After a gastric band procedure, you will need to eat liquid foods for about two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, you will be able to begin eating pureed foods for 2-4 more weeks; then you should be ready to begin gently reintroducing solid foods.
What can I expect after LAP-BAND Surgery?
Adjustable gastric band surgery reduces the size of the opening to your stomach, which lowers the amount of food you can eat.
Once you have received this procedure, you will likely lose a lot of weight, provided you follow the instructions.
After getting a LAP-BAND, you will need to follow an entirely new way of eating than you did before the procedure. Your new diet will require you to eat smaller meals more often. It will be about four weeks after the surgery before you can eat solid foods.
What foods can you eat with a LAP-BAND?
After the weeks of eating liquid and then pureed foods, you should be able to begin phasing in solid foods. Here are some tips to help you as you begin to reintroduce solid foods back into your diet.
Eat Soft Fruits and Vegetables
At first, you’ll need to puree any soft fruits and vegetables. You could eat natural applesauce or make your own. You can also puree carrots and broccoli. You may use seasonings, herbs, and spices if you can tolerate them. Later on, you can bring whole fruits and vegetables back into your diet. Be careful to avoid fruit skins and stringy vegetables.
Avoid Eating and Drinking at the Same Time
This is one of the most important rules to follow after your procedure. You will need to stay hydrated but avoid drinking for 10 minutes before eating and 45 minutes afterward.
In the first few weeks after surgery, your stomach will be so small that eating liquid and solid simultaneously could lead to vomiting. Water could cause food to be forced out of the stomach, leading to a feeling of emptiness, which could lead to overeating as well.
Limit Pasta, Rice, and Bread
Each of these foods expands when it meets gastric fluids. This can lead to discomfort for some people. It can be helpful to avoid these foods or eat them only in very limited quantities.
Eat Small Portion Sizes
Because LAP-BAND surgery decreases the size of your stomach, it is important to eat small portion sizes to minimize potential discomfort.
Most people tend to eat a quarter to a half a cup of food at each sitting, for example.
Be Sure to Get Enough Protein
You will want to consume soft or pureed protein-rich foods and be careful to get enough of them in your diet. If necessary, you can add a protein supplement as well.
LAP-BAND is a tool which can help you lose weight, but not a solution in itself. The real weight loss results you will experience come from the changes to your diet after the procedure.
Are There Any Foods I Can’t Eat with the LAP-BAND?
After surgery, it is possible you will have difficulty with certain foods. This is known as food intolerance.
Experts recommend that people who have LAP-BAND surgery avoid foods that are very high in fiber, like celery, corn, oranges, asparagus, pineapples, and sweet potatoes. These foods may get caught above the band, leaving you with an unpleasant feeling that takes some time to subside.
Some foods that commonly trigger intolerance include:
- Salad Greens – Healthy, but high in fiber and may have difficulty passing through the band.
- Fresh Fruits & Vegetables – High in fiber, with thick skins which may cause difficulty in digestion.
- Bread – Some types of bread can block the opening of the band, even after adequate chewing.
- Meat & Dairy – These are a common food intolerance with LAP-BAND patients – If you have excessive difficulty digesting too many foods, you can have the band opening increased.
You will also want to avoid other foods known to cause issues among LAP-BAND patients, such as dried fruit, popcorn, fried foods, and pasta.
Food intolerance can make it difficult to consume enough nutrients with a LAP-BAND, making it very important to pay attention to the nutritional values of you eat.
Preventing Nutritional Problems with LAP-BAND
It is important to eat well to ensure you consume enough nutrients and have a balanced diet. It is also important to take daily nutritional supplements, as recommended by your healthcare provider. If you don’t take these supplements, you could be at risk of developing serious nutritional problems, even after only a few weeks. Missing some vitamins, like Thiamine, can lead to serious neurological issues if left untreated.
- Eat slowly, reserving 20-30 minutes for each meal, and stopping as soon as you feel full.
- If you eat any meat, ensure it is very tender, and cut it into tiny pieces before eating it. White meats tend to be better tolerated than red meats.
- Consult with your dietitian regularly to discuss your health, eating habits, and issues.
- Chew your food slowly, about 20 times per bite so that it is liquid before swallowing.
If you experience continued difficulty getting the nutrients you need, consult our team, and we can recommend certain supplements or dietary changes to help. They may also recommend changes to the way you prepare your food to aid in nutrient absorption and digestion. If necessary, we can adjust your band to have a larger opening to help with digestion. In extreme cases, we can remove the band or replaced it with a different bariatric procedure.
LAP-BAND surgery can mark the beginning of a successful journey to reaching your weight loss goals. If you eat a healthy and balanced diet rich in nutrients while avoiding potentially problematic foods, you could be well on your way to substantial weight loss and a healthier future.