Thursday, 21 May 2015

What to eat after gastric bypass surgery

Just yesterday, a listener texted in a great question to the Tommy Schnurmacher (CJAD 800 am) about eating after gastric bypass surgery. Unfortunately, this is a tough question to answer in a few sound bites and I could not answer it as well as I had liked- so here is an expanded version!

(To hear my complete discussion with Tommy, click here. To hear my quick response to the gastric bypass question go to minute 9).

Firstly, nothing can replace or get you the answers you need, better than a consultation with a registered dietitian who specializes in gastric surgery recovery. However, the sad truth is that in Montreal and more generally, in Canada, there are very few resources available to people undergoing gastric surgery. This includes very limited access to a dietitian to help you prepare pre-surgery, recover quickly after surgery and help you manage weight loss once you are fully recovered.

Despite not knowing the callers' (or your) specific health/food information, I will try my best to expand on my answer given in the interview.

In general, there is a "postoperative" or recovery period of about 4 weeks that starts after surgery. In this period of time, what is recommended to be eaten is different than what you will be eating for the rest of your life. It is a temporary way of eating to maximize the recovering tissue.
Here is a very general overview of what the recommendations are as of 2011. You can click on the picture to access the entire pdf booklet.


This guide DOES NOT replace a consultation with a registered dietitian. Dietitians don't like giving out pamphlets (me included) that can be used instead of a personalised consultation since they can be misunderstood. HOWEVER, due to the disgraceful lack of resources available on the topic, I figured some information written by expert dietitians is better than no info or worse, wrong info. 

At about 5 weeks after surgery, you will probably be ready to start eating in a new "normal" way.
In general, it is important to eat three meals a day, and protein snacks as needed, to obtain optimal nutritional intake and avoid slowing down your metabolism.
A big part of the information given after the recovery period deals with helping you physically get and keep the food down so things like chewing well, avoiding eating and drinking at the same time, not lying down after meals.
As for food information, the focus is still on protein. This has nothing to do with low carb dieting and has everything to do with adequate protein for surgery recovery. A gradual focus on to a more balanced diet that includes grains, fruits and vegetable must take place over time. Of course, portion sizes are NOT THE SAME as on the food guide since the stomach is now much smaller.

There is a lifetime regimen of vitamins and minerals that must be taken as well as blood tests to
ensure that the amounts of these vitamins/minerals are right for you. This is in part due to the low amount of food you can eat as well as (depending on your surgery) a lower amount of certain nutrients being absorbed in your gut.


Here are a few more resources that appear to be from reliable sources:

http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/dietary_guidelines_after_gastric_bypass/

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000173.htm

http://www.uhn.ca/docs/HealthInfo/Shared%20Documents/Eating_for_Health_after_Gastric_Bypass_Surgery.pdf

https://www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org/-/media/Brochures/TuftsMC/Patient%20Care%20Services/Departments%20and%20Services/Weight%20and%20Wellness%20Center/GBP%20Diet%20Manual12611.ashx

I hope this helps! If you want more information, feel free to contact me at lisa@custom-nutrition.com
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