For the first 2 weeks or so after surgery many doctors ask their patients to stay on a liquid diet. This is to reduce pressure on the stomach or gastric band that might be caused with eating regular solid food. Then for weeks 3 – 4 after surgery most surgeons will have their patients eat soft solids food, eventually transitioning to solid regular food.
Remember, the gastric band causes you to fill full with solid foods, but liquids go right through the Band straight into the bottom part of your stomach. As a result, liquids won’t make you feel full or satisfied and if you have high calorie liquids such as juices, shakes, or flavored drinks, you can take in a lot of calories without feeling full. Also, liquids can flush food through the Band so many doctors will recommend that you don’t drink while eating, because by flushing the food through the band you may feel more hungry.
The most important thing to remember is that the gastric band is designed to help you lose weight by feeling full with smaller amounts of solids food. It is not supposed to stop you from eating or get you so tight that you can’t eat more than a few bites. Since your stomach opening is smaller you do need to change the way you eat and follow the following advice:
- Chew your food thoroughly and slowly.
- Certain “chewy” foods may present a problem such as dry meat, or white bread.
- Since you’re eating less at each meal, make sure you start off each meal with protein sources.
- Stop eating when you are no longer hungry, don’t keep eating until you are full!
Dumping syndrome, malnutrition, and malabsorption
These are problems seen with the gastric bypass, NOT with gastric banding. Remember, with the gastric band surgery, the gastrointestinal tract is not altered. So the food that you eat is absorbed normally and you don’t end up with problems seen with the gastric bypass such as dumping syndrome, malabsorption of iron and other minerals, and potential long term malnutrition problems.