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Minimally Invasive and Weight Loss Surgery

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Patient Information

Frequently Asked Questions – Diet

  1. How long will I be off of solid foods after surgery?
  2. What are the best choices of protein?
  3. Why drink so much water?
  4. What is Dumping Syndrome?
  5. Is there a problem with consuming milk products?
  6. Why can't I snack between meals?
  7. Why can't I eat red meat after surgery?
  8. How can I be sure I am eating enough protein?
  9. Is there any restriction of salt intake?
  10. Will I be able to eat "spicy" foods or seasoned foods?
  11. Will I be allowed to drink alcohol?
  12. What vitamins will I need to take after surgery?
  13. Will I get a copy of suggested eating patterns and food choices after surgery?

1.  How long will I be off of solid foods after surgery?

You will be given a handout on the diet stages by the dietician. You will be on Stage 3 diet (high protein liquid diet) for the first two weeks.  Stage 4 (high protein solid foods) follows and is until the sixth week after surgery. At that point, the patient is advanced to Stage 5 which includes a wide variety of healthy foods.

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2.  What are the best choices of protein?

Eggs, low-fat cheese, low-fat cottage cheese, tofu, fish, other seafood, chicken (dark meat), turkey (dark meat).

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3.  Why drink so much water?

When you are losing weight, there are many waste products to eliminate, mostly in the urine. Some of these substances tend to form crystals, which can cause kidney stones. A high water intake protects you and helps your body to rid itself of waste products efficiently, promoting better weight loss. Water also fills your stomach and helps to prolong and intensify your sense of satisfaction with food. If you feel a desire to eat between meals, it may be because you did not drink enough water in the hour before.

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4.  What is Dumping Syndrome?

Eating sugars or other foods containing many small particles when you have an empty stomach can cause dumping syndrome in patients who have had a gastric bypass or BPD where the stomach pylorus is removed. Your body handles these small particles by diluting them with water, which reduces blood volume and causes a shock-like state. Sugar may also induce insulin shock due to the altered physiology of your intestinal tract. The result is a very unpleasant feeling: you break out in a cold clammy sweat, turn pale, feel "butterflies" in your stomach, and have a pounding pulse. Cramps and diarrhea may follow. This state can last for 30-60 minutes and can be quite uncomfortable - you may have to lie down until it goes away. This syndrome can be avoided by not eating the foods that cause it, especially on an empty stomach. A small amount of sweets, such as fruit, can sometimes be well tolerated at the end of a meal.

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5.  Is there a problem with consuming milk products?

Milk contains lactose (milk sugar), which in some, is not well digested. This sugar passes through undigested until bacteria in the lower bowel act on it, producing irritating byproducts as well as gas. Depending on individual tolerance, some persons find even the smallest amount of milk can cause cramps, gas and diarrhea.

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6.  Why can't I snack between meals?

Snacking, nibbling or grazing on foods, usually high-calorie and high-fat foods, can add hundreds of calories a day to your intake, defeating the restrictive effect of your operation. Snacking will slow down your weight loss and can lead to regain of weight.

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7.  Why can't I eat red meat after surgery?

You can, but you will need to be very careful, and we recommend that you avoid it for the first several months. Red meats contain a high level of meat fibers (gristle) which hold the piece of meat together, preventing you from separating it into small parts when you chew. The gristle can plug the outlet of your stomach pouch and prevent anything from passing through, a condition that is very uncomfortable.

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8.  How can I be sure I am eating enough protein?

60 grams a day is generally sufficient. Check with your surgeon to determine the right amount for your type of surgery.

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9.  Is there any restriction of salt intake?

No, your salt intake will be unchanged unless otherwise instructed by your primary care physician.

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10.  Will I be able to eat "spicy" foods or seasoned foods?

Most patients are able to enjoy spices after the initial 6 months following surgery.

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11. Will I be allowed to drink alcohol?

You will find that even small amounts of alcohol will affect you quickly. It is suggested that you drink no alcohol for the first 3 to 6 months. Thereafter, with your physician's approval, you may have a glass of wine or a small cocktail.

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12.  What vitamins will I need to take after surgery?

We recommend a daily multivitamin as well as calcium (calcium citrate) for the rest of your life.

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13.  Will I get a copy of suggested eating patterns and food choices after surgery?

Yes, we provide patients with materials that clearly outline their expectations regarding diet and compliance to guidelines for the best outcome based on your surgical procedure. After surgery, health and weight loss are highly dependent on patient compliance with these guidelines. You must do your part by restricting high-calorie foods, by avoiding sugar, snacks and fats, and by strictly following the guidelines set by your surgeon.

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Appointments

Call: 617.414.8052
Fax: 617.414.8053


Boston Medical Center
Minimally Invasive and Weight Loss Surgery
Shapiro Center
3rd Floor, Suite 3A
725 Albany Street
Boston, MA 02118


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Call: 617.414.8052
Fax: 617.414.8053


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