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Things You Can’t Do After Gastric Bypass (Off Limit Foods)

things you cant do after a gastric bypass surgery

Gastric bypass surgery is a common weight loss procedure due to the fact that it involves fewer complications compared to other weight loss surgery types.

Nevertheless, a gastric bypass success rate depends largely on whether the patient sticks to their diet and lifestyle guidelines set-up by the medical team.

Yet effective, gastric bypass surgery is not suitable for all overweight patients. The operation is a major procedure that may pose a variety of side effects requiring lifelong lifestyle changes.

Before having the operation, it is essential to understand some of the things you can’t do, limit, or simply be aware of prior a gastric bypass surgery.

How is a gastric bypass performed?

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, also known as traditional gastric bypass is performed by creating a small gastric pouch that restricts food intake to small volumes.

The new gastric pouch or reservoir is attached to the jejunum, while the rest of the stomach is not removed, but is isolated to the passage of food, although its secretions are naturally emptied through the pylorus and into the duodenum.

This is achieved by dividing the small intestine about 400 mm from the angle of Treizt, in order to form a union with the new gastric pouch (alimentary loop).

The other end of this segment joins the so-called Roux branch of the intestine (biliary loop), which creates a characteristic “Y” shape which gives this technique its name.

Gastric bpass surgery

These changes produced in the patient’s body through surgery translate into a lower capacity for food intake and a lower capacity for the absorption of nutrients, mainly fat.

All of this leads to the weight loss necessary to deal with morbid obesity effectively.

Obviously, before a patient undergoes this surgical treatment for weight loss, a complete pre-operative assessment must be carried out that will be subsequently evaluated by various medical specialists.

Foods you can’t eat after gastric bypass surgery

After a bypass, the volume of the stomach is reduced enormously: 100 to 250 ml approximately. Food quantities are reduced to 150-200 ml per meal, and spread over 5 to 6 times a day.

Patients can eat a little bit of everything while taking care to respect a texture adapted to their stomach, which is still fragile and not healed.

Eating right after a bypass means eating with a liquid-semi-liquid texture, then with a mixed-chopped texture after a few days.

For the scarring process to go as smoothly as possible, it is necessary to follow the guidelines determined by your surgeon, and dietician. 

1- How to eat after a bypass surgery?

In order to ensure a diet full of nutritional value, it is necessary to know how to eat after a gastric bypass. This involves consuming small meals 5 to 6 times a day, eating as slowly as possible. As well as eating foods in small portion, chewing well and separating foods and drinks because of the decreased stomach size is recommended.

2- How much to eat after a gastric bypass?

This question is recurrent and legitimate insofar as the volume of the stomach is reduced considerably. Meals must be divided and not exceeding approximately 200-250 ml. Of course, you should follow the prescribed amount set by your dietician.

3- How long does a gastric bypass surgery last?

Typically, the surgery lasts for about an hour. Although it varies per patient, and the procedure used (laparotomy, laparoscopy or advanced laparoscopy). The patient spends the first hours in the resuscitation unit or ICU for better immediate postoperative control. After 48 hours, a radiological control is performed, before restarting the progressive oral diet according to the bariatric surgery protocol.

4- Can you eat bread after gastric bypass? 

Initially, NO. you will have to follow a diet with a liquid-semi-liquid texture, so bread cannot be eaten. A few days or even a few weeks after the operation, you can consume kinds of thick porridge that you can make with dry bread soaked in milk for example.

5- Can you eat ice cream after gastric bypass?

No! you should avoid eating ice cream in the first 6 months after your bypass surgery. After 6 months, you can consult with your surgeon or dietician if you can have a portioned amount of ice cream, recommended type, in favor of a light and varied diet.

6- What fruit and vegetables can you eat after gastric bypass?

Avoid high-carb fruits and vegetables at all cost. In order not to consume too much sugar, limit yourself to the equivalent of 3 fruits per day. You can eat whatever vegetables you want in the form of smooth soups, then purees, and finally small pieces. Also, be sure to avoid crucifers (vegetables from the cabbage family).

7- Can you chew gum after gastric bypass?

Many patients tend to chew gum more or less frequently. Unfortunately, chewing gum works the jaw and secretes saliva which causes stomach activity. It therefore seems strongly recommended NOT to consume it after a gastric bypass surgery.

