Post Weight Loss Surgery Diet Guidelines

What Foods Can I Eat Following Swedish Adjustable Gastric Band Surgery?

The surgical procedure called Swedish Adjustable Gastric Band (SAGB) will positively impact your life and make it possible for you to lead a much healthier lifestyle.  It will also help to reduce your risk for developing secondary diseases related to obesity.  However, your eating habits still need to change also.  The SAGB procedure does help with inducing sustainable weight loss.  However, it doesn’t automatically make you slimmer on its own.  In order to lose weight successfully and avoid complications, your behavioral and postoperative dietary compliance is critical.

Every surgeon will have his or her own specific diet requirements for patients.  However, below are general recommended guidelines that can be followed after having SAGB surgery.  Make sure to consult with your dietitian and surgeon on your own specific dietary needs.

Weeks 1-2: Fluid Diet Plan

Fist day following surgery: Clear Fluids

  • Slowly drink small amounts of liquid (around 50 ml) using small sips
  • Wait for one or two minutes in between your sips
  • Drink approximately 50 ml of fluid every 20 to 30 minutes
  • The following are suitable clear liquids:
    • Water, but not sparkling
    • Cordial
    • Coffee or tea
    • Vegetable juices and strained fruit
    • Jelly
    • Broth, stock, Bonox, Bovril
    • Clear nutritional suppplement drinks with high protein that are recommended by your dietitian or surgeon

Days 2-14: Full Fluids

  • Continue drinking slowly using small sips
  • Wait for one to two minutes in between your sips.
  • Increase the volume of liquid that your drink gradually from 50 ml up to 120 ml during the first week.  Then continue to increase as is tolerable but do not drink over 200 ml for one drink.
  • Drink liquids thin enough to be able to pass through standard drinking straws.
  • The following are suitable fluids that you can drink:
    • All fluids from the above clear fluid list
    • Milk, thin smoothies and thin milkshakes
    • Strained, thin soups (being clear is not necessary)
    • Milky nutritional supplement drinks that are suggested by your dietician or surgeon.

Weeks 3-5: Pureed Diet Plan

What follows is just a guide for you to consult.  It is very important that you follow all of the recommendations that your dietician or surgeon provides you with.  The recommendations that they give you might vary slightly from what follows.

  • Start to introduce mushy and puree consistency foods into your diet – they are very similar to the first foods that a baby eats.
  • In order to obtain a smooth consistency for your foods, use a bar mix or a blender.
  • Your starting portion size should be around 1/2 cup.  Over the following three weeks it can increase, but should not be more than 1 cup (200 ml).
  • A minimum of 2 meals that are regularly spaced out should be included.
  • If you tend to get hungry have a small snack in between your meals or choose thicker blends of foods
  • Try eating a protein source with every meal.  This can include lentils, legumes, eggs, fish, chicken or blended meat.
  • Eat your food slowly.  Practice your chewing and use small spoonfuls.
  • Concentrate completely on your meal.  While you are eating don’t do anything else at the same time.
  • The following are suitable pureed foods that you can eat at this time:
    • Very soft white fish.  Instead of pureed it can be mashed up using a fork.
    • Blended casseroles that contain pasta, rice, vegetables, legumes, lentils, fish, chicken or meat.
    • Pureed vegetables
    • Mashed baked beans
    • Mashed potato
    • Thin porridge
    • Mushy breakfast cereals such as Weetbix soaked in milk
    • Fruit puree – canned or fresh
    • Reduced sugar and reduced fat ice cream, custards, dairy desserts and sugar mousses.
    • Reduce fat cottage cheese or ricotta
    • Yoghurt (no lumps and preferably low fat)

Week 5 Note

If you are experiencing hunger, you might be ready at week 5 following surgery to increase your food’s consistency.  You can try to introduce some of the following foods:

  • Minced chicken or minced meat in a sauce or gravy
  • Soften cooked vegetables mashed with a fork
  • A poached or scrambled egg
  • A small piece of white, soft fish with sauce, for example a white sauce

Fluids

  • Separating your fluids from your foods is very important.  Before you are scheduled to eat, stop drinking fluids 10 minutes before.  After you eat, wait for 30 minutes before drinking any more fluids.
  • When you drink fluids while eating food, your food might get flushed through your band prior to your brain registering that you feel full.
  • Keep drinking adequate amounts of fluids in between your meals (approximately 2 litres every day).
  • The maximum amount of fluid that you should drink at one time should be 200 ml.

