Gastric sleeve surgery reduces the size of the stomach considerably, which helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
It’s a highly effective procedure for weight loss, but it’s important to remember that you will need to stick to a strict diet following surgery, especially as you adjust to the smaller size of your stomach. You’ll notice that it’s better to eat smaller, more frequent meals after undergoing gastric sleeve surgery as it will be very difficult to overeat once much of your stomach has been removed.
The gastric sleeve diet has four main stages. Here’s what you should know about the eating plan …
The first phase
In the first week following gastric sleeve surgery, you will need to stick to a diet of clear liquids to ensure that you stay well hydrated. Although this may sound challenging, you are likely to have very little appetite during this time while your body recovers from the procedure. Try and drink at least 2 litres of water every day, and if you feel like it, you can also include clear broth and decaffeinated tea and coffee. Avoid any carbonated and sugary drinks, like fruit juice and soda.
After the first week
After around 7 to 10 days following gastric sleeve surgery, your appetite will return. At this point, you should move on to a liquid diet that includes adequate protein. You can start to incorporate a variety of nutrients, but try and avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar. Some ideas for this phase of the diet include thin soups (avoid chunky soups), soft noodles in soup or broth, and sugar-free ice creams or sorbets. As you heal, you can start to add thicker, puréed foods like mashed potatoes, smoothies, yoghurt, oats, mashed vegetables, and scrambled eggs in around the third week following surgery.
The next step
Once you are ready to transition from a liquid diet to soft foods, it’s important that you consume enough protein every day. Staying hydrated is also key in staying healthy as you adjust to your new lifestyle. Soft foods that are high in protein and nutritious include soft fish, steamed and puréed vegetables, soups, poached or scrambled eggs, and low-fat cheeses.
Try and avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar, as well as white bread, pasta and rice and tough fruits and vegetables.
The final stage
After around a month following gastric sleeve surgery, it is usually safe to begin eating solid foods again. At this point, you should stick to small portions and avoid snacking on foods that are high in sugar. Once your body has healed from surgery, you should be able to eat most kinds of food, although it is important that you make sure you consume an adequate amount of nutrients. Incorporate fresh vegetables, small amounts of fruit, lean meats and protein-rich eggs into your diet. Stay away from highly processed foods, as well as junk food, desserts and soft drinks.