8- When can you start exercising again?

According to NIH experts, if you have laparoscopic surgery, most activities can be done in 2 to 4 weeks, compared to the 12 weeks of recovery needed with open surgery. If the specialist considers it, an exercise program could be started 2 to 4 weeks after surgery.

9- Is it safe to be pregnant after gastric bypass surgery?

Women who are of childbearing age can become pregnant normally after bariatric surgery. The recommendation is that patients wait until one year after the operation, when weight loss has stabilized, and taking vitamin and calcium supplements continuously. There are no higher risk pregnancies due to losing weight, on the contrary, it has been observed that when there is infertility associated with morbid obesity, losing weight increases the possibility of pregnancy.

10- What is Dumping Syndrome?

When gastric bypass surgery is performed, a significant number of patients (approximately 40%) develop a moderate degree of intolerance to sweets and foods containing sugar. This is what is called Dumping Syndrome and consists of a decrease in glucose levels in the blood (hypoglycemia), which occurs when the patient eats sugar. The symptoms of this syndrome are dizziness, sweating, trembling and feeling weak. These symptoms are uncomfortable and the way to avoid them is not to eat sugar or sweet foods. Gastric bypass patients with Dumping Syndrome have less difficulty avoiding sugar consumption because they associate it with bothersome symptoms.

11- Will you suffer from nutrient deficiencies after a gastric bypass?

If you adhere to all the recommendations provided by your medical team, deficiencies rarely occur. Nevertheless, you should have regular blood tests to see whether your body is absorbing sufficient nutrients. You should also consult with your surgeon if you suddenly feel uncomfortable or weak. Common dietary supplements after gastric bypass include: protein, calcium, salts, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and iron.

12- Will I need plastic surgery after gastric bypass?

After any successful bariatric surgery there is significant weight loss, which varies from patient to patient. Most bariatric surgery patients do not require plastic surgery after losing weight. However, the only way to know if this weight loss is going to cause an excess of skin that is annoying, is to wait for a stability in the patient’s weight. If the obese patient wishes to undergo plastic surgery after bariatric surgery, the recommendation is to wait one year after the operation.

13- Can I travel by plane after gastric bypass surgery?

Yes, there is no problem in traveling by plane a few days after having a gastric bypass . Typically, the abdominal drain is removed 10 days after the operation. From that moment the patient can travel by plane without problems.

14- What’s recovery like after a gastric bypass surgery?

Most patients stay in the hospital for 2-3 days as long as there have been no complications during or after the operation. After 8 days, the patient can return their usual activity (work), following the surgeon’s advice.

15- How much weight can you lose with gastric bypass?

On average, patients lose 11 pounds a week for the first 4 months and a maximum of 8 pounds the following months. These results vary per patient, though generally high compared to almost every other weight loss method.

puree diet bariatric surgery

Food supplement after gastric bypass surgery

Because part of your digestive process is bypassed, your body now absorbs fewer nutrients and vitamins from food, which is why you have to take dietary supplements for life. The nutrients and vitamins include:

  • Calcium
  • Folic acid
  • Iron
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12

Tip: Obesity surgeons recommend having a blood count done regularly (after six months and then annually) after gastric bypass to prevent deficiencies in the future.

Risks and complications

The bypass as bariatric surgery is classified as major surgery, which implies certain risks of a regular operation. It is important to mention that worldwide since this method was born up to 20% of patients showed some type of complication in addition to the existence of a 2% risk of mortality.

Vitamin and protein supplements are essential, especially months post surgery in addition to regular check-ups to ensure the good health of the patient. 

Patients may present some frequent but easily solvable symptoms such as:

  • Dumping syndrome
  • Wound infection
  • Stenosis of the stomach outlet requiring dilation, or dizziness after ingesting sugary liquids
  • Vomiting after ingestion greater amounts of food and liquid
  • Diarrhea
  • Iron and vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Shoulder or chest pain
  • Dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Hair loss in the first months but remits in a short time

Ask your bariatric surgeon about the risks and complications involved before the surgery.

