Gastric Bypass Surgery Diet Without the Surgery

By Jill Corleone, RDN, LD

Obesity plagues more than one-third of the adults in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Losing weight is difficult, and some may decide to take more drastic measures, such as gastric bypass surgery. But weight-loss surgery is a serious decision, and if you're not ready to make it, you may consider following the gastric bypass diet without the surgery. Consult your doctor or dietitian before starting any weight-loss diet.

Surgery and Diet

Normally, your stomach is able to hold 6 cups of food at a time. Gastric bypass surgery is a procedure that staples off a large portion of your stomach. Immediately after surgery, the stomach can only hold about 1 tablespoon of food, and over time the small pouch stretches to hold about 1 cup.

Due to the size of the stomach immediately after surgery, the gastric bypass diet starts out as a liquid diet and advances very slowly over a five- to six-week period to regular food.

Diet Progression

Although you're not having the surgery, it's important to understand how the diet progresses. The first two days after surgery you're only allowed water and sugar-free, noncarbonated clear liquids such as broth and sugar-free lemonade. After two days, the diet progresses to include a high-protein liquid supplement along with the clear liquids, which is followed for two to three weeks. After about three weeks, the diet advances to include pureed and soft foods such as cottage cheese, yogurt, oatmeal, crackers and soft fish.

Remember, the size of the stomach for people who have had the surgery is very small, and they can only tolerate very small amounts of liquids and solids at a time.

Regular Gastric Bypass Diet

The regular diet after a gastric bypass surgery contains about 1,000 calories and 65 to 75 grams of protein a day. It's also important to drink 8 cups of fluid a day.

Protein should be the focus of each meal. Good choices include fish, poultry, eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk and soy In addition to protein, it's also important that you eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Sample Menu

Eat six small meals throughout the day on your gastric bypass diet.

A breakfast meal might include one egg scrambled with 1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal. For midmorning, you might enjoy an 8-ounce container of sugar-free nonfat yogurt with half a banana. At lunch, you might have 1 cup of mixed greens topped with 2 ounces of tuna and served with one slice of whole-wheat bread. Four hard-boiled egg whites with a small apple makes a good midafternoon meal option. A dinner meal might consist of 2 ounces of grilled chicken with 1/2 cup of roasted potatoes and 1/2 cup of steamed broccoli. One cup of milk with 3/4 cup of unsweetened whole-grain cereal makes a good evening snack. This menu contains 945 calories and 81 grams of protein.

Drink water or sugar-free beverages throughout the day to meet your fluid goals and keep calories under control.

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