Naturally, bariatric surgery impacts the digestive system. Often removing not only the stomach but also parts of the small intestine, bariatric procedures change your appetite and can also affect your nutrient absorption. After you have had a bariatric procedure, nutrition should be one of your top priorities to ensure you are obtaining the nutrients you need. All post-bariatric patients should take a bariatric-friendly multivitamin, but your nutrition shouldn’t just stop there. Here are ideal foods that can benefit the bariatric digestive system.
If you are restricting the amount of carbohydrates in your diet as many do after surgery, low carb vegetables are what you want to focus on. Many low carb vegetables are also packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals. Examples of low carb vegetables include spinach, kale, zucchini, green beans, eggplant, radishes, and tomatoes.1 If you have difficulty digesting raw vegetables, you can lightly steam or roast them to avoid uncomfortable indigestion. Keep in mind, not all vegetables are low in carbohydrates. High carbohydrate vegetables include things like corn, peas, and potatoes.
While the body undergoes rapid weight loss, protein intake is vital. If protein intake is low during weight loss, the body will begin to pull from the muscle to meet its needs, leaving your body weak. Protein intake per patient can vary, especially depending on the type of procedure. The average patient aims for 60-80 grams of protein per day, which may be difficult on a restricted calorie diet.2 Therefore, finding high protein and low-calorie foods are essential. Here are 5 high protein foods to incorporate into your diet:
- Alaskan or Atlantic Salmon (low mercury level)– 7 g of protein per oz3
- Scallops (low mercury level)– 6 g of protein per oz3
- Turkey – 8 g of protein per oz
- Tofu – 10 g of protein per ½ cup
- Eggs – 6 g of protein in one egg
Although “superfoods” aren’t a technical nutrition term, it generally refers to nutrient dense plant foods. Because of the restricted caloric intake, bariatric patients must carefully decide what they are going to spend their calories on. Choosing nutrient dense foods are a great way to glean as many nutrients as possible from a food item. Here are some of the top superberries to look out for:
- Golden Berries
- Acai Berries
Speaking of fruit…
One exception to the “superfood” rule is wine, and any other alcohol. Because the effect of alcohol is impacted by how quickly it is absorbed in the gut, alcohol should ideally be avoided after bariatric surgery to avoid intoxication.4 Not only is the risk for intoxication increased, but alcohol has the highest number of calories per gram than any other food group, making weight loss more difficult if consumed often.
Because bariatric diets are very different from non-bariatric diets, don’t lose your focus on fad diets or new nutrient shakes that your friends are raving about. Your body has unique needs, be sure to always put your health first by focusing on healthy vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins. Cheers to a healthier you!
- Brown R. Fruits & Vegetables after Bariatric Surgery. Obesity Action Coalition. https://www.obesityaction.org/community/article-library/fruits-vegetables-after-bariatric-surgery/. Accessed October 31, 2018.
- Life After Bariatric Surgery. American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. https://asmbs.org/patients/life-after-bariatric-surgery. Accessed October 31, 2018.
- Perry C. The Best High-Protein Seafood Options. Muscle & Fitness. https://www.muscleandfitness.com/muscle-fitness-hers/hers-nutrition/best-high-protein-seafood-options. Accessed October 31, 2018.
- Eight foods to avoid after bariatric surgery. Phoenix Health. https://www.phoenix-health.co.uk/foods-to-avoid-after-bariatric-surgery/. Accessed October 31, 2018.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.