Week 6 On: Introducing Solid Foods

The timing of when you will start introducing solid foods into your diet will vary and depend on what your surgeon recommends.

The most common time for it to take place is during week 5 or 6 following surgery.  Make sure that you follow all of the recommendations that are provided to you by your dietician or surgeon.

  • Starting on solid foods involves returning to normal consistency and regular foods, much like you would have eaten before you had surgery.  However, you will be eating much smaller amounts.
  • Use small plates to make sure that your meals are the right size.
  • Take small mouthfuls and eat your food slowly.
  • Thoroughly chew your food – this will me or a much longer time than you did before you had your operation.
  • Completely concentrate on the meal and really enjoy the foods that you are eating.  While you are eating, don’t do anything else.
  • Be mindful of what your eating habits are.
  • When you start to feel full, stop eating immediately, even if you can’t finish all of your food.
  • Do not graze.  Stick with your regular meal times instead.
  • To avoid getting too hungry, have one or two snacks.  When you are overly hungry you may have a tendency t not chew your food thoroughly or eat too fast.
  • The following are suitable food choices for all of the major food groups:
    • Vegetables – start out having soft, cooked vegetables and then progress up to firmer choices, including salads.  You might need to be careful about eating some fibrous, stringy vegetables like cabbage, leeks, string green beans, broccoli and cauliflower stalks, leaf spinach, asparagus and raw carrots.  Chew thoroughly.
    • Fruits – tart out with peeled fruit that is cup up into small pieces. Move up to fruit that has skin as you can tolerate.  Chew thoroughly.
    • Meat and meat alternatives: Select lean, tender fish, chicken and meat.  Juicy cuts, wet dishes, tender casseroles, and mince poultry and meats are easier to tolerate.
    • Be careful with dry and stringy meats like chicken breasts and steak.  Chew thoroughly.  Usually lentils, legumes and eggs are easy to tolerate.
    • Cereal and bread products: fresh or doughy bread (in particular white, has a tendency to get stuck inside the gastric band.  Select options that are less doughy, like flat breads, toasted wholegrain breads and low fat crackers.  Pasta dishes, rice, grains and breakfast cereals are usually easy to tolerate.
    • Dairy foods are usually easy to tolerate.  Reduce fat options should be chosen.
    • Oils and fats – use sparingly to help with losing weight.

Over the long term, attempt to eat as you would normally (like your friends and family) but just smaller amounts.

Fluids

  • Continue following the fluids recommendations that were provided in the section above.
  • Be sure to drink a sufficient amount of calorie-free or low-calorie liquids (2-3 litres a day at least).
  • Do most of your drink in between meals instead of during them.
  • Remember that liquids pass very quickly and freely through the narrow area that the band that is on your stomach has created. This can make it easy for you to take in more calories than you mean to.
  • High calorie drinks (alcohol, sugar sweetened etc.) in addition to ice cream might impair weight loss or make you even gain weight, so they should be avoided.
  • If dizziness or faintness happens it is frequently due to an insufficient intake of fluids. Make sure to drink plenty of fluid.
  • Constipation can result from not having adequate fluid intake.

Gastric Band Adjustment

The gastric band will be sufficiently healed in place in about 4 to 6 weeks.  The first filling can then be done.  The timing varies among surgeons.

For band fills, the following should be considered:

  • Following every band adjustment, be sure that you try drinking water prior to leaving the surgeon’s room. That way you can check to be sure you are able to get fluids through your gastric band without any difficulties.
  • After a filling, you might find that the reduction will initially cause you some eating problems. It is usually due to the extra restriction that is caused by the stomach wall’s inflammation and swelling.
  • That is what it is especially important to eat your food slowly, chew thoroughly, and drink sufficient amounts of fluids in between your meals.
  • If you are having problems, you can go back to mushy foods until the swelling goes down.

Consult with your dietician or bariatric surgeon for additional dietary information.