Nutrition and Eating

4 Ways to Eat Like a Weight Loss Surgery Patient

When it comes to weight loss, yes, surgery helps speed the process along, but most weight-loss surgery patients admit that it takes work – especially in terms of what they eat.

Maria Adkins RD, of TriHealth Weight Management explains four ways you can eat like a weight loss surgery patient – and why everyone should eat like this.

#1: Minimize Sugar Intake

After gastric bypass surgery, patients are expected to follow a certain diet in order to avoid post-surgery problems, like dumping syndrome, for example, and to safely accelerate weight loss. Dumping syndrome is an uncomfortable reaction some people experience after they eat foods high in sugar. This can lead to abdominal cramping and diarrhea. 

For this reason, Maria tells her patients to start cutting back on sugar before surgery. She suggests 5 grams of sugar or less per each half-cup or 8-ounce serving. “You can truly make more items sweet by adding real fruit,” she points out. For example, buy plain yogurt and sweeten it with strawberries or bananas.

#2: Start Cooking – and Avoid Eating Out

Weight loss surgery patients are supposed to avoid eating fried foods, and instead, grill or bake foods. Fried foods can overload the “new stomach” created during surgery and can trigger dumping syndrome, as well.

However, stir-frying foods is okay, as long as you use small amounts of oil. “I recommend olive oil or peanut oil – that’s best – in very, very small amounts,” Maria explains.

#3: Eat More Protein

Protein is satiating, meaning it creates a sense of fullness, while also helping ramp up your metabolism.

Maria suggests aiming for 12 to 15 grams of protein, six times each day. It’s also critical to stay hydrated throughout the day. “You’re going to have more chance of that lean body mass, and a more chance of fat loss, as long as you’re well hydrated.”

Foods high in protein include:

  • Lean fish (tilapia, halibut, cod, trout)
  • Nuts (in moderation)
  • Fat-free portions of cottage cheese
  • Low-fat string cheese
  • Fat-free yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • Protein shakes low in fat and sugar

#4: Add Flavor without Salt

“We’re not born with a taste for salt; we get acclimated to a taste for salt,” Maria points out.

Maria says gardening is a great way to add fresh herbs – and flavor – to your diet, without the extra sodium. If you do opt for fresh herbs, you usually want to use three times the amount of fresh herbs as you would for dry herbs.

If you have a lot of fresh herbs left over, Maria suggests putting them into an ice cube tray and freezing them with a little bit of oil. This way, you can pop them into a soup, stew or meat dish, later.

Maria also recommends using roasted garlic as a spread, instead of butter. “It’s not butter, and it adds good flavor!”

Tags Nutrition and Eating

Last Updated: June 20, 2014