Life after gastric bypass surgery

After gastric bypass surgery, patients have to change their diet fundamentally to avoid digestive problems. It is particularly important to observe the following rules when eating:

  • Eat very small amounts and chew well.
  • Separate food and drink because your stomach volume is insufficient for both.
  • Avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar, such as candy, sodas, ice cream, and fruit juices.
  • Avoid alcohol because your body absorbs it too quickly.
  • Follow your dietary supplement guidelines.
  • Separate food and drink.
  • Drink enough water (64-96 ounces per day), and NO carbonated beverages.
  • Only eat citrus fruits such as oranges or tangerines in cooked form as a compote.
  • Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins.
  • Do not take long-term pain relievers such as acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), rheumatoid drugs, diclofenac, Voltaren, and ibuprofen. 
bariatric surgery post op diet

Cosmetic changes after gastric bypass surgery

With gastric bypass, you lose a lot of weight very quickly, which causes the excess skin to sag. Many patients not only find this unsightly, but also suffer from rashes or infections between the skin folds, which is why you should always take good care of your skin.

Things like performing toning exercises, drinking plenty of water and low-calorie fluids, consuming enough protein, avoiding long exposure to the sun, using moisturizers all can help with excess skin after a gastric bypass surgery.

Gastric bypass diet VS other WLS types

Gastric bypass surgery patients eat fewer and healthier meals than those who undergo vertical ring gastroplasty. In addition, they have fewer problems with the food that they eat, according to a study led by Torsten Olbers, a professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Sahlgrenska (Sweden).

Among other findings, it has been seen that food cravings are more frequent in GBP, but stronger in VRG. Olbers’ research group wanted to verify how different bariatric surgery techniques work in terms of altering body composition, diet intake and basal metabolic rates in patients operated on for obesity and has found that postprandial levels of PYY 3 -36 (hormone that physiologically inhibits food intake) and GLP-1 (peptide that inhibits gastric emptying) increase after gastric bypass intervention.

These conclusions have been presented at the last congress of the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Diseases, in Capri, where the surgeon has emphasized that “the priority of these interventions is not in the mere loss of weight for obese patients, but rather to improve the quality of life, reduce morbidity, make a cost-effective treatment and, preventing the premature death of many patients”.

Among the data obtained, it is observed that the diet consumed by those operated on with GBP and with VRG after one year of the operation is similar in protein, increasing the consumption of fats in those who undergo gastroplasty, who on the other hand eat less carbohydrates.

Discomfort
In terms of discomfort after eating, eight out of fifteen patients with gastric bypass reported having discomfort “rarely”; six said they had them “sometimes” and two “often”. Of thirteen patients with vertical ringed gastroplasty, two stated that they had “never” discomfort; six suffered them “often” and another two said “always”.

Considering a gastric bypass surgery

Typically, gastric bypass is performed on patients who are unable to maintain or achieve weight through proper exercise and diet, who are severely overweight and have resulting health problems.

The method does not replace the need for a healthy diet and exercise routine. In fact, the overall success of the operation largely depends on the patient’s commitment to follow the directions given to them in relation to these aspects.

Those considering the surgery must adjust their eating habits, and follow the medical team advice religiously.

The preparation for the operation is rather complicated. Before having a gastric bypass surgery, patients must go through a thorough screening process in which a team of professionals will determine if the surgery is right for you.

The process involves identifying aspects related to the health and well-being of the patient after surgery, as well as pre-existing factors that may prove that treatment is a risky option. In general, the procedure will be recommended to those whose perceived benefits outweigh the risks associated with gastric bypass.

If you or someone you know is considering gastric bypass surgery as a weight loss option, the best place to start is by making an appointment with a board-certified physician who specializes in bariatric surgery. That way, you will be able to correctly identify your options and assess the advantages and disadvantages associated with your individual situation.

The real work begins now! become more informed about bariatric surgery, and tell us in the comment section below if this article was helpful to you or not?

This article is intended for general informational purposes ONLY. Please consult with a licensed physician for professional medical advice. If you take whatever action based on the material presented is solely at your own risk, and responsibility (disclaimer).
References Scientific articles, studies, research results
  1. Management of bariatric surgical patients. Source
  2. Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Source
  3. What can you expect after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass? Source
  4. Comparing Roux-en-Y gastric bypass with sleeve gastrectomy Source

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