Gastric bypass surgery is an incredible procedure that has helped many individuals shed unhealthy weight and reduce the risks of developing physical problems, illnesses and diseases associated with being obese. However, going through gastric bypass surgery isn’t as simple as showing up on the procedure date and having surgery. It’s also important to follow a special diet before surgery, during the recovery period and for the rest of your life after you’ve healed from the initial surgery.
A doctor or dietitian provides gastric bypass patients with a comprehensive eating plan to help them adjust to a new way of life. This eating plan stresses lean proteins, healthy fruits and vegetables, and a limited number of grains. A gastric bypass eating plan also stresses eliminating or severely limiting added sugars, sweets and refined carbohydrates.
Sugary Foods in the Gastric Bypass Pre-Op Period
Several weeks before gastric bypass surgery, patients are required to follow a strict liquid diet to help prepare their bodies for the operation. Eliminating added sugars is one of the top goals during this time. This means that no sweetened beverages or foods such as gelatin can be consumed. However, liquids and gelatins sweetened with sugar substitutes can be used.
Cutting out sugar helps put the body into a state of ketosis where fat is quickly eliminated from the liver. Eliminating fat from the liver is essential to a successful gastric bypass surgery. Patients who are unable to limit the amount of sugar they eat prior to surgery are often turned away on operation day because their bodies aren’t ready for the operation.
Sugary Foods in the Weeks Immediately Following Gastric Bypass
After gastric bypass surgery is complete, a doctor or dietitian will give the patient a new type of diet to follow. This post-surgical diet stresses lean proteins and water while asking patients to continue avoiding sugar. That’s because added sugars in foods and beverages can slow down healing of the stomach and lead to painful side effects. During this time, it’s best to satisfy a sweet tooth with ripe, mashed foods such as bananas and sweet potatoes.
A Healthy, Low-Sugar Diet After Healing
In the months following gastric bypass surgery, patients are encouraged to transition back to a diet that includes solid foods. At this time, very small amounts of sugar may be consumed. However, eating too much sugar is still a bad idea. That’s because excess sugar can cause something called dumping syndrome. This uncomfortable syndrome happens when too many fatty or sweet foods or consumed.
Because the stomach can’t process sugary and fatty foods efficiently, it sends food to the small intestine before it’s broken down. This can lead to cramps, nausea, sweating, vomiting, diarrhea and even an increased heart rate. The best way to avoid dumping syndrome and to enjoy long-term results from gastric bypass surgery is to simply cut added sugars out of your diet. It might be difficult to do at first, but your body will adjust with time, and you’ll enjoy the benefits of healthy eating and living for years to come.