The Gastric Sleeve Post-Op Diet: What to Eat After Gastric Sleeve

Americans are in the middle of a health crisis. Over 42 percent of Americans today are obese. Obesity doesn’t always have adverse health impacts, but it is a major contributor to major diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Gastric sleeve surgery is one method many people are using to take control of their weight and improve their overall health. It’s a life-changing surgery for many reasons, not the least of which is the impact it has on your diet for the rest of your life.

Not sure what to eat after going under the knife? Read on to learn all about the gastric sleeve post-op diet.

What Is a Gastric Sleeve?

A gastric sleeve is a form of bariatric surgery — a surgery that limits the amount of food you can eat in order to help you lose weight. In gastric sleeve surgery, the surgeon will remove the majority of your stomach, leaving behind a small sleeve-shaped portion of your stomach. 

Gastric sleeve surgery cannot be reversed, but it will help you lose a significant amount of weight. Patients who undergo this surgery typically lose less weight than those who have gastric bypass surgery, and weight loss is at a less dramatic pace. Whatever your choice, both surgeries will help improve your health in the long run.

Pre-Surgery Concerns

Before you ever go under the knife, you will have to start paying special attention to what you’re eating to make surgery easier on you and your surgeon.

The primary goal before surgery is to shrink the size of your liver. Many obese patients will have a lot of fat in and around the liver. The liver is very close to the stomach and enlarged livers can make surgery difficult.

Two weeks prior to your surgery, you’ll go on a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate diet. Two days before surgery, you’ll need to switch to a diet consisting of clear liquids, sugar-free protein shakes, sugar-free jello, and sugar-free popsicles.

First Week Post Op

You’ll return to your clear liquid diet during the first week after your surgery. The goal is to allow your body time to heal and avoid potential complications like a gastric leak, bowel obstruction, and dehydration.

Your primary goal is to get as many clear liquids in your body as possible in order to stay hydrated. If you’re struggling with dehydration, talk to your doctor about electrolyte-enhanced drinks. Avoid caffeine and carbonated beverages while you’re healing to prevent gas, bloating, and acid reflux.

Most importantly, avoid sugar at all costs. Sugar is a huge contributor to dumping syndrome. If you experience severe nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting, you may have dumping syndrome.

Week Two

The second week after your surgery, you’ll graduate to a liquid diet that includes more than clear liquids. This includes instant breakfast shakes, sugar-free, of course, protein shakes, broth and cream-based soups without chunks.

Have hankering for something sweet? Try sugar-free pudding, sugar-free frozen yogurt, ice cream, or sorbet. You can also have nonfat Greek yogurt to get more protein in your system.

You’ll likely feel your appetite increase during this period. Even if you’re hungry, remember that your system is not ready to handle solid food. As with week one, do not eat anything with sugar, carbonation, or caffeine in it.

Week Three

During week three, you’ll transition to a diet that incorporates soft food that has been pureed. All food items should be low-fat and free of added sugars. This includes lean proteins and low-fiber veggies.

During this period, you should attempt to boost the amount of protein you’re getting in your diet. You can get this from pureed protein sources like chicken and fish, but you can also get it from plain Greek yogurt, silken tofu, and soft scrambled eggs.

You can also add in mashed bananas, ripe mango, hummus, and mashed avocado. Be sure to avoid overly seasoned food to stop heartburn. As with previous weeks, carbonated drinks and caffeine should be avoided.

Week Four

You’ve made it! During week four, you can finally add some solid foods to your diet. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you get to go back to eating your favorite pre-surgery foods, however.

Week four is a time when you really get to hone your newfound commitment to eating well. Stick with a diet that’s lower in carbohydrates and fatty foods. During this first foray into eating solid foods, you should take it easy on foods that are harder to digest like steak and high-fiber veggies.

You’ll still want to avoid added sugars and high-fat foods, as well as carbonated beverages. Thankfully, you can reincorporate caffeine into your diet! 

Week Five and the Rest of Your Life

Beginning with week five, you’ll want to start experimenting with different foods to see how your body handles them. One thing many people struggle with is getting enough vitamins after gastric sleeve surgery. This is the beginning of the rest of your life and you’ll want to set a goal of eating healthfully and sticking to lean proteins and nutrient-dense fruits and veggies.

Apart from super sugary foods and sodas, you’ll have the ability to indulge pre-surgery delights from time to time. Remember that you’ll always need to avoid empty calories because your small stomach limits the amount of food you can eat.

Loved Learning about the Gastric Sleeve Post-Op Diet?

Getting gastric sleeve surgery will have a huge impact on your health in the future, but it only works as long as you do. You’ll want to make sure to start off slow after surgery and pay careful attention to your gastric sleeve post-op diet to make sure you’re getting vital nutrients. With a little work, you’ll be on your way toward living a longer, healthier life!

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