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One of the safest ways for people, who want to lose weight, is to undergo bariatric surgery. Those patients who have very high BMI and are unable to shed the pounds through exercise and diet control are recommended to go through this procedure. While the surgery itself is a long-term solution, the months following the surgery are crucial for the patients, as the diet they follow directly affects the results of the procedure. A good rule of thumb is to follow a staged approach to help one ease back into eating solid foods, says Dr Jayanth Leo Bariatric Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Hospitals. Also read about bariatric surgery aftercare 4 expert tips to keep in mind.
Week 1: Liquid diet
Immediately after the surgery, patients must consume clear liquids with low sugar content in small portions. The liquids provide nutrition without harming the stomach and intestines. Water, broth, soups, natural juices and tea are considered safe to consume, while heavier liquids such as milk, cream soup and coffee are reserved for later. Once the patient can comfortably digest liquids, they can try solid food.
Week 2-3: Mashed foods
After a week or so, the patient can start eating soft foods that are mashed or pureed that can be digested easily. It adjusts the stomach and intestines to take in solids towards the end of the recovery period. One can eat ground meats (avoid red meat), beans eggs, cottage cheese, fruits and vegetables. This can be continued with the existing diet of liquids from the first week. Fruits that contain water can be safely consumed to replenish the body. Alcohol and soft drinks must be avoided. Consume enough water.
Week 4-8: Soft solids
After 2 to 3 weeks, one can start eating soft foods that can be easily swallowed. Since the body absorbs lesser nutrients from the food, it is time to provide the body with healthier alternatives to the liquid diet. Items such as diced meat, fresh fruit and cooked vegetables can be taken at this point. Care should be taken to cook the food well, so that it can be swallowed easily. Around this time, another important change to be followed is the time taken to eat. Eating lesser portions by chewing slowly aids the digestive system and also gives a sense of feeling full, after the meal. Spicy flavours and high-calorie ingredients should not be used while cooking at this point. Here are 5 things you need to know before undergoing bariatric surgery.
Week 9 onwards: Regular food
Regular food can be consumed in nine weeks following the surgery. It is always safe to ensure that the food is diced into smaller pieces and we eat normal foods. One may find it difficult to take in spicy food, so it is necessary to test different flavours to know what can be eaten comfortably and which items to leave out of the menu. Eating restaurant-cooked food must be completely avoided.
Post surgery, a diet chart is provided to make it easier for the patient to decipher the new diet they have to follow. Bariatric surgery reduces the amount of food one can consume but the real challenge is to stick to the new diet, which means eating lesser portions at regular intervals and avoiding junk food. As it is difficult to change to new diet all of a sudden, it is necessary and important for the patient to follow a strict diet for a longer lifespan. Also read about 5 risks involved in bariatric surgery that you MUST know.
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