery can have serious consequences. Short term effects may include dehydration, nausea and vomiting, or dumping syndrome.
Diet Before Bariatric Surgery
Even though the exact diet may differ from one person to the next, the general factors of the diet at this stage include-
- Protein rich and low carbohydrate foods are recommended. This reduces fat in the body and promotes the regenerative power of the cells.
- Diet aimed at losing weight. This reduces the fat surrounding the liver, making the surgery easier. Furthermore, patients become acclimatized to the new way of eating that they would have to follow post the surgery.
- As the date of the surgery approaches, patients may need to be on a liquid only diet, as it is easier to digest. Your diet may be supplemented with vitamins, proteins, so that your body receives the necessary nutrients even when on a liquid only diet.
• Stage 1- Liquid diet
For a few days after the surgery, you will not be given any solid food. Additionally, you will only drink clear liquids during this time, so that your stomach starts to recover from the procedure. As time passes, liquid diet is graduated; clear liquid diet for 2 days, then full liquid from day 3 and then 5th day onwards protein supplements are also included. This diet continues for 10-15 days depending on the type of surgery and individual.
• Stage 2- Pureed diet
After a few days, you will graduate to consuming pureed foods. These foods are liquid, but may have a thicker consistency than the items consumed during stage 1. Many foods, such as vegetables and fruits can be pureed and consumed during this stage. Pureed diet also includes pulses without husk and cerals like dalia/ oats/ khichdi in pureed form, for 15 days.
• Stage 3- Soft foods
Around 2 months after the surgery, you will move on to the next stage, where you are allowed to eat most soft food items, such as soft-boiled eggs, minced or ground meat, white fish and fruits like apple, papaya.
• Stage 4- Normal diet
After around 2 and half months, solid food will be re-introduced in your diet. Food will need to be consumed in smaller portions, so that your stomach can easily digest it. However, certain items, such as breads and all fried foods must still be avoided.
Around 4 months after the surgery, patients can start eating normally, but the portion sizes must be controlled.
If your diet lacks nutrients or is poorly balanced in the long term, you may risk the following health conditions:
- Anaemia caused by iron, folate or vitamin B12 deficiency
- Osteoporosis and osteomalacia caused by calcium and/or vitamin D deficiencies
- Wernicke encephalopathy a rare but serious neurological condition resulting from thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency
- Certain cancers become more likely with some deficiencies
- Deterioration of vision caused by vitamin A deficiency
- Poor immune function caused by various deficiencies
- Protein deficiency symptoms include fatigue, muscle wastage, and alopecia (short term, transient hair loss is normal) 6
3 General guidance for eating and drinking post-op
- Take time to eat your meals (this means 20 – 30 minutes).
- Rushing your meals may cause food to stick in your ‘chest’ and may cause you to vomit.
- You may also need to avoid foods that commonly cause blockages leading to pain and possibly vomiting. These include dry chewy meats, soft white bread, stringy or very fibrous vegetables, sweetcorn, nuts, dried fruit, pips and seeds.
Why do people vomit after eating?
The main reasons why people vomit are:
- Eating too quickly
- Not chewing food well enough
- Eating too much
- Drinking with, or too close to meals
- Eating foods that are difficult to digest You should not need to vomit.
If you find this is happening often, first try changing your eating behaviour and food choices. Frequent, long term vomiting can mean you are getting insufficient nutrients and cause damage to your oesophagus (food pipe) and teeth.