As gastric sleeve surgery affects the stomach and the digestion it only makes sense that the physicians recommend a specific nutritional gastric sleeve diet not only after the procedure but before as well. It is always good to eat healthy and avoid fast food, fried items, alcohol or other stomach irritants but it is necessary for anyone that is opting to go in for gastric surgery. After the procedure, there isn’t a defined meal plan but there are guidelines that can be used to ease the transition on your body from this radical surgery. Using the guidelines to carve out healthy eating habits that can be continued throughout life will not only help during the recovery but it will have lasting health effects that can be built upon.
Gastric Sleeve Pre-Op Diet
For the two weeks before surgery, the patient is encouraged to be on a liquid and soft food diet that progressively decrease the size of the stomach and digestive organs. It is important that proper nutrition be maintained to keep optimal health before surgery and this requires supplementing with liquid protein supplements. A general guideline is 2 liquid protein meals and one soup meal for the other meal, trying to avoid heavy cream soups.
There are certain soft foods that are alright to consume and they include: cottage cheese, tofu, low-fat dairy and Greek yogurt (great for protein). The more vigilant the patient can be with this prep the better prepared the organs will be for surgery and increase an effective recovery.
Gastric Sleeve Post-Op Diet
Immediately following the gastric sleeve surgery the patient will have to restrict their intact to clear liquids. Getting enough nutrition on clear liquids is not an easy task and because of the surgery it may not be pleasant to consume anything. It therefore becomes important for them to pace themselves and drink fluids consistently over an extended period of time.
- After about a week the patient should still be getting most of their nutrition from liquid foods but the variety can be increased to include juices, cream soups, milk and protein drinks.
- For the first month after undergoing gastric sleeve surgery the patient should not consume solid foods but can graduate after a week to a puree or smoothie like consistency. It is important to eat a balanced diet even if it is pureed and blending lean meats and vegetables will make this process a little bit easier and more enjoyable.
- Months 2-3 the patient can graduate to soft foods that are balanced and low in fat and sugar. Soft foods that fit these criteria include cottage cheese, oatmeal, and cooked or naturally soft fruits or vegetables. Spending extra care to eat slowly and pace the consumption of the meal over at least 30 minutes will decrease the likelihood any complications.
- About 4 months after the gastric sleeve surgery it would then be advisable to transition to their regular healthy diet including lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and certain grains. Considerations also have to be made to make sure that anything that bothers the stomach is avoided. Suggestions for the patient include: taking a daily multivitamin, avoiding drinking with straws, eating regularly, chewing food several times and consuming protein at the beginning of the meal.
Once someone has undergone a gastric sleeve surgery they are forever restricted to eating smaller amounts of food and chewing more thoroughly. After time there are no specific restrictions placed on the patient but by focusing on healthy nutritious meals they will decrease the complications or discomfort that will be experienced. Most people develop a healthy eating pattern as they recover from the surgery and are able to re-introduce certain foods into their diet, but there will always be individual nuances that have to be taken in to account. Eating healthy foods within the guidelines of a gastric sleeve diet will help the patient to make the most of the surgery and maximize its benefits while minimizing the consequences.