A few days ago one of our patients made a poor decision: a couple of days after her surgery she went out to eat a solid food meal. Not only did she act against her own interest in losing weight but more importantly she also put her health and potentially her life at risk.
Remember that bariatric surgery is a major surgical process. Although it is done via small incisions with sophisticated equipment, we modify the digestive system so that patients can have a great loss of weight in a short time. That’s why the care taken by someone newly operated is vital. The only thing that holds the stomach together after a VSG, Bypass or DS surgery are the staples, so you have to give the body the opportunity to heal properly, form scar tissue and really seal the stomach before eating food. Eating before compulsory time means disrupting the healing process, which greatly increases the risk of a leak.
The steps, remember, are simple:
- During the first 10 days, only clear liquids and protein supplements can be taken. Clear liquids are sugarless Jello, propel water, chicken broth, caffeine-free tea, apple juice and cranberry juice, both without sugar. This phase is extremely important because the patient is newly operated.
- The next 10 days patients should consume whole liquids, such as puddings, skim milk, low-fat soups or creams, yogurt, melon, papaya or watermelon in small pieces, protein shakes, etc. In this phase we must proceed with caution and, if everything goes well, we can move on to the next phase after the 10 days.
- Over the next 10-20 days, the bariatric patient may already be able to eat some soft foods. In the daily diet, they should include cereals, oats, brown rice, mashed potatoes, lentils, among others, in moderate amounts and supervised. They should be 5 small portions a day, not more. It is important not to consume liquids simultaneously with food, liquids should be consumed only 45 minutes before and 45 minutes after the meal. If we pass this stage satisfactorily for at least 10 days, then we can move on to the next one.
- At this stage, we can consume solid foods like seafood, boneless skinless chicken and all vegetables and fruits. It is recommended to avoid red meat initially because they are more fibrous and difficult to digest. Important: It is PROHIBITED to consume solid food before 1 month after your surgery date. A general rule is to avoid carbohydrates and consume more protein without fat, always avoiding mayonnaise and butter. As in the previous phase, we should not consume drinks with our food, it should be done before or after.
In addition to diet instructions, our patients are given Nexium to take daily to control stomach acid. Remember that staples are a foreign body, which forces the stomach to produce more acid. Not protecting the stomach with the anti-acid medication may end up causing ulcers or even a leak. Even if no symptoms of acid reflux are felt it is important to take the Nexium daily for at least 3 months.
You will lose a lot of weight in the initial 30 day diet after surgery but keep in mind that the purpose of the special diet is to help your body to heal so you can have a tool to work with for the rest of your life, losing weight, at this stage, is a welcomed secondary effect.
With the passage of the months the body will adapt and return to normal eating, but now with new, healthier habits and smaller portions. It is important that during the first three months patients communicate with us every 10 days to follow up on their evolution.
Your success in this new stage is up to YOU, but we are here to help.