Diet for gastric sleeve
Gastric sleeve surgery is one of the bariatric surgeries that help patients with obesity lose weight. This surgery minimizes the size of the stomach to limit food intake. However, a good diet plays a crucial role in gaining good results. The gastric sleeve diet plays a big part in both weight loss and healing. Diet should start a few weeks before the surgery.
Preparing for the surgery
The surgeon will have to lift the patient’s liver to reach the stomach during gastric sleeve surgery. Obese people often suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver. This disease increases the size of the liver and raises the risks of post-op complications.
Fortunately, it is possible to reduce the size of the liver fast with a good diet. A diet to reduce the size of the liver should start about two to three weeks before the surgery.
Pre-gastric sleeve diet
Pre gastric sleeve diet is a strict low-calorie diet. This diet aims to reduce the intake of calories as well as carbs. You will be asked to:
- Decrease your calorie intake: You need to lose weight before surgery. Thus, it is essential to reduce calorie intake before surgery.
- Reduce carbs: It is important to avoid eating carbohydrate-rich foods such as sweets and potatoes, pastry, rice, bread, etc. Limiting carbs can significantly affect your weight loss and liver size reduction.
- Eat more protein: You should have around 60 grams of protein every day. You can have more meat or go for plant-based protein foods. Red meat, fish, and poultry are good options. Oats, lentils, broccoli, and green peas are good vegetarian alternatives for your pre-gastric sleeve diet if you do not eat meat.
- Go for healthy fats: Instead of eliminating fats, eat small amounts of healthy fats. Some of the good choices are olive oil, fish meat, oil, raw nuts, and avocado.
- Drink a lot of water: You need to keep your body hydrated to improve your metabolism and stay full longer.
Your doctor will tell you the suitable calorie count of your pre-gastric sleeve diet. But on average, most doctors recommend consuming 800 to 1200 calories daily. You should follow this diet for at least a couple of weeks before the surgery.
The liquid diet before gastric sleeve
Several days before the surgery, it is necessary to stop eating solid food and switch to a liquid diet. The allowed foods will include:
- Unsweetened gelatin, and
- Decaffeinated coffee and tea
At the same time, you need to avoid some types of drinks like:
- Caffeinated beverages
- Carbonated drinks such as soda
You can be allowed to drink a medium protein shake per day, but you need to ask your surgeon before including this in your pre-gastric sleeve diet.
Diet after gastric sleeve
After gastric sleeve surgery, your stomach will be quite sensitive. To let it heal properly, you need to follow a special diet. Post gastric sleeve diet changes weekly till the 5th or the 6th week following the operation.
Week 1 after gastric sleeve
During the first week following the surgery, you will have to stay on the same clear liquid diet. Limiting your diet to clear liquids for this week will help you decrease the risks of many possible complications such as gastric leakage and diarrhea.
During the first week, you need to:
1- Drink a lot of water and stay hydrated. To avoid dehydration, you can set alarms to remind yourself to drink. You can also take a sip of water every half hour. You need to drink around two to three liters of water daily.
2- Avoid any sweetened beverages. Sugars can have harmful effects on your health and cause complications like nausea.
3- Avoid caffeinated drinking drinks. Consuming caffeine at this point may lead to acid reflux. Moreover, caffeine may cause dehydration, and you need to stay hydrated.
4- Avoid carbonated drinks, even the ones without sugar. Carbonated drinks could cause bloating and gases.
5- Take some vitamins and supplements.
Week 2 after gastric sleeve
During the second week, the patients will still have to follow the exact instructions of the first week. During the 2nd week after surgery, the gastric sleeve diet should still consist of only liquid foods. The only difference is that some extra foods will be added to the diet.
During the second week of the surgery, it will be possible to drink:
- Protein powder shakes (only if mixed with non-carbonated liquids)
- Unsweetened gelatin or pudding
- Some soups
- Unsweetened fat-free yogurt
- Fruit juices without the pulp diluted with water
- Applesauce thinned with water
- Low or fat-free milk
Week 3 after gastric sleeve
When the 3rd week begins, it will be possible to start including real food in your gastric sleeve diet. However, it is possible only to add mashed and soft food at this point. When eating mashed food, eating slowly and chewing well is essential. Furthermore, the food needs to contain good protein (more than 60 grams a day).
Some examples of what you can eat are:
- Ground meat
- Cooked and boiled vegetables
- Mashed ripe banana
- Cottage cheese
- Mashed avocado
- Ground fish-meat
- Flakes or shredded tuna meat.
Keep in mind that eating these foods does not mean you can eat as much as you want. Introducing new foods should be gradual, like one food at a time to see how the body responds to each food. The meals should contain small portions only.
Week 4 after gastric sleeve
During the 4th week of the surgery, it is time to start including solid foods in your gastric sleeve diet. Being able to add solid foods at this point does not mean that the new stomach has fully healed. The sleeve is still sensitive, so it is essential to keep eating small portions slowly and chew well.
It is better to start by adding low-fat and low-sugar solid foods. The stomach may find fatty and sugary foods hard to digest. Some of the foods that may be suitable now are:
- Fruits like bananas and strawberry
- Soft meat (well-cooked fish or chicken)
- Cooked vegetables
- Low-fat cheese
- Sweet potatoes
Foods like whole dairy products, nuts, and white potatoes should still be avoided for a longer time.
Gastric sleeve diet beyond the 4th week after surgery
From now on, it will be possible to eat solid foods. This will be the time to create healthy eating habits to begin losing weight in the long term. The diet should still provide a significant portion of protein and vegetables. Sugary foods should be avoided for a while and limited afterward.
It is recommended to start taking vitamins and minerals supplements to avoid any nutrient deficiencies. Consuming sugary foods or carbonated drinks can be created gradually but only in small amounts.
Gastric sleeve eating tips
Gastric sleeve surgery helps the patient lose weight by reducing the size of the stomach. However, eating the same way as before the surgery will enlarge the sleeve and cause weight gain.
To lose more weight and benefit from the surgery, you should follow these guidelines:
- You should chew your food well. Doctors recommend chewing around 25 to 30 times when eating solid foods and small bites when eating pureed foods.
- You should eat very slowly. Each meal should take 20 to 30 minutes to make you feel full longer.
- Try using small plates when eating. This can give you a psychological suggestion that you ate a full plate and prevent you from overeating.
- Avoid eating deep fry foods or limiting them to small amounts.
- Go for lean meats when cooking.
- Try to reduce saturated fats in your food (limit foods like sausages, ice cream, cheese, butter, cured meats, etc.)
- You should wait for about 30 minutes after eating to drink water (to avoid vomiting and feeling hunger soon).
- It is better to avoid fibrous vegetables because they may be hard to digest during the first weeks.
Eating too fast after gastric sleeve.
When you eat too fast, you will eat more than you planned, and this can cause you to overeat. Furthermore, eating fast will make you feel hungry sooner.
How important is the pre gastric sleeve diet?
The pre-op diet is vital to decrease the size of the liver. Shrinking the liver can reduce the risks of the surgery and cause fewer complications.
Why a liquid diet after a gastric sleeve?
Right after the surgery, you will have a sensitive new stomach. Eating solid food will scratch your stomach and interfere with the healing process. On the other hand, a liquid diet will be easy to digest and does not scratch the sleeve.
A healthy gastric sleeve diet before and after surgery will help you recover well. You will have fewer complications during recovery. It is also essential to achieve optimal body weight. After a while, you will be able to eat unhealthy food. But keep in mind that resuming your old eating habits will result in weight gain.