Dietary Guidelines After Bariatric Surgery

Gastric bypass procedures and other forms of bariatric surgery have proven to be safe and effective weight loss methods for individuals who suffer from severe cases of obesity. Patients who undergo these surgeries, however, must take care to practice appropriate eating strategies and ensure that they get the proper nutrition. The University of California San Francisco recommends adhering to the following nutritional guidelines after bariatric surgery to limit overall calorie intake, prevent dietary deficiencies, and preserve muscle tissue.

What to Eat After Bariatric Surgery

Because of the limitations that bariatric surgery places on your gastrointestinal tract, it is important to eat small portions and keep a daily record of each meal to ensure that it is well balanced. Eliminate sugar and other concentrated sweets from your diet, as these foods offer little nutritional content and can irritate the stomach. Other foods to avoid include alcohol, bread, rice, raw vegetables, fresh fruit, and fruit juices. To better preserve muscle tissue, doctors recommend eating foods rich in protein. These foods include eggs, milk and milk products, tofu and soy products, and meat of all types. However, be aware: although they are excellent sources of protein, many cuts of beef and pork are difficult to chew and digest. For this reason, medical experts recommend sticking to poultry, fish, shellfish, and other animal proteins that are easier on your new anatomy.

Taking Vitamin and Mineral Supplements After Bariatric Surgery

After bariatric surgery, it is absolutely essential that you augment your diet by taking multivitamins and other nutritional supplements. Remember that any pills and capsules must be divided or crushed in order to pass through your altered gastrointestinal system. Talk with your doctor about taking the following supplements:

  • Multivitamins that contain at least 18 mg of iron and 400 mcg of zinc, copper, selenium, and folic acid. Patients with certain deficiencies and women who are still menstruating may require additional iron and/or folic acid.
  • Calcium supplements (1,200 to 2,000 mg each day). Calcium citrate is the preferred form of calcium.
  • Vitamin D supplements [800 to 1,000 International Units (IUs) each day]. Vitamin D should be taken in conjunction with your calcium supplement.
  • Vitamin B12 supplements (500 mcg each day). These supplements come in tablets and in sublingual forms that dissolve under the tongue.

For more information about nutritional needs after bariatric surgery and other issues related to weight loss treatment and surgical procedures, speak with a weight loss clinic doctor. Your doctor can also recommend nutritional supplements that are right for you.