What to Eat and Not Eat After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

When TV shows and magazines are full of stories about the latest “right” foods to eat for weight loss, it can be confusing for gastric sleeve patients—especially when it conflicts with what your physician has told you. I don’t know what magical weight loss foods or systems will come out tomorrow, but I do know how to help my patients find success. My team and I have been doing it for decades now. So here’s a quick myth-busting guide for people who’ve had gastric sleeve surgery.

Myth #1: Calories don’t matter.
This one is particularly dangerous. Of course calories matter! Some people in the health industry are now peddling the idea that calories are less important than the quality of food you eat. While I do agree that the quality of food is extremely important, you won’t lose weight if you take in more calories than you burn. Bodybuilders and those trying to gain weight (yes, they’re out there!) may prefer to eat lots of peanut butter, nuts, and dried fruits to fuel their goals because they are, indeed, better for the body than other high-calorie options like cake or cookies. But gastric sleeve patients are playing with fire if they chow down on these natural but highly caloric foods. Bottom line: You have to read labels and count calories. Sorry!

Myth #2: Natural sweeteners like honey are healthier.
I guess it depends on what you mean by “healthier,” but again, a calorie is a calorie when it comes to weight loss. Proponents of natural, unprocessed food often point to honey and pure maple syrup as better choices than table sugar or calorie-free sugar substitutes. I encourage my patients to eat as many whole, unprocessed foods as possible—vegetables and chicken breasts, for example—but honey and maple syrup don’t usually fit into a weight-loss plan. They’re both incredibly calorie dense, with a tablespoon of honey packing 65 calories and maple syrup clocking in at over 50 calories. If you want to sweeten coffee or tea, I recommend small amounts of Splenda®. Don’t go overboard on substitutes, though, because that can trigger sugar cravings in some sleevers.

Myth #3: High-protein diets are hard on the body.
Taking anything to extremes is never a good idea. So if you eat nothing but bacon and hotdogs in the name of maximizing protein, yeah, that’s going to be a problem. But I’ve never found a better, faster, healthier way for my patients to lose weight than a high-protein, low-carb diet. I want the majority of your calories to come from lean protein sources like chicken, eggs, fish, and tofu. Non-starchy veggies (think broccoli rather than potatoes) should make up much of the rest. And where do carbs fit in? If your diet were a film, carbs would have a walk-on role. Forget “white” starches like sugar, regular pasta, and white bread altogether. Your body does need carbs to run properly, but there are carbohydrates even in things like green vegetables! And if you absolutely need something starchy, small amounts of whole grains can play a part in your weight loss.

Myth #4: Grazing all day is better than eating three meals.
This one isn’t so much about specific foods as about a way of eating. Some nutritionists believe that eating small amounts frequently, a.k.a. grazing, keeps your body in calorie-burning mode in a way that eating three meals a day does not. I’m not going to delve into the science behind this, but believe me when I say that grazing is not helpful if you’ve been sleeved. Some patients do feel better eating five very small meals per day rather than three, and that’s fine. But keeping your calorie consumption low enough for weight loss is extremely difficult if you’re grazing all day. A couple of bites here and a handful of something there adds up quickly. So eat at mealtimes, stop when you’re full, and then only sip liquids until the next mealtime.

At Endobariatric, we try to make weight loss as easy as possible for our patients. We’re always here to answer your questions about food—or anything else that’s on your mind.

We invite you to visit our website www.endobariatric.com and see for yourself what we have done here in Endobariatric for thousands of patients with more than satisfactory results, you can check it with the images that we have on “Before and after” of our patients with surprising changes.

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“Changing lives…one sleeve at a time”.