Bariatric surgery holds a place right next to the gift of life for many people. The surgically shrunken pouch, which used to be a full stomach, translates to immense loss of weight. Most people who undergo bariatric surgery lose 80, 90, and sometimes up to 100 pounds in the very first year.
Bariatric surgery can cure obesity in cases when diets, lifestyle changes, and medications have failed. But being given a new life as a thin person doesn’t mean you can forget about diets. Now bariatric nutrition must become your main concern.
Whether you have undergone the lap band laparoscopy, stomach stapling, or Roux-en-Y bypass, your now tiny stomach can hardly hold about half a cup of food. This is as little as what you can place on a coffee saucer.
The good news though, is that this amount of food will now leave you feeling as full as if you had eaten a whole pizza. Or maybe two. But because you can eat very little, you must pay careful attention to bariatric nutrition.
The first rule of bariatric nutrition is you still can’t have sweets.
The fastest way to regain the pounds you’ve lost is make a quarter cup of dessert your entire meal. Even that small amount of sugar can make you ill.
Foods that are extremely high in sugars or other refined carbohydrates can start off the dumping syndrome. The stomach does not need to digest sugars, so they are quickly sent to the small intestine. Water is absorbed from your bloodstream in order to dilute the concentrated sugar in your intestine.
The result is sudden dehydration, which can make you feel nauseated, dizzy, or may even cause you to pass out. You may manage to offset this effect by drinking water, but remember that you can only drink about one-quarter cup. Some people eventually develop a tolerance for sweets, but you may not. Especially people who have undergone Roux-en-Y bypass need to follow this rule.
The second rule of bariatric nutrition is, always plan ahead.
Most people with a gastric bypass realize that they have to select, buy, and prepare meals according to a fixed schedule to make sure that they actually have a chance to eat that little bit of food they can in every meal.
If your food is not ready, and you get hungry, there’s an additional risk that you’ll reach for the food that’s nearest at hand. Fast food and snack foods are the reason you had to undergo the surgery so you must avoid them. Don’t be frightened by food. Make sure you have food ready for any time that you might be hungry.
The third rule of bariatric nutrition is, consume supplements, preferably liquids.
Your new, small stomach does not absorb enough iron, vitamin B12, folic acid, or calcium for your body’s needs. Don’t even bother trying to get these nutrients from food. Use liquid supplements instead whenever possible.
The fourth rule of bariatric nutrition is, completely avoid sweets, but otherwise you can eat foods you know and like.
Your digestive tract will probably be sensitive to new foods, and it’s quite common for persons who have had bariatric procedures to develop added sensitivity to fiber, milk, or meat. If at anytime nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting occurs after eating a new food, let several days pass before you try it or any other new food again.
Dehydration is a very serious concern if you have diarrhea. Prevent dehydration by drinking as much water as possible between meals, but at the same time remember, your stomach can only hold half a cup (about 125 ml) at a time.
For the fifth and final rule of bariatric nutrition, remember that even though you’ve just had bariatric surgery, overeating is not impossible. Your stomach gradually begins to expand after surgery. Keeping portions small will assist you in losing the pounds you need to lose and keeping them off.