Gastric Sleeve Post-op Diet Plan: Weeks 1-4

If you’re considering gastric sleeve surgery, you’re on the brink of a life-changing transformation. But after the surgery, your stomach will be only a fraction of its original size, and it will be in a very fragile state, requiring you to follow a very strict gastric sleeve post-op diet until your stomach can adjust.

Fortunately for you, we’ve put together a comprehensive gastric sleeve post-op diet plan, so there’s no need to feel nervous or apprehensive about the readjustment period immediately after surgery or the major changes to your diet and lifestyle that will follow.

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The Four Stages of Gastric Sleeve Post-op Diets

The key point for a post-op gastric sleeve surgery diet is ensuring you get adequate amounts of nutrition. In order to do that, you’re initially going to have to rely on lots of liquids, as well as vitamins and minerals. But don’t worry, you’ll eventually work your way back to eating solid foods.

The dietary recovery stages of gastric sleeve surgery include:

  • Stage 1: clear liquids
  • Stage 2: full liquids and protein
  • Stage 3: soft foods
  • Stage 4: Regular foods

Stage One: Clear Liquids

Within the first week following gastric sleeve surgery, your doctor will allow you to reintroduce clear liquids to your stomach. Sugar-free gelatin counts as a liquid in this context, and that could satisfy your desire to eat if it arises.

Other safe liquids include decaf tea and coffee, water, broth and non-carbonated sugar-free drinks. It’s very important to avoid sugar and carbonated drinks, as they can cause adverse side effects.

Stage Two: Full Liquids and Protein

During the second week, you’ll be able to incorporate protein into your diet. This means you get to enjoy small amounts of foods, such as protein powder mixed with non-sweetened and non-carbonated liquids, soft noodles, sugar-free and non-fat yogurt, pudding, ice cream and oatmeal made with a lot of liquid.

You should continue avoiding carbonated liquids and sugar during this stage.

The goal during stage two is to keep hydrated while consuming between 60 and 90 grams of protein each day. A specific recommendation will be made by your doctor, who will also recommend that you begin taking certain supplements during this stage.

An acid-blocker will be prescribed for up to 12 weeks to help prevent the risk of ulcers. A multivitamin, as well as an iron and calcium supplement, also are recommended in most cases.

Stage Three: Soft Foods

You’re now entering the third week of the process. At this point, you should be able to start eating solid foods again. However, the foods must be pureed, and you’ll need to be careful to chew each bite much longer than you’re likely used to. If you don’t properly chew your food, your new stomach won’t be able to tolerate it.

During this stage, you should be getting at least 20 grams of protein every meal. To make sure you hit that mark, stick to protein-heavy foods like pureed egg salad, cottage cheese, tofu, beans and yogurt.

You might find that your tolerance for certain foods has changed, so be sure to introduce new foods one at a time to see how your stomach reacts. Continue to avoid sugar, fibrous vegetables and starchy foods, including rice and bread. Small amounts of fruit are generally okay, but keep an eye on the sugar content.

You should also continue taking the recommended supplements during this stage.

Stage Four: Regular Foods

During the fourth week of recovery, you’ll finally be able to start eating like a normal human again. This will be an exciting moment, but your stomach will still be a bit touchy, so take it slow and listen to your body.

In addition to your daily protein shakes, test out foods like sweet potatoes, avocado, nut butters, fish and softly cooked vegetables. You also can continue eating everything from stage three, but pureeing the food is no longer required.

Issues With Your Gastric Sleeve Surgery Diet

In the early stages of a post-op bariatric surgery diet, you need to drink a lot of fluids. If your mouth feels dry and your urine looks dark, you need to consume more.

When introducing new foods during stage three, you might experience nausea and vomiting. If so, your doctor may recommend going back to the liquid stage. That’s OK; everyone heals at a different rate. However, be aware that internal complications can also cause nausea and vomiting, so if symptoms persist, you should visit your doctor immediately.

Life-long Gastric Sleeve Surgery Dietary Guidelines

From week five onward, you can slowly introduce more of your favorite foods in small amounts, but it’s recommended that you steer clear of sodas, sugary treats and other unhealthy foods in the interest of your health. And, instead of eating three large meals a day, you’ll want to eat four or five small meals and focus on getting your required amount of protein.

In order to make sure you stay on top of your diet, consider joining a support group or finding a community online so you can reach out to others who are in the same stages of the process as you are. Changing your life isn’t easy, and having someone who understands just what you’re going through can be extremely helpful.