IMMEDIATE POST BARIATRIC SURGERY DIET: FLUIDS
There are 3 basic stages of eating after weight-loss surgery, regardless of type. ‘FLUIDS’, the first, is often considered to be the most challenging. Many return home from surgery, still feeling a little uncomfortable, certainly tired, clutching their hospital guidelines and then hover in the kitchen unsure about what to eat or drink next.
So what to do? First and foremost, follow your surgeon and bariatric team’s advice to the letter. Some surgeons will recommend clear then full fluids for just a few days after surgery, others for as long as 4 weeks. This is to minimise digestion, lessen the production of solid waste and ensure maximum healing of your new gastrointestinal system.
‘CLEAR LIQUIDS’, the sort you can see through and that will comfortably travel up a straw, are first on the agenda. They should be sipped slowly and never gulped. It is important to have enough of them to keep hydrated, which in reality means you will almost constantly have one at your side in the early days. It is important that some of them are ‘nutritional fluids’ to give you some nourishment.
Listed below are some typical good choices and you will find favourites among them. Everything does taste strange to begin with, often too sweet, so dilute with water or ice for a more acceptable concentration and flavour. It has to be said that variety helps here, ring the changes often so that boredom doesn’t set in. Even though there is a limited choice this is for a reason. They will maximise healing and you should only move onto the next stage when advised and ready to do so.
General guidelines are that you should aim for 2.5 to 3.5 litres per day. It will be very hard to achieve this at first but do try. Spread them out evenly. Everyone has different fluid requirements; the best way to check you are well hydrated is to look at the colour of your urine. If output is pale, you are drinking enough. If it is dark e.g. straw-coloured or darker or if there is little urine, you need to drink more.
The recommended fluid portion size at any time is usually considered to be less than 200 ml. In the very early days this will seem like an enormous amount! Each drink is also best taken more than 1 hour apart.
NEVER HAVE FIZZY DRINKS.
GOOD CHOICES OF CLEAR FLUIDS
- tea – warm traditional, fruit or herbal teas
- coffee – warm, ideally decaffeinated
- ‘no-added-sugar’ or ‘sugar-free’ squashes and cordials
- Bovril, Marmite or Oxo ‘salty’ drinks diluted well with hot water
- sugar-free ice lollies
- sugar-free jelly, made up as per packet instructions
- chicken, beef or vegetable bouillon/broth/consommé or clear soup
- a whey protein isolate fruit drink like Syntrax Nectar, made up with water –great for getting protein in the early days
IN ADDITION TO A DAILY MULTI-VITAMIN AND CALCIUM SUPPLEMENT
It may seem like an age but you will reasonably quickly then move onto the ‘FULL LIQUIDS’ stage which provides a little more variety and nutrition to your diet. This is a vital stage since it prepares your surgically-altered stomach for more food. This stage again can last just a few days or a few weeks according to surgical opinion. Always follow your own surgeon’s time-line.
Full liquids are those that are considered smooth and pourable. Mix and match them with clear fluids for good hydration throughout the day. Taste and flavour may still be off skew but again variety is the key to moving sensibly through this stage and preparing your body for the next one. It does get better every day and good habits can be quickly established at this stage to reap dividends later.
GOOD CHOICES OF FULL LIQUIDS
- milk – skimmed, semi-skimmed, soya, almond and Flora Pro active
- milky chai type tea – lightly-spiced for added flavour
- unsweetened plain yogurt or yogurt without added sugar and fruit bits
- smooth cream-style (but not high fat) soups
- whey protein isolate drinks, warm, cold or icy made up with water or milk
- whey protein isolate powder mixed with water or milk and made into an ice cream
- mashed potato mixed with a little broth or gravy until thin and soup-like
- diluted fruit juice
- tomato or V8 juice – warm or chilled
- Oatly – oat-based milk drink
- Rice Dream original milk
- Slimfast shakes and soups, although Slimfast may well prove too high in sugar for most bypass patients
- home-made smoothies (but not too thick) and shop-bought ones e.g. Innocent Strawberry and Banana, diluted if necessary with water
- cocoa (made with 4 g powder and 200 ml semi-skimmed milk)
- smooth-type cup-a-soups
- Highlight/Options hot chocolate drinks
- home-made vegetable, fish or poultry soups, pureed until smooth and diluted to a smooth runny consistency (gradually increase the thickness as you progress through this stage to the next soft or pureed food stage)
- low-fat and low-sugar custards
- very gently set egg custards