If you are really quiet, you might be able to hear the sound of a post-bariatric surgery patient getting sick because they ate something they shouldn’t have eaten. I’ve seen it happen so frequently among the bariatric community, and I have also succumbed to the lure of forbidden foods after my surgery. Yes, there are foods you need to avoid after bariatric surgery. While the foods vary greatly from person to person, generally, you’ll want to avoid foods that will make you sick, contribute to weight gain or jeopardize your physical safety. The risks of eating one of these types of food include things like dumping syndrome, blockages, vomiting or diarrhea. However, don’t dwell on the things you can’t have. Instead, focus on the new life that comes with weight loss. The foods you to need to avoid after bariatric surgery are ones that make you sick, contribute to weight gain or cause you physical harm.
Foods You Need to Avoid After Bariatric Surgery Vary By Person
Just like all of us are unique individuals with our own talents, likes, dislikes, phobias, personalities and looks, how you respond to foods after surgery is going to be unique to you. Some people after bariatric surgery have no problems with most foods. Other people struggle with certain foods or food groups. This reason is one of the many reasons why you follow a strict post-op diet for the first few months after surgery. Starting with clear liquids and progressing through full liquids, pureed food, soft foods and finally the regular bariatric diet, this progression slowly allows you to try foods and see how your stomach and body handle them.
In my own personal journey, there are very few foods that I cannot tolerate. Tough meat like pork chops can be painful, so I avoid those types of foods. I also avoid foods high in sugar and fat because they make me feel lethargic and bloated. I also avoid any carbonation. Sometimes, if I eat too many carbs, I get sick. It’s one of the many reasons I try to limit my carbohydrates.
The foods you need to avoid after bariatric surgery vary person to person. I know some people who can’t eat eggs anymore, and I have them every morning for breakfast. I know other bariatric patients who have no problems drinking carbonated beverages, yet it makes me bloated and unwell. When it comes to eating post-bariatric surgery, there are three main types of foods you need to avoid.
Type #1: Foods That Make You Sick
The first type of foods you need to avoid after bariatric surgery are ones that make you sick. Obviously, if something is making you vomit or is giving you diarrhea, you need to avoid those foods. Generally, you’ll need to avoid foods that are high in fat and high in sugar. According to Long Term Management of Patients After Weight Loss Surgery from the National Institute of Health, foods high in fat and sugar can cause dumping syndrome. We will discuss dumping syndrome later in this post, but for now, know that you want to avoid this side effect at all costs. Not only is it uncomfortable and can be gross, but it also puts you at a greater risk of dehydration.
Type #2: Foods That Contribute to Weight Gain
Time for a dose of truth here: If you go back to how you ate before surgery, you’re going to gain weight. Let me repeat that for those in the back: If you return to your old eating habits from before surgery, you are going to regain the weight you lost. In order for you to maintain your weight loss, there are foods you need to avoid after bariatric surgery. These foods are ones that contribute to weight gains, like alcohol, empty calories (i.e. cookies, cakes, chips, pretzels), simple carbohydrates, fast food, fried food and soda.
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Right now you’re trying to picture your life without some of these foods. I know that some of these are your comfort foods. Trust me, I get it. You’re worried about how you’re going to cope without being able to turn to your old trusty comforts. I’ll be honest with you, it’s not easy. There are some days where I do give in and turn to food again for comfort. However, I know how far I have come. I know that I never want to return to that person I was 235 pounds heavier. And so, I close the bag of chips, I dig deep for internal strength, and I move on. You can do it too. I promise you it’s worth the sacrifice.
Type #3: Foods That Jeopardize Your Safety
The third types of foods you need to avoid after bariatric surgery are the ones that jeopardize your safety. In other words, there are some foods out there that can cause blockages in your stomach, leading to emergency situations. Tough, grisly meats are a no go after surgery. They are super hard to chew, and chances are you aren’t going to chew them well enough. I made the mistake once of having a pork chop that was overcooked and dry, and I got so much pain in my stomach, it made me dry-heave. Other foods that could have a similar effect are highly-fibrous vegetables, like raw broccoli and celery. Cooked broccoli may be okay if it’s cooked long enough.
Don’t Dwell on What You Can’t Have
So the three types of foods you need to avoid after surgery are the ones that will make you sick, cause you to gain weight or jeopardize your safety. Phoenix Health has a good list of foods to avoid on its Web site:
- Food with empty calories
- Dry foods
- Bread, rice and pasta
- Fibrous fruits and vegetables
- Foods high in fat
- Sugary and highly-caffeinated drinks
- Tough meats
This list may sound like a lot. It may sound overbearing and difficult. It is. There is nothing easy about weight loss surgery. You have to be dedicated and disciplined in order to succeed with weight loss surgery. But don’t dwell on it. Don’t dwell on the things you can’t have. Instead, focus on all the things you’ll be able to do in a smaller body. Simple things like fitting in booths at a restaurant or finding clothing in your size at a store are ones that you shouldn’t take for granted. Bariatric surgery is worth the sacrifice. YOU are worth it. You can do this. I know you can. I was once where you are. Trust me when I say that it’s worth it.
Risks of Eating The Forbidden Foods
There may come in time in your bariatric journey where you have a weak moment and eat a portion of food you know you shouldn’t have. In fact, it’s almost bound to happen. I don’t know any bariatric patient who follows all the rules 100 percent of the time. However, the most successful bariatric patients I know are the ones who follow the rules 90 percent of the time. So what happens when the eat those foods during that 10 percent of the time? Well, there’s a little thing called dumping syndrome.
If you’ve never heard of dumping syndrome, it is a side effect of eating the foods you need to avoid after bariatric surgery, especially ones high in sugar and fat. It happens when the food slides too fast through your pouch and dumps straight into the small intestines. It can cause a variety of symptoms, like vomiting, diarrhea, heart palpitations, stomach cramping and extreme tiredness. It’s more common in gastric bypass patients, but gastric sleeve patients can experience it too.
You also run the risk of dehydration and constipation, as well as creating blockages in your stomach that require surgery. You should try to follow the rules for nutrition given by your doctor all of the time after surgery. However, know that if you do consume something you shouldn’t, you can have some very unpleasant side effects.
Foods You Need to Avoid After Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery will change your life. There’s no doubt about it. One of the things that will change in your life are the foods you need to avoid after bariatric surgery. These include foods that will make you sick or cause dumping syndrome, especially those foods high in sugar and fat. You should also avoid foods that contribute to weight gains, like alcohol, fried food, fast food and simple carbohydrates. Lastly, avoid foods that pose a safety risk, like tough, grisly meats, dry foods and highly fibrous vegetables. By following these rules, you are ensuring your tool will work properly and will gain a whole new life because of it. Don’t dwell on what you can’t have, celebrate all you will be able to do with a new body.
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1. Foods that make you sick or cause dumping syndrome, like cookies, cake, donuts, ice cream and chips.
2. Foods that contribute to weight gains, like fried foods, fast foods and simple carbohydrates
3. Foods that jeopardize your safety, like tough, grisly meats and fibrous vegetables