The gastric bypass procedure is a common way for obese patients to lose large amounts of weight in a short period of time. It takes the stomach and forms a pouch, then cuts the rest of the stomach off from that pouch. The pouch part is then connected to a lower part of the intestine.
The new pouch is now responsible for storing food that is ingested. This pouch is much smaller than the stomach was originally, holding only about 1 oz (30 mL) of food volume at one time. Not to mention, food is passed from the stomach to the intestine at a much slower rate as well.
As a result of these changes, your body needs time to get used to your rerouted digestive system. For this reason, your surgeon will put you on a special diet before you can start introducing new foods. So what is this diet like, and how many calories & other important nutrients will you be able to eat?
How Many Calories Should You Eat After Gastric Bypass?
The post-op gastric bypass diet is very low in calories and is meant to cause rapid weight loss. Because you’re not going to be able to eat nearly as much after surgery, your body will burn more calories than it consumes. This is the main way that gastric bypass patients lose a great deal of weight.
At different stages of the diet, you’ll be eating different amounts of calories.
By the end of your post-op diet, your daily caloric intake will likely hover around 1000 to 1200 calories per day. However, different people have different caloric needs: for example, a 6’5” male is going to eat much more food than a 5’2” woman, even after surgery.
How Do I Get My Nutrients After Gastric Bypass?
Your most important goal after gastric bypass surgery will be to eat enough protein. Contrary to what some may believe, you don’t want to fast for an extended period of time after gastric bypass! In fact, protein intake is crucial for healthy recovery and it’s paramount for preserving muscle tissue, which aids in fat loss and promotes healthy testosterone levels in both men and women.
Your surgeon will require you to take protein supplements after surgery, and you may want to continue taking them even when you start eating regular foods again.
Lastly, your doctor will recommend that you take a daily multivitamin to cover any potential micronutrient shortfalls. You may also need to take an additional iron, calcium, or B12 supplement as well; however, do not do so without consulting with your doctor first.
Want to Learn More About the Post-Op Diet?
We have several other articles about the post-op diet. Go to our blog to read them!
If you have questions or concerns about the diet and whether or not you’ll be able to follow it, consult with one of our surgeons. We’ll be able to walk you through the process and show you that you can do it too!