In gastric sleeve surgery, approximately 60-80% of the patient’s stomach is removed. As per the study titled Nutrition Care for Patients Undergoing Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy for Weight Loss by Gabrielle Snyder-Marlow, published in the April 2010 issue of the Journal of American Dietetic Association, the remaining portion of the stomach holds around 10 ounces of food. This means that following a well-formulated gastric sleeve diet plan after your surgery is pivotal to your success and health.
If you have failed at diets before, this might sound daunting. But don’t worry – gastric sleeve surgery is designed to help you succeed at dieting. That part of the stomach in which the hunger inciting hormone called ghrelin is produced is removed in the surgery. Thus, a gastric sleeve diet plan becomes easier to follow.
Progression of Gastric Sleeve Diet
Immediately After the Surgery
- It is suggested that patients take only liquids for the first two days after the surgery.
First Two Weeks After the Surgery
- In this stage, it is recommended that the patients take strict liquid diet consisting of skimmed milk, soya milk, clear soups, protein shakes and plain yogurt.
- Post-op patients should refrain from adding sugar and sweeteners.
From the Third to the Eighth Week
- In this stage, the patients can graduate to pureed, pulverized foods.
- Patients can have blenderized scrambled eggs, pureed meat and poultry with a low-cal stew, mashed potatoes, pureed cooked vegetables, fat-free soups, and soft fruits such as bananas, peaches and mangoes.
- If in this stage your body shows intolerance to pureed foods, regress to liquid diets and try again after a few days.
Postoperative Gastric Sleeve Diet Plan – Guidelines
Below are some important rules of the thumb for a successful postoperative gastric sleeve diet plan:
Eat Small Meals
- As mentioned, with a huge portion of your stomach gone, your stomach’s capacity will literally shrink to around a fourth of what it used to be.
- You need to listen to your body. When your stomach feels full, it’s full!
- This is a very important thing to remember while planning your diet after gastric sleeve.
- Do not forget that your reduced stomach can stretch if you overeat, resulting in weight regain.
Eat Five to Six Times a Day
- Though you may be used to eating three big meals a day, a good gastric sleeve diet after surgery entails that you eat small portions multiple times a day.
- These meals should be rich in nutrients but not in calories.
- Cheese, red meats and oily foods will be hard for your body to digest.
- Your diet after gastric sleeve surgery should be replete with vegetables, whole wheat foods, and other healthier options.
- The surgery actually helps you crave healthier options because the rich-in-calorie junk foods that you used to consume prior to the surgery no longer seem appetizing.
- It is important that you eat slowly while following a post-op gastrectomy sleeve diet.
- It takes time for your stomach to communicate to your brain that it’s full, which is one reason people tend to overeat.
- You should take around 20 minutes to eat each meal so that you can have more time to know when you’re full.
Avoid Drinking and Eating at the Same Time
- As previously mentioned, your stomach is a lot smaller after the surgery and, thus, has a smaller capacity.
- Eating and drinking at the same time fill up your stomach too quickly. Part of a successful post-op gastric sleeve diet requires that you drink and eat at different times.
- You can still take a few sips of water to help the food go down but refrain from drinking a whole glass of water with your meal.
Take Your Nutritional Supplements
- It is always better that you get all of your nutrients from the food you eat but that’s not always possible.
- As a part of your gastric sleeve diet, you should consider taking dietary supplements to make sure your body receives all the nutrients it needs. Take supplements with ample vitamin B12, vitamin D and iron.
- Women should also take calcium supplements.
Avoid Alcohol, and Sugary Drinks and Foods
- Too much sugar will alter your blood sugar levels.
- Keeping your blood sugar levels under control is pertinent to your gastric sleeve diet plan.
- You should not consume more than 10 grams of sugar per meal.
- Wean yourself off alcohol. Alcohol never goes well with a vertical sleeve gastric diet or any diet for that matter.
Following the aforementioned guidelines will help you build a better post-op gastric sleeve diet plan. How and when you eat after your surgery are crucial to your successfully losing weight.
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