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Gastric Band Diet

Following the gastric band diet is essential to your progress after surgery. It allows your newly shaped stomach to heal completely and helps the band to remain in the right position. It should be noted that a small amount of regurgitation is normal at first. In fact, nearly all patients regurgitate at least once in the first weeks. Frequent vomiting, however, can stretch the new stomach pouch and increase the chance of band slippage, should this occur you should call Dr. Shillingford.

1-2 Weeks Post-Surgery: Liquid Diet

Your stomach will only tolerate liquids during the first 2 weeks after surgery. Drinking small amounts frequently may help you avoid vomiting and consuming plenty of water will help keep you hydrated.

Recommended liquids include:

  • Clear broth or soup (no vegetables, meat or cream)
  • Skim milk
  • Fruit juice
  • Sugar-free popsicles

3-4 Weeks Post-surgery: Pureed Foods

You can start adding pureed foods (the consistency of baby food) at this time. You should eat protein-rich foods first, as this helps you maintain muscle while losing weight. Then move on to fruits and vegetables.

Foods may include:

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Peas
  • Beans such as peas
  • Low-fat greek yogurt or pudding

The goal of the diet for the first 4 weeks after surgery is to eat things that slide through the band and have less chances of getting stuck in the stomach pouch. This gives the band time to heal in the proper position.

Four weeks after surgery, the band is now ready to be activated and used. This is done by filling the band for the first time under fluoroscopy/x-ray. The band position is checked and it is adjusted to now start restricting your intake and help decrease your appetite.

4 Weeks Post-surgery: Soft Foods

As you progress to soft foods, remember to eat slowly. If you experience nausea, you may return to the liquid diet and introduce these foods again in a few more days.

Meals may include:

  • Tender, cooked fish
  • Ground turkey
  • Moist pork

Some products like bread, red meat, and rice may cause you problems. If so, stick to softer, more digestible foods.

6 Weeks and Longer: Regular

At this point you should be able to tolerate solid food normally, although in smaller amounts. Always chop up your food into small pieces and chew thoroughly. This helps reduce the chance of vomiting, stomach irritation and swelling. It may also help prevent any food from getting stuck on the way down. Keep in mind that your new stomach opening is about the size of a dime. Chew your food adequately so that it can easily fit through the opening.

The adjustable gastric band was designed to restrict solids, not liquids. Drinking liquids during or immediately after meals tends to flush food through the pouch and you will not get the prolonged feeling of satiety needed to help you eat less. Therefore, liquids should be consumed between meals only. Eat only three small meals a day and make sure that these meals contain adequate nutrients. Stop eating when your hunger is gone or if you experience any discomfort.