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GRMC NUTRITION MINUTE - MEALS AFTER BARIATRIC SURGERY

GRMC NUTRITION MINUTE – MEALS AFTER BARIATRIC SURGERY

Bariatric surgery can be a good option for losing weight and improving metabolic markers of disease, but it creates special dietary needs. Once someone has surgery, especially the common Roux-n-Y procedure, their stomach is reduced to a pouch about the size of a golf ball, and it takes a least a month and a half to heal completely.

Patients are advised to eat small frequent meals, often six to eight a day, and focus on maximizing intake of high-quality protein. For the first two weeks, patients "eat" a liquid diet with protein drinks and minimal sugar, and at least 8 glasses of water, separate from meals and spread out across the day in small sips.

After a couple of weeks, most patients can eat soft foods, but need to chew very well, eat slowly, and limit total meal size to about a handful. The focus is still on protein (at least 3 ounces per meal), with no raw fruits or vegetables, no carbonated beverages, and no sweets or gum. Meals need to be slow – 45 to 60 minutes is recommended.

Even years after surgery meals are usually small and frequent, with 4 – 6 daily meals or snacks. What that means for us, as healthcare providers, is we need to monitor our post-bariatric patients closely, and make sure they get scaled-down portions of food and regular snacks – a standard 3-meal, 2000-calorie diet is not the best option for patient care, and will probably create a lot of waste.

It is important that previous gastric surgeries are documented, and that physicians, caregivers, and Dietary Department staff coordinate to ensure that patients are getting appropriate foods and serving sizes to meet their needs.

-- Bret Sarnquist RD LD

Categories: GRMC NUTRITION MINUTE