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The importance of sticking to your diet.

Why Bariatric Patients have diets:

A lot of patients believe that surgery is the main part of their journey, and they are correct. However, a factor that goes hand in hand with surgery and has a fundamental part in the progression for each and every patient, is their diet.  Statistics show that ‘less than 20%’ can keep weight off when they don’t stick to their diet. (MayoClinic)

Pre-op Diet:

This diet, as many know, includes eating less than 1000 calories a day. A day-to-day food schedule may look something like this:

  • Breakfast – 150-200 calories
  • Snack – 80 calories
  • Lunch – 150-200 calories
  • Snack – 80 – 100 calories
  • Dinner – 300 calories

Without this pre-op diet, there is a chance your surgeon will refuse to do the surgery due to the difference it makes to your body. This diet allows your liver to shrink majorly so that surgeons can operate more clearly. With the liver still enlarged, it is often a challenge for the surgeon to access the stomach, due to the liver almost lying on top of it. This is why the operation can be terminated if your safety is believed to be at risk. When a liver is shrunk, it reduces any possible damage. (NHS).

The pre-op diet or ‘liver-reducing diet’ specifically works by reducing the amount of glycogen that is stored in the liver, as a response to the minimal carbohydrates being consumed. Furthermore, the fatty deposits and water in the liver are also minimised. However, it’s important during this phase to still drink around 2 litres of water a day due to a higher chance of dehydration.

The duration of this specific diet varies between patients based on their BMI.

Post-op diets:

Post-op diets vary depending on which stage you are at in your recovery. They alter specifically between the ‘liquid phase’, ‘puree phase’, and the ‘solid phase’.

The liquid phase:

It’s important to give your wounds time to heal. Therefore, by having solely liquids at the beginning of your recovery, your body can stay hydrated whilst avoiding any foods that may irritate your stomach. It is vital you stay hydrated after your bariatric surgery to keep the cells in your body healthy. Also, to keep your skin hydrated which is a vital part of healing, especially for scarring. Finally, your body needs to stay hydrated to function daily, by eliminating any toxins in your blood.

The puree phase:

The puree diet is used to ensure that the stomach has fully healed before moving on to solid foods. If this diet is skipped it highly increases the chance of any complications arising. This is because your stomach is likely to still be slightly swollen from surgery at this stage. Because of this, it’s not at a place where it can digest solid food. Puree food also allows your body to swallow and digest food a lot easier without any trouble.

The solid phase:

At this stage of your physical healing, your stomach should have fully recovered without needing purees or liquids anymore. However, it’s important patients are not excessive with their portion sizes, which are too large for their new stomachs to handle. This is because your stomach can stretch depending on your surgery. Therefore, patients must adapt to their new lifestyle which includes eating smaller amounts of food, that can be comfortably digested by their new stomachs. To help with portion control, we advise our patients to use a portion plate.

Find out your daily calorie intake to lose or maintain your weight, with our Calorie Deficit Calculator.

For more information about what diet you should be following, please follow our patient guide here.

If you are interested in a gastric procedure such as the gastric band, gastric sleeve, gastric bypass or ESG. You can contact our expert team today and book a free consult with one of our weight loss surgeons.


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