What to Eat Before Bariatric Surgery: A Guide to Pre-Op Nutrition

What to Eat Before Bariatric Surgery: A Guide to Pre-Op Nutrition

What to Eat Before Bariatric Surgery: A Guide to Pre-Op Nutrition
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  • 31.03.2023

What to Eat Before Bariatric Surgery: A Guide to Pre-Op Nutrition

Bariatric surgery is a life-changing procedure that can help you lose weight and improve your health. However, before you undergo this surgery, you need to prepare yourself physically and mentally for the operation and the lifestyle changes that will follow. One of the most important aspects of preparation is following a pre bariatric surgery diet that will reduce the risk of complications and prime your body for recovery.


Why is a pre-op diet important?

A pre-op diet is a special diet that you need to follow for two weeks before your bariatric surgery. The main goals of this diet are fourfold: to shrink your liver, to prepare your stomach, to protect your muscle tissue, and to lose some weight. Each of these goals is important for a successful surgery and recovery.

To shrink your liver: A large liver can make the surgery more difficult and increase the risk of injury or bleeding. By following a low-calorie and low-carbohydrate diet, you can reduce the amount of fat in and around your liver and make the surgery safer and easier.

To prepare your stomach: Your stomach will be significantly reduced in size after the surgery, so you need to get used to eating smaller portions and avoiding certain foods that may cause discomfort or complications. By following a liquid or soft diet, you can help your stomach adjust to the changes and heal faster.

To protect your muscle tissue: By following a high-protein diet, you can prevent muscle loss as you lose weight and preserve your lean body mass. Protein also helps with wound healing and immune function after the surgery.

To lose some weight: Losing some weight before the surgery can improve your overall health and make the surgery more effective. It can also help you develop healthy eating habits that will support your weight loss journey after the surgery.


What can you eat on a pre-op diet?

Your bariatric pre surgery diet diet will vary depending on your surgeon’s recommendations and your individual needs, but in general, it will consist of:


Protein is Key

Bariatric surgery patients need to pay attention to their protein intake. Protein helps to heal the wounds and preserve the muscles after the surgery. Protein also makes them feel full longer and avoid excess calories. They should choose protein-rich foods such as lean meats, eggs, dairy, tofu, and legumes. They should aim for 60 to 80 grams of protein daily before the surgery.


Hydration is Essential

Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining good health, especially before bariatric surgery. Drinking plenty of fluids helps to keep the body hydrated and reduce the risk of complications during surgery. It is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day before 2 weeks leading up to the surgery. There are other sources of hydration that can complement water, which are, unsweetened tea or coffee, low-calorie sports drinks, and broth-based soups.


Limit Carbohydrates and Fats

Consuming a low-carbohydrate and low-fat diet before surgery can help to reduce the size of the liver and make it easier for the surgeon to access the stomach during the operation. A low-carbohydrate diet helps to reduce insulin levels and prevent blood sugar spikes, which can contribute to inflammation and increase the risk of complications during and after surgery. It is recommended to limit carbohydrates to less than 100 grams per day and fats to less than 50 grams per day before surgery.


Vitamins and Minerals

Bariatric surgery can affect the absorption of vitamins and minerals, making it essential to consume adequate amounts of these nutrients before surgery. Some essential nutrients to focus on include vitamin D, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12. It is recommended to take vitamin and mineral supplements as directed by your bariatric surgeon or dietitian.


Avoid Sugary and Carbonated Beverages

Sugary and carbonated beverages can contribute to inflammation, increase blood sugar levels, and lead to weight gain. These beverages can also increase the risk of complications during and after surgery. It is recommended to avoid sugary and carbonated beverages before surgery and opt for water, unsweetened tea or coffee, or low-calorie sports drinks.


How to follow a pre-op diet?

Following  your special diet before bariatric surgery may seem challenging at first, but it is essential for your success and safety. Here are some tips to help you stick to your pre-op diet:

Plan ahead: To help you stay on track, it's a good idea to plan ahead and make a shopping list of the foods and drinks you will need for your pre op diet for bariatric surgery. Stock up on these items before you begin your diet, and prepare your meals and snacks in advance, storing them in portion-controlled containers. This will help you avoid temptation and save time during the two weeks before your surgery.

Follow the guidelines: It's important to follow the guidelines given to you by your surgeon and dietitian regarding what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, and how to prepare your food. Do not skip meals or snacks or eat more or less than recommended. If you have any questions or concerns about your pre-op diet, don't hesitate to contact your healthcare team for guidance.

Monitor your progress: In addition to following your pre-bariatric surgery diet, it's also important to monitor your progress. Keep track of what you eat and drink each day using a food diary or an app. This will help you stay accountable and motivated, and you can also weigh yourself regularly and record your weight loss. Celebrate your achievements and reward yourself with non-food items or activities.

Seek support: Following a pre diet for bariatric surgery can be challenging both physically and emotionally. You may experience hunger, cravings, fatigue, mood swings, or boredom. It is normal to feel this way, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Seek support from your family, friends, healthcare team, or support group. They can offer you encouragement, advice, comfort, and accountability.


In conclusion

A pre-op diet is a crucial part of bariatric surgery preparation. It helps to shrink your liver, prepare your stomach, protect your muscle tissue, and help you lose some weight before the surgery. By following a diet that is high in protein, low in fat and carbohydrates, and avoiding certain foods and drinks, you can minimise your risk of complications and maximise your chances of success. Remember to plan ahead, follow the guidelines, monitor your progress, and seek support when needed. Good luck on your journey to better health!

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