Post-surgical diets


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Can I Follow Whole30 After Bariatric Surgery? by Catherine V.

Can I Follow Whole30 After Bariatric Surgery? by Catherine V.

So is this a good program to follow after bariatric surgery? Initially, you must follow the diet prescribed by your medical team for a minimum 6-8 months after your surgery. I cannot express the importance of this strongly enough! But for those of you who are farther out from your surgery and are looking for extra help in achieving your health goals, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the Whole30:

Pros of the Whole30 diet

  1. Mainly focuses on healthy foods: Lean protein and produce are the hallmarks of a bariatric diet, so consuming seafood, poultry, and lean beef with loads of vegetables is on target.

  2. Prioritizes planning and making your own meals: This typically leads to healthier meal choices, which is great. Plus it helps establish a good habit of prioritizing meal planning/prepping.

  3. Avoidance of added sugar: This is a healthy way to eat for anyone. It also is an added bonus for those with RNY-Gastric Bypass who may have dumping syndrome after consuming added sugars.

  4. Short time frame: A one month diet change is easy to stick to and can help you decide if it is a habit you would like to carry on.

  5. Not stepping on a scale/taking body measurements: This rule, although not directly related to nutrition after bariatric surgery, is a great way to focus on what you are eating and how you feel instead of trying to reach a specific number on a scale.

Cons of the Whole30 diet

  1. Excludes some healthy food items such as legumes, whole grains, and dairy products: Aside from the fact that evidenced-based research does not recommend excluding these food items from a healthy diet, by removing these large food groups, bariatric patients may find it difficult to meet their nutritional needs. Finding protein-rich foods that sit well in the stomach post surgery can prove a daunting task. Beans are a high-protein and often well-tolerated food after surgery and can also help prevent constipation. Milk, low-sugar yogurt, and cottage cheese are also highly utilized in the bariatric diet to meet protein needs.

  2. Doing this for only a month will not lead to lasting results: Diet changes have to be made permanent for long-lasting results. This diet may be difficult to follow long-term due to the restriction of large food groups.

  3. Avoidance of processed foods: Although most processed foods should be avoided, some products may have to be included in your bariatric diet. Whey protein powders/drinks are heavily processed but also a necessary part of the bariatric diet for most of the first year (and often beyond!) after surgery to meet protein goals.

Bottom line: This diet is not harmful for those who have had bariatric surgery in the past. Extra time planning your meals may be necessary to meet your nutritional needs; ask your dietitian for assistance. Additionally, don’t plan on all your health problems to go away (or possibly even improve) after following this diet plan. The research behind some of the Whole30 diet restrictions is not evidenced-based and the wide-sweeping claims in improving manyspecific medical conditions is too good to be true. What you will see, likely, is improved food choices for your meals and snacks and a heightened awareness of what you are eating throughout the day.

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