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Stages of Dieting for Bariatric Patients

Before you undergo gastric bypass, you need to find out if you are a good candidate for the surgery. This will involve understanding what to expect from the procedure and the role that a diet may play. Adults eligible for the surgery will typically have a BMI (body mass index) of more than 35, and candidates will usually be more than 100 pounds overweight. This includes those who face health risks due to their weight. 


Adopting New Dietary Habits


Most people who get gastric bypass do so after trying and failing to lose weight through lifestyle changes. One thing that bariatric patients will need to learn is new dietary habits. Your new diet will help ensure that your surgery achieves lifelong positive effects. Before bariatric surgery, you will find out about the special diet you need to follow before and after the procedure. 


The Pre-Surgery Diet


Diet before the surgery is largely geared towards reducing the fat in and around the patient’s abdomen and liver. This will help reduce the risk of developing complications. Losing weight before bariatric surgery can allow you to undergo a laparoscopy instead of open surgery. The pre-surgery diet will also help you become accustomed to new food and new eating habits. 


A Post-Surgery Diet


Bariatric patients receive diet guidelines that will help them to maintain their new body weight. The post-surgery diet is planned in several phases for them to meet the requirements of the smaller stomach. The diet that helps in recovery is customized for each patient, and it involves different stages. The healthcare provider will determine how long each stage will last. 


Stage One: Liquid Diet


The first stage of the post-surgery diet is the liquid diet. The liquid diet is geared towards helping the body heal. For the first few days, the bariatric patient will be allowed a few ounces of liquid at a time. The clear liquids will help heal the stomach without stretching it. Later, you can move on to liquids like skim milk, decaffeinated tea or coffee, and unsweetened fruit juice.


Stage Two: Pureed Diet

The second stage consists of pureed foods. These are foods that have a thick consistency. Most foods can be pureed easily using a blender or food processor. Avoid spices that may irritate the stomach. You should also avoid fruits that have many seeds and vegetables that are too fibrous.


Stage Three: Soft Food Diet

During the third stage, the patient can introduce soft foods into the diet. These foods are easy to chew and include ground meat, soft-boiled eggs, and baked or steamed fish. It is very important to take small bites and to eat a little portion at a time.


Stage Four: Solid Food

The fourth stage involves the reintroduction of solid foods into the diet. This will usually begin about two months after the surgery. It is important to remember that the stomach is much smaller, so food should be consumed in small bites. Large bites can result in blockage.


Four months after surgery, the patient can resume normal eating but in small portions. Make sure that you introduce any new foods slowly. This will help you determine the foods that you can tolerate and those to avoid.


To learn more about dieting for bariatric patients, call Clarity Surgical and Weight Loss Solutions in Huntington Station or Rockville Centre, New York at (516) 259-2525 to schedule a consultation today.