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Diet

How long will I have to wait to eat solid foods after surgery?
We recommend a period of four weeks or more without solid foods after surgery. A liquid diet, followed by puréed foods, will be recommended for at least four weeks until adequate healing has occurred. We will provide you with specific dietary guidelines for the best post-surgical outcome.

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What are the best choices of protein?
Protein is a vital part of a diet. After surgery you will need to monitor your protein intake to ensure you get the adequate amounts. Our site offers protein sources and tips under Life After Surgery.

Why drink so much water?
When you are losing weight, there are many waste products to eliminate, mostly in urine. Some of these substances tend to form crystals, which can cause kidney stones. A high water intake protects you and helps your body to rid itself of waste products efficiently, promoting better weight loss. Water also fills your stomach and helps to prolong and intensify your sense of satisfaction with food. If you feel a desire to eat between meals, it may be because you did not drink enough water in the hour before.

What is dumping syndrome?
Eating sugars or other foods containing many small particles when you have an empty stomach can cause dumping syndrome in patients who have had a gastric bypass where the stomach pylorus is bypassed. Your body handles these small particles by diluting them with water, which reduces blood volume and causes a shock-like state. Sugar may also induce insulin shock due to the altered physiology of your intestinal tract. The result is a very unpleasant feeling: you break out in a cold clammy sweat, turn pale, feel "butterflies" in your stomach, and have a pounding pulse. Cramps and diarrhea may follow. This state can last for 30 to 60 minutes and can be quite uncomfortable - you may have to lie down until it goes away. This syndrome can be avoided by not eating the foods that cause it, especially on an empty stomach. A small amount of sweets, such as fruit, can sometimes be tolerated at the end of a meal.

Why can't I snack between meals?
Snacking, nibbling or grazing on foods, usually high-calorie and high-fat foods, can add hundreds of calories a day to your intake, defeating the restrictive effect of your operation. Snacking will slow down your weight loss and can lead to regain of weight.

Why can't I eat red meat after surgery?
You can, but you will need to be very careful, and we recommend that you avoid it for the first several months. Red meats contain a high level of meat fibers (gristle) which hold the piece of meat together, preventing you from separating it into small parts when you chew. The gristle can plug the outlet of your stomach pouch and prevent anything from passing through, a condition that is very uncomfortable.

How can I be sure I am eating enough protein?
Eating 60 to 70 grams of protein a day is generally enough. Check with your dietitian to determine the right amount for your type of surgery.

Is there any restriction of salt intake?
No, your salt intake will be unchanged unless otherwise instructed by your primary care physician.

Will I be able to eat "spicy" foods or seasoned foods?
Most patients are able to enjoy spices about three to six months following surgery.

Will I be allowed to drink alcohol?
You will find that even small amounts of alcohol will affect you quickly. It is suggested that you drink no alcohol for the first year. Thereafter, with your physician's approval, you may have a glass of wine or a small cocktail.  Alcohol provides empty calories and can lead to stomach irritation.

Will I need supplemental vitamins?
Yes, you will be required to take supplements for the rest of your life. 

What vitamins and supplements will I need to take after surgery?
The need for nutritional supplements will vary depending on the type of surgery you have and on your own specific health needs. All patients will need to take a daily multivitamin for the rest of their lives, as well as, calcium and B12. Some patients will require iron supplements as well. Women are more susceptible to iron deficiency especially if they are still menstruating, therefore, menstruating women are likely to be placed on iron supplements.

Do I meet with a nutritionist before and after surgery?
We require patients to consult with a nutritionist both before and after surgery to assure successful outcomes.  A bariatric dietitian will continue to meet with you at each of your follow-up appointments.

Will I get a copy of suggested eating patterns and food choices after surgery?
We provide patients with materials that clearly outline their expectations regarding diet and compliance to guidelines for the best outcome based on your surgical procedure. After surgery, health and weight loss are highly dependent on patient compliance with these guidelines. You must do your part by restricting high-calorie foods, by avoiding sugar, snacks and fats, and by strictly following the guidelines set by your surgeon.