Bariatric Diet: Can You Stomach It?

The bariatric diet is what you eat after undergoing weight loss surgery.  If you are considering bariatric surgery, it’s not a bad idea to try the diet before you opt for the surgery.

After all, if you can’t follow the diet after the surgery, why bother with the expense and the recovery time from the operation?

Bariatric Diet:  What You Can Eat

Once you undergo surgery (adjustable lap band, gastric bypass) there are foods that you very likely won’t be able to eat anymore without suffering some rather rough side effects called "dumping" (which is like what it sounds).  The most common trigger is sugar, followed by fats.

It’s not to say that you’ll never again be able to eat ice cream or a piece of cake; just that your portions will have to be very small (a half-scoop of ice cream, a bite or two of cake).  And some people find that they can’t tolerate even such small amounts!

Immediately after surgery you’ll be eating meals of soft, bland foods at first.  This will be followed by less soft and less bland as time goes on.

Get ready to eat small, frequent meals.  How small?  Sometimes just a few bites at a time, every couple of hours.  You’ll have to see how your body reacts and adjust accordingly.

The Dietitian:  Your New Best Friend

You’ll need to schedule some visits with a dietitian, to help set up an eating plan that will help you to lose weight, get plenty of nutrition and not cause adverse reactions from your body.

Get ready to take supplements, as your food intake will be much smaller — you won’t be able to get every nutrient by your diet alone (which is probably true for the rest of us anyway).  But in the case of a bariatric diet, you have to be extra-careful.

In fact, if you are seriously considering weight loss surgery, it might be wise to contact a dietitian familiar with bariatrics and try the diet for a few weeks before you schedule a visit to the surgeon.  Worst comes to worst and you find that you can’t "stomach" a bariatric diet, you’ll have saved yourself a lot of pain (surgery isn’t pain-free) and expense.

Want more information?  You can view information and a video on gastric bypass surgery, as well as more information about bariatric diets from the University of Rochester.

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