Diet Information After Weight Loss Surgery
Gastric Bypass Diet and Eating Guidelines After Stomach Reduction Operation

Diet and Eating After Gastric Bypass

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Long Term Diet After Weight Loss Surgery - Questions About Gastric Bypass Diet

Eating After Gastric Bypass Operation

Bariatric bypass surgeries have a major impact on the diet and eating habits of all patients. If you are considering having weight loss surgery, here are some brief guidelines about the dietary and food consequences you may expect.

New Digestive System After Stomach Bypass Surgery Needs New Diet
Obese patients who have a gastric bypass operation wake up with a totally new digestive system. Instead of being able to eat as much food as they like, and have it pass through a normal-sized stomach then into their small intestine for digestion, patients are told to change completely both the amount and type of diet foods they eat.

1. Stomach Reduction Means Eat Less
The gastric bypass operation has shrunk their stomach from melon-size to egg-size. This means the volume of digested food that the new stomach pouch can hold is reduced from about 1 quart to about 1 ounce, or 2 tablespoons. So gastric bypass patients must learn new diet habits - in particular they must learn to eat less and avoid drinking liquids at mealtimes.

2. Stomach and Intestine Bypass Means Eat Slowly Avoid High Sugar/Fat
The bariatric surgery has bypassed the remainder of the stomach and a sizeable length of duodenum and jejunum in the small intestine. This means that normal eating will cause undigested food to pass too quickly (ie. get "dumped") into the remaining small intestine. So stomach bypass patients must learn how to eat more slowly and chew food more thoroughly. In addition, they must avoid sugary, high-carb or high-fat foods.

Gastric Bypass Diet - From Clear Liquids to Low Fat Solids

Post-Operative Healing and Diet
Due to the new digestive system after bypass, patients need to follow a special restrictive diet that is designed to be gentle both on the new stomach pouch and intestinal bypass limb that carries their food from the stomach pouch to the remaining part of their small intestine. As healing progresses, the diet plan becomes less restrictive and gradually includes a wider range of food options. It starts with clear liquids only, and progresses in stages to low-fat solid foods. How quickly patients can progress through these stages is dependent upon their individual post-operative health condition and the advice of their doctor and dietitian.

Gastric Bypass Diet Similar to Child Eating
Some bariatric dietitians compare a stomach bypass diet with the typical eating patterns of a 3-4 year old child.

  • Small children eat very small amounts of food. For weight-loss-surgery patients this is essential because of their shrunken stomach-contents.
  • Small children eat ordinary food, like adults, although the food is typically chopped up for easy digestion. The same type of eating approach holds true for patients after bypass operations.
  • Parents of small children take care to provide a healthy balanced diet without any "junk" food. In the same way, bypass patients must take good care to ensure that they choose healthy foods without wasting stomach space on empty-calorie or non-nutritious foods.

Special Gastric Bypass Diet is for Life
Unlike small children, who gradually eat greater quantities of food as they grow up, stomach bypass patients must follow a restricted eating plan FOR LIFE. Their new stomach and digestive system will never be able to cope with normal adult dietary habits. Although some bariatric bypass surgeries can be "reversed", such a reversal carries additional health risks and weight regain is a major consequence.

Can You Cope With a Restricted Diet After Gastric Bypass?
If you are suffering from morbid class 3 obesity, you may be tempted to see bariatric surgery (like roux-en-y, or biliopancreatic diversion bypass) as the solution to your weight-related health problems. If so, be aware that while gastrointestinal surgery does NOT cure obesity. It merely forces you to reduce your food and calorie intake, causing short-term weight reduction. In the long term however, successful permanent weight loss depends on your ability to comply with the dietary restrictions referred to above.

Note: Gastrointestinal weight loss surgery, whether bypass or stomach banding, to reduce severe clinical obesity is a serious undertaking requiring detailed consultation with your doctor and bariatric physician. In particular, it necessitates significant lifelong changes to patients dietary and eating habits.


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