Obesity & Bariatric Surgery

Diet Before and After Bariatric Surgery
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Diet before and after bariatric surgery has a major role in contributing to the overall outcome of bariatric surgery. The dietician helps in charting out the diet plan before and after the surgery. The diet has a huge impact on the individual’s health, his or her nutritional status and the extent of healthy weight loss. It is mandatory that one sticks to the diet as advised and also reviews with the dietician on a regular basis thereby facilitating the desired progress and outcome.

Diet before Bariatric surgery:

The pre surgery diet aids in weight loss prior to the surgery and also accustoms one’s body to the diet pattern which has to be followed after the surgery. This diet is a low calorie diet which includes semi solid foods and liquids including soups, juices, porridges, gruels, broths and other beverages. Calorie rich foods are completely avoided during this stage, including sugar.

The basic pattern followed here is to take restricted quantities of low calorie foods at frequent intervals. Special care is given to each individual according to his or her tastes and preferences, but at the same time making sure they stick within the boundaries. It is also ensured that each individual is guided and assisted as per their body’s reaction to the change in diet pattern. Health supplements are also provided during this phase to aid in fat burning and maintenance of health.

Diet after Bariatric surgery:

This is a gradual process and it will take a while for one’s body to get habituated to this diet. As it involves a “new” stomach, food has to be introduced progressively as per dietary norms and tolerance level of the individual. A gist of the diet pattern to be followed after surgery is mentioned below: 

1. Clear Liquid Diet

This diet is introduced post surgery and is continued for a few days after surgery. Low calorie clear liquids like clear soups and broths, juices, whey water, starch water, tender coconut water and other such liquid feeds are provided. The clear liquids are started off in small amounts and are gradually increased as it progresses. The frequency is also increased as per the individual’s tolerance. Health supplements (which can be taken in liquid form) are also given during this stage.

2. Mashed (Blended) Diet

This diet succeeds the Clear Liquid Diet and it is followed for approximately a fortnight. This includes low calorie thick liquids, semi solids, blended and pureed foods.  Clear liquids are also a part of the diet at this stage. The portion size and frequency are set as per diet protocol and the individual’s tolerance. Health supplements are also given.

3. Soft or Semi Solid Diet

The mashed diet is followed by the Soft, Semi Solid Diet. This diet includes low calorie soft and easily digestible solids, semi solids, porridges, gruels, soups, broths, juices, blended and pureed foods and liquids. This diet is adhered to till the individual can tolerate the foods which are in daily use. Tolerance to each food differs individually. Diet restrictions are to be followed specifically as instructed. Health supplements are given during this stage and further continued till the individual is nutritionally stable

4. Normal Diet

After a few months following surgery, once the individual’s body has acclimatized itself to the modified diet pattern and is also nutritionally stable, the supplements are gradually withdrawn. A balanced diet with a small frequent meal pattern is to be maintained thereafter. Food should be eaten at a slow pace and chewed well. Lifestyle changes including exercise are needed for optimal results.