Fruit Juices After Gastric Bypass

As many as 300,000 Americans die prematurely each year from obesity and its complications, according to the Merck Manual. Only cigarette smoking causes more preventable deaths each year. Morbidly obese patients -- those who weigh at least 100 pounds more than their ideal weights -- may turn to weight loss surgical procedures such as gastric bypass to help them improve their health.

Gastric Bypass

Gastric bypass, a type of bariatric or weight loss surgery, helps morbidly obese patients lose significant amounts of weight. The surgeon uses a tiny video camera and special tools to perform the surgery laparoscopically, through several tiny incisions in the abdomen. After reducing the size of the stomach to a tiny, egg-sized pouch, the surgeon re-routes the digestive system to block calorie absorption. The resulting anatomical changes facilitate weight loss, but the patient must make long-term diet and lifestyle changes to keep the weight off.

Diet Progression After Gastric Bypass

For the first eight to 10 weeks after gastric bypass, patients slowly progress through several dietary phases to allow their bodies to heal before starting on regular foods. Although surgeons' instructions vary somewhat, most allow only clear liquids for the first 24 to 48 hours, followed by full liquids for 10 to 14 days, according to Linda Aills, R.D., lead researcher in a study published in the September 2008 issue of "Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases." Fruit juices without pulp, including apple juice and strained orange juice, may qualify as clear liquids, but your surgeon may prefer that you avoid them.

Fruit Juices and Weight Loss

Post-gastric bypass patients need at least 60 g to 80 g of protein per day, so their meal plans focus on protein-rich sources, according to Linda Aills, R.D., lead researcher in a study published in the September 2008 issue of "Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases." If you have room for fruits, vegetables, and starches, choose those that are nutrient-dense for optimal health and weight loss. Since fruit juices lack fiber, whole fruits such as apples and oranges are the better choice, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 3.

Fruit Juices and Sugar

One cup of orange juice provides 122 calories and 20.69 g of sugar, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Most gastric bypass patients avoid sugar because it can cause dumping syndrome, a condition that produces moderate to severe symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating and gas. Since fruit juices provide relatively high levels of sugar, Aills found that only 40 percent of bariatric surgeons allow them after gastric bypass procedures. The remaining surgeons instruct patients to dilute fruit juices with water to make a 50/50 solution, or to avoid juice altogether.