Deciding to undergo weight loss surgery is a big step in taking control of your health. Preparing for your life following gastric sleeve will be exciting yet challenging as you lose weight and your new body emerges. Closely following a pre-op bariatric diet and then a post-op diet after your gastric sleeve surgery is crucial to your weight loss success and your overall health. The diet we require you to follow before and after gastric sleeve is specific and geared toward aiding recovery and avoiding complications.
The Purpose of the Pre-Op Diet
The pre-op diet recommendations will help improve your nutritional status before surgery. An essential goal of the pre-surgery diet is to shrink your liver as fat cells accumulate in and around it. Most patients suffering from obesity have large livers, making gastric sleeve surgery more difficult for your bariatric surgeon and more dangerous for you. Reducing general body fat will make your recovery faster and less painful while also increasing safety.
The pre-op gastric sleeve diet requires you to do the following:
- Reduce calorie intake
- Eat more protein
- Reduce carbohydrate consumption
- Drink more water
Drinking more water and eliminating other beverages like carbonated drinks will help get your body used to the post-op diet. Try to drink at least 64 ounces of water daily and start to eliminate alcohol, soda, juice, energy drinks, and coffee with cream or sugar. Stop drinking fluids with your meals and wait at least 30 minutes to drink water.
Eliminating alcohol and tobacco use will aid your body's natural healing ability and help reduce the risk of complications during and after surgery. By eliminating these habits, you will improve your chance of a comfortable and successful recovery.
2 Weeks Before Gastric Sleeve Surgery
For the pre-operative diet to be successful, it is important to stick to it for the specified period, according to your Body Mass Index. This low-calorie diet is high in protein and low in sugar and fat, with an energy value between 800 and 1,000 kcal per day. It reduces calories and carbohydrates like sweets and starchy foods like potatoes. You will eat primarily lean protein, vegetables, and low- or no-calorie fluids. Patients will consume ready-to-drink or powdered protein shakes that contain at least 20 to 30 grams of protein per serving.
Gastric sleeve patients consume a protein drink for breakfast and lunch. Dinner consists of four or five ounces of lean animal protein like chicken, fish or eggs, steamed vegetables or a salad with a small amount of low-fat dressing or olive oil and vinegar. If needed, you can add a protein drink, bone broth or sugar-free Jell-O. If you use protein powder, you can add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of frozen fruit or mix it with unsweetened coconut or almond milk. Stevia, Splenda, cinnamon and vanilla are acceptable flavorings.
2 Days Prior to Gastric Sleeve Weight Loss Surgery
You may be tempted to have a "special" or larger meal before your bariatric procedure. However, if you do so, this will reduce the liver-reducing effects of your diet. There may be a temptation to have a “special” or larger meal before surgery. However, doing so will reverse the liver-reducing effects of the diet and risk surgery cancellation.
Two days prior to surgery, you will switch to a clear, liquid diet that includes one protein shake, broth, decaffeinated coffee or tea, Jell-O, and sugar-free popsicles. Avoid caffeinated and carbonated beverages. The day before surgery, consume at least 64 ounces of clear liquids only. In addition to water, you can have Gatorade G2, Crystal light, Propel, broth, sugar-free Jell-O, sugar-free or low-sugar juice, coconut water and decaffeinated tea. Do not eat or drink anything for eight to ten hours prior to your procedure.
Gastric Sleeve Post-Op Diet
The gastric sleeve surgery recovery process is crucial for lasting wellness and success. The first week following surgery is vital as it sets the stage for successful weight loss. One of the most important aspects is adjusting to your new lifestyle, which includes a new way of eating and a new diet to produce the new you. After gastric sleeve, you will need to be careful about what you eat to give your body time to heal, get used to your new digestive system and avoid post-op complications.
Use the transition period in the weeks after surgery to become better attuned to your body’s new needs. In addition to allowing your stomach to heal without food stretching it, you’ll get used to eating the smaller amounts of food that your stomach pouch can comfortably and safely digest.
It's essential to strictly follow the post-op diet guidelines following your bariatric surgery. Because you’ll eat less, you must eat the right foods for proper nutrition. Cheating can cause diarrhea, dehydration, constipation, bowel obstruction, or a severe gastric leak.
Week 1 - Post Operation Diet
During the first week after gastric sleeve, your diet will consist entirely of clear liquids. The clear full liquid diet won’t make your stomach do much work, but it will ease the way for the thicker liquids and soft foods that will come after it. This regimen will help you avoid dehydration, bowel obstruction, gastric leaks, diarrhea and constipation and give your body time to heal.
Keep the following in mind:
- Drink plenty of liquids, at least 64 ounces per day
- Don't drink anything with sugar, as it can contribute to dumping syndrome, resulting in severe nausea, fatigue, and even vomiting. Sugary drinks are also full of empty calories
- Avoid caffeine, as it may contribute to acid reflux and dehydration
- Carbonated drinks, even those without sugar, can contribute to gas and bloating
Approved Liquids for Week 1
Some clear liquids are better than others for your first week
- Heavily diluted and approved juices
- Certain broths (e.g., chicken, vegetable, clear beef)
- Sugar-free gelatin
- Sugar-free popsicles or juice bars
- Flavored waters
- Be sure to drink slowly and not rush yourself.
Week 2 - Post-Op Gastric Sleeve Diet (Protein)
During the second week of recovery, you will eat a combination of very soft and highly pureed foods, plus the clear liquid diet from the first week. Your diet may also include decaffeinated coffee or tea and skim or 1% milk. Sip liquids slowly, and don’t use a straw as you could draw unwanted air into your stomach
Some new foods you can begin to consume include:
- Sugar-free pudding
- Thinned applesauce
- Non-fat yogurt
- Very thin creamy soups
- Sugar-free sorbet
- Watery oatmeal
- Non-fat, sugar-free ice cream
You can also begin to consume sugar-free protein shakes to supplement protein intake and nutritional needs, mixing them with non-carbonated liquid.
Your appetite may increase during the second week, but it’s not a reason to eat solid foods. Your digestive system is still healing, and you won't be able to eat solid food safely. Don't push to eat too quickly. Savor your meals and take up to 30 minutes to eat your protein-liquid diet.
Week 3 - Post-Op Gastric Sleeve Diet (Soft Foods)
Variety expands, and so do your eating options. Browse the internet for websites with gastric sleeve post-op diet recipes and tips for this soft food phase of healing. Increasing your protein intake at this stage is essential. If you don't like the taste of pureed food, continue to drink protein shakes or eat eggs daily. Women should have approximately 50-60 grams of protein, while men can have 60-70 grams. Continue to take vitamin supplements and drink plenty of fluids, approximately 48-64 ounces per day.
Lean Meat Protein and Other Foods to Add
- Turkey and chicken breast
- Soft scrambled, soft boiled or poached eggs
- Canned tuna in water
- Fat-free/low-fat cottage cheese
- Creamy soups with minced meat
- Low-sugar Greek yogurt
- Hot cereal
- Softened and unsweetened cereals in skim milk
- Very ripe mango
- Pureed or mashed avocado
- Peeled and cooked pears and peaches
- Canned or cooked vegetables
Introduce nutrient-dense foods slowly to make sure your smaller stomach can handle them. If you have problems, try again a few days later.
Week 4 - Foods & Healthy Snacks
Welcome back to solid food intake. Patients should still take things slowly, as the gastric sleeve procedure was relatively recent. At TBC, we recommend staying in this stage longer, generally from Day 22 to Day 40, to give your body more time to heal. Your diet from the previous stage remains, although you can continue adding soft foods slowly, emphasizing lean meats and protein. Among the foods you can add are:
- Lean lunch meats
- Ground, finely chopped well-cooked chicken, turkey or fish
- Soft, low-fat cheese, chewed well
- Soft, cooked vegetables
- Black, kidney, pinto, and lima beans, plus lentils
- Mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Peanut butter
Somewhere around days 30 to 35, you can begin to add small pieces of soft raw vegetables and fresh fruit.
Protein is essential in your new healthy diet as it makes you feel full and keeps your body working normally. Eat low-fat, high-protein food with each meal. Avoid tough meats or those full of fat like bacon, sausage, and hot dogs. If you can’t chew food thoroughly, don’t swallow it, as it may block your stoma.
Savor your meals and always chew thoroughly, eating between ½ and ¾ cup of food at a time. Stay well-hydrated by drinking water between meals. It’s important to drink water throughout the day as this practice will also help you lose weight and avoid overeating. Don't drink during meals as your food may not digest properly.·
Gastric Sleeve Diet Long-Term Recommendations
At about Day 40, you can gradually start experimenting with different textured solid foods. Avoid bread, rice, pasta, chia seeds, nuts, and crispy food like boxed cereal or crackers until sometime in the second or third month, as well as red meats to avoid stomach upset. Hard-to-digest foods like steak may take longer before you can tolerate them. Although you do not need to eat pureed foods, make sure your choices are tender and well-chewed. Stop eating when you feel full.
Add new foods one at a time. If you can’t tolerate one, try again in one to two weeks. Be careful with dairy foods, as these may give you cramps, bloating, or diarrhea. Remain attuned to how your body reacts to all foods.
Foods/Beverages to Continue Avoiding After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
After bariatric surgery, it's a generally good idea to avoid foods like:
- Potato chips
- Beef jerky/tough meats
- Dried fruit
- Sugary sweets and drinks
- Strong spices
- Caffeinated beverages
- High-fat foods
- Sticky rice
- Junk foods
- Carbonated beverages
Avoiding these foods will help you develop healthy eating habits to reduce excess body weight while preventing pain and discomfort and making you more successful on your weight loss journey. Continue to take recommended vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure your long-term health.
You can enjoy a healthy lifestyle if you observe the above tips before and after your gastric sleeve operation.
For more information about gastric sleeve surgery and how it can benefit you, contact our weight loss surgery center today at 800-970-0577 or use our convenient email form.