If you are considering bariatric surgery, you may wonder what your food intake will look like following surgery. The answer is quite different!
Blackrock WeightCare dietitians will be on hand to guide you through the changes, answer your questions and keep in touch with you as you recover from surgery. We are always on hand to help!
Immediately after Surgery
Initially, to allow the stomach to heal, post-surgery textures of food and portion sizes need to be modified. It is important to follow the dietary guidelines to prevent damage or stretching of the stomach and to minimise side effects such as nausea and vomiting.
Essentially the dietary recommendations after surgery consist of 4 Stages:
- Stage 1 – Thin pureed diet (days 1-2 post-op)
A thin pureed diet will be started in the hospital. You will be offered foods that are thin, smooth and lump-free such as yogurt, pureed porridge or pureed chicken/fish and pureed potato. It is recommended to take 2-3 tablespoons at each meal.
- Stage 2 – Smoothly pureed diet (from discharge to week 2)
On discharge from the hospital, you will progress to a smoothly pureed diet. This includes foods that are smooth and lump free. A blender/food processor may be required to achieve this texture. It is recommended to aim for 4-6 small meals and snacks during this stage.
- Stage 3 – Soft diet (Weeks 2-8, approximately)
After about 2 weeks of the pureed diet, you will gradually start to introduce soft textured foods. Soft foods should mash easily with a fork. Portion sizes taken will gradually start to increase at this time.
- Stage 4 –Normal texture diet (Usually from weeks 8-10)
About 8 weeks after surgery you will start to introduce normal texture foods. The idea at this stage is to continue to include foods from stage 3 and gradually introduce whole foods. In the early stages post-surgery, portion sizes will remain small. Using a side plate will help with portion control.
Consuming enough protein is important after bariatric surgery. Protein helps you maintain and build your muscle mass. It is also required for recovery and repair after surgery. Protein foods include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, beans and legumes. At each dietary stage, it is advised to prioritize your protein intake i.e. ‘eat your protein first’.
The Pace of Eating
It is also important to change your eating behaviours after surgery such as your pace of eating. Chewing your food well and eating slowly will help aid digestion. It takes some time to adapt and the more you are prepared for the changes the better. Our dietetic team work with you before surgery, during your hospital stay and after you go home to ease the process and make it as easy as possible.
Fluids after Surgery
Fluid intake also looks different after surgery. It is advised to drink liquids between meals rather than at mealtimes. Sugar-sweetened and carbonated beverages should be avoided. Alcohol is a frequent question – You can drink alcohol after bariatric surgery but only after some time and with modifications. We generally advise that alcohol is avoided for 6 months after surgery but will advise you about this during your consultations with us.
Is surgery for? You can contact us here to discuss the available options.