What is the Best Diet after Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

What can I eat after a Gastric Sleeve Surgery? – Post-op Diet ideas

It is increasingly harder these days to lose weight and keep it off. With readily available junk food and busy lifestyles, it is important that those who have undergone bariatric surgery to follow their prescribed pre- and post-surgery diet.

Our lives are now laden with sugary drinks and easily available fast food. Further, with bulk buy and supersized food options, it is little wonder that there is a national epidemic of obesity. And, unfortunately, it is not as easy to lose weight as it is to gain it. Once you reach an unhealthy BMI your joints may not allow you to exercise safely, without the risk of pain or injury. This can lead to further health and joint complications.

When Does Surgical Intervention Become Necessary?

Many people struggle, daily, to lose weight after becoming overweight or obese. Despite exercising and healthy eating, it can seem like nothing can help reduce your excess weight. The reasons for this are often multifaceted and include metabolic and hormonal changes, issues with the thyroid, genetics, lifestyle choices or even brain chemistry issues. These are often intertwined in the development of obesity.

Further, obese people are likely at a point where their stomach has the capacity to consume more calories than they should or could ever hope to burn off. Living with obesity is also very dangerous to your health and longevity. Crash diets have adverse impacts on our health as extreme dieting is taxing on the organs and other body functions. Extreme diet regimes are also unlikely to help keep your weight off over time and can also lead to weight gain after you finish the diet.

If your weight, waistline and BMI are dangerously high, you GP or specialist may recommend surgical options such as gastric sleeve procedures.

What is the Best Pre- and Post-Gastric Sleeve Surgery Diet Doctors-Vegetable-protein-diet

What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

Gastric sleeve surgery involves reducing the size of your stomach. This limits how much food you can comfortably or safely consume by reducing the size of your stomach. Once your stomach is reduced, a your appetite is also reduced and you feel hungry less often. Further, a smaller stomach size gives the sensation of being full, faster, which also helps to decrease food intake and excessive calorie consumption.

Gastric sleeve surgery is gaining more popularity due to its much shorter procedure time. It is also effective at helping patients lose weight to overcome obesity. Unlike lap band, no adjustment is needed with gastric sleeve procedures. As a result, it appears that surgical patients are able to lose more weight with gastric sleeve procedures compared to lap band or gastric bypass.

Gastric Sleeve Diet and Liver Health

If you choose to undertake gastric sleeve surgery, your specialist bariatric surgeon will have specific pre- and post-operative diet details that you will need to follow. They will advise you of any potential complications and surgical risks of gastric surgery.

At least 4 weeks before surgery you will need to undertake a special diet to help reduce the size of your liver. An enlarged or fatty liver impacts your surgeon’s access during bariatric operations. A fatty liver also increases the risk of serious complications from gastric surgery. As a result, diligence is imperative when following your pre-operative nutritional instructions.

Further, changing your diet before gastric sleeve surgery not only ensures you are healthier, it also prepares you for an altered diet that you will need to continue after gastric bypass surgery.

Pre-Surgical Diet

You will likely be told to consume more protein and less carbs prior to surgery. This will also require eliminating any added sugars and soft drinks. Following these steps will also help reduce your weight as sugary drinks are a serious contributing factor to high obesity rates.

You will also need to drink lots of clear fluids to stay hydrated – water, of course, being the best option. Further, your bariatric surgeon may also advise that you undergo a strict liquid diet two days out from your surgical date.

Preparation and planning are very important for bariatric surgical patients and this can often take more time than most patients realise. As a result, if you are considering bariatric procedures, you will need to book a consultation with your chosen surgeon as soon as possible.

Post-Surgical Diet

Serious changes to your diet are incredibly important in the days, months and years following your bariatric procedure. You will need to take the utmost care with your eating routine and nutritional intake. This differs from patient to patient, which is why you will need to follow specific instructions from your surgeon.

Below we have the general eating advice given to patients. However, your instructions will vary, and it is important to discuss them with your specialist.

*The information below is of a general nature and is not intended as advice. It is not a substitute for the medical information or pre and post-op recommendations given to you by your GP and bariatric surgeon or any other health professionals assisting you with your medical care. It is intended only as an information starting point for discussions with your specialist about how you’ll need to adapt your eating style after surgery. Every patient, every procedure and every bariatric surgeon and nutritional team has a unique approach – so please, follow your Specialist’s instructions.

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Week One Post-Gastric Sleeve Diet

The first week after your gastric sleeve surgery, you may only be allowed to take in clear liquids. These include water, fresh juices, soups and/or broths. You will also be told to take small sips of these liquids, in order to ingest them slowly. Decaffeinated tea and coffee are usually alright a few days after surgery. But it is important to check with your surgeon first.

You must avoid all carbonated drinks, as well as those with added sugar. Once you are able to tolerate liquids, you surgeon will advise you to move to the next stage of your eating plan.

Week Two Post-Gastric Sleeve Diet

By week two, you will typically be able to have foods in pureed form. This also includes easy to digest foods such as mashed potatoes, low-fat cottage cheese, sugar free yoghurt, water oatmeal and soup with blended vegetables. It is important not to overdo it. Eating the wrong food or having too much of the right food can lead to post-surgical risks and discomfort.

Week Three Post-Gastric Sleeve Diet

You can generally include protein shakes once a day by week three. You may also get approval from your surgeon to add more, simple foods to your diet, including:

  • Hummus
  • Steamed or boiled vegetables
  • Soft cereal
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Mashed fruit
  • Steamed fish
  • Ground chicken in stock or soups

You will still need to avoid starchy foods like bread, rice and pasta, as well as fibrous vegetables like broccoli, celery and asparagus, as these are difficult to digest.

Week Four Post-Gastric Sleeve Diet

By week four, you may be able to add some solid meals. Your surgeon may start you with:

  • Fruits
  • Sweet potato
  • Baked potato
  • Cereal
  • Fish
  • Chicken

You should continue to avoid foods that are difficult to digest, such as:

  • Fried food
  • Desserts
  • Lollies
  • Whole milk
  • Nuts

Foods like hard-boiled eggs and bananas are good options but only at the approval of your surgeon. Your meals should also be of high nutritional value with low calories. At this point in your post-surgical journey you may also be allowed to have one or two healthy snacks between meals.

In the months following you surgery, you will be given specific eating recommendations from your surgeon. As a result, it is important to monitor your eating regime and portion control.

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How Long Before I See Results?

Patients can see weight changes just weeks after their gastric sleeve procedure. On average, you can anticipate losing around 60% of your pre-surgery weight. However, every patient is different, and it is important to follow your surgeon’s advice to achieve the best results.

What Happens to My Skin After Weight Loss Surgery?

Gastric sleeve surgery and other weight loss procedures can leave you with extra sagging skin. Unfortunately, you cannot exercise away redundant skin, and you may find you still have stubborn fat that will not disappear with diet and exercise. As a result, some patients require excess skin reduction surgery and liposuction to complete their weight loss transformation.

Dr Maxwell offers a range of body contouring procedures to benefit you after weight loss surgery. He offers a realistic approach to reshaping your body after bariatric surgery. Contact our team today to book for first consultation and begin your life changing weight loss journey!


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Last updated: May 29, 2020
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Dr Richard Maxwell
Mr. Richard Maxwell graduated in medicine from Monash University in Melbourne in 1981. He trained in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Alfred Hospital, the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Victorian Plastic Surgery Unit in Melbourne. He completed his training in 1989, gaining the Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

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