Also known as vertical sleeve gastrectomy, gastric sleeve surgery is a surgical procedure that reduces the size of the stomach by 85%. During the surgery, a section of the stomach is removed leaving a thin tube-shaped stomach. Because the stomach is so much smaller, the patient will feel full faster and consume less food leading to weight loss.
Before surgery, patients must prepare their body for the procedure. At least two weeks before gastric sleeve, food restrictions are made. This diet prepares the digestive tract and the liver for the procedure. This pre-surgery diet also helps prepare the body for the lifestyle changes it will experience following surgery.
Food to Limit or Avoid Before and After Gastric Sleeve Surgery
While the types of foods each patient should avoid will depend on their particular body and how it processes and digests food, there is a list of foods that all weight loss surgery patients, whether gastric sleeve or any other surgery, should always avoid. These foods include and are not limited to:
- Desserts and candy such as donuts or pastries;
- Fried foods;
- Fatty foods;
- Carbonated drinks (soda or sweetened Kool-Aid);
- Sugar (use sugar substitutes such as Splenda, Equal, or Sweet & Low instead);
- Whole milk products (full fat cream, sauce, or cheese);
- No fat or skin on meat or poultry;
- Fast food;
- High-fat meats such as hot dogs, sausage, or bacon;
- Limit added fats such as mayonnaise, salad dressing, butter, or margarine;
- Snack foods such as tortilla chips, potato chips, and other salty snacks.
Foods That Are Safe to Eat
Some commonly consumed foods before and after gastric sleeve surgery include scrambled eggs (egg whites only), oatmeal, yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, lean meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, sugar-free Jell-O, whole grains and protein shakes.
Related: Gastric Sleeve Post-Op Diet Guide
Protein is a major component of the post gastric sleeve diet and helps the body to fat burn while on a low-fat diet. For gastric sleeve patients, protein shakes or protein-rich foods should be consumed at the right time in order to prevent blockages from occurring. Drink a lot of water in order to digest properly, however never drink water while eating as you will feel full fast and not consume enough nutrition.
Helpful Tips for Preparing for Gastric Sleeve Surgery
- Begin choosing low-fat foods and eating at home.
- Practice drinking water and other fluid between meals only and try to consume at least 64 ounces of water daily.
- Practice sipping liquids as you will not be able to drink a lot at one time.
- Start decreasing portion sizes and eating 3 meals a day (do not skip breakfast).
- Practice chewing food thoroughly and eating slowly as you will be learning how much food you can safely consume with your new stomach size.
- Prepare your vitamin and mineral supplement schedule.
- Also, purchase all of the safe foods for post-gastric sleeve surgery and all protein drinks or shakes.
Post-Operative Gastric Sleeve Diet
There are four stages of the post-operative gastric sleeve diet: clear liquid, full liquid, soft foods, and regular foods.
Phase 1 Clear Liquid Diet (First week after surgery)
During this time all sugary drinks, caffeinated drinks, or carbonated drinks should be avoided. Patients can drink water, ice chips, flavored water, broth, Propel, 100% Whey Protein Isolate Bullets, skim milk, