Gastric Sleeve Diet

Image of consultant bariatric surgeon, Mr Rishi Singhal

Medically reviewed by Prof Rishi Singhal MBBS, MRCS, FRCS, MD  
By Heather Fry BSC (Hons)

What is the gastric sleeve diet?

Prior to surgery, you will need to follow a liver reduction diet. After surgery, the initial two weeks are a liquid diet and weeks 3-4 is where you transition to pureed and then soft foods. From week 5, you will reintroduce solids, prioritise protein, and distinguish between physical and head hunger to manage eating habits effectively.

This article explains how to safely reintroduce food following a gastric sleeve operation. The initial two weeks are crucial for healing, during which a liquid diet is recommended. It’s important to not drink from a straw and to focus on fluids that are thin in consistency. To prevent discomfort, sip slowly and allow short breaks between sips.

A daily intake of approximately 2 litres of fluids, including water, meal replacement shakes, and soups, is advised. High-protein liquids should be your priority, aiming for 60-80g protein per day. Achieving this goal is possible by incorporating high-protein soups and drinks into your diet. You can prepare homemade soups and fruit or vegetable smoothies, combining them with ingredients such as milk, milk powder, high-protein yoghurt, or protein powder. Aim to allocate at least 1 to 1.5 litres of your daily liquid consumption to high-protein options. Avoid sugary drinks, carbonated beverages, and alcohol.

In weeks 3 and 4, as your stomach continues to heal, you should transition from liquids to pureed foods in the third week and soft foods in the fourth. Adhere to recommended portion sizes and maintain a slow pace while eating, much like in the previous phase. Continue to steer clear of the same restricted foods and drinks. Consume four to six small pureed meals daily. Initiate each meal with approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons, gradually increasing to 4 to 6 tablespoons as comfort allows. If you find that you can only handle smaller portions (less than 4 tablespoons), consider having something to eat every two hours. Remember your bite sizes should be no bigger than a 20-pence coin and chew well. Stop eating as soon as you feel physically satisfied. Between meals, drink water or other low-calorie beverages, aiming for a total fluid intake of 2 litres per day. Remember not to drink while eating and for at least 30 minutes after eating.

From week 5 onward, continue to avoid sugary drinks, carbonated beverages, alcohol, and high-sugar foods. Now you can reintroduce solid foods and aim for a balanced diet, with a focus on protein. It’s crucial to keep a reduced food intake and maintain a slow eating pace to avoid discomfort. We recommend using a portion control plate to aid with meal allocation and volume.

Moreover, it’s essential to distinguish between physical hunger (felt in the abdomen) and head hunger (a want rather than a need) to manage your eating habits effectively and reach your health and fitness goals. Find out your daily calorie intake to lose or maintain your weight with our Calorie Deficit Calculator.

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Image of consultant bariatric surgeon, Mr Rishi Singhal

All content on this page is reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team lead by Prof Rishi Singhal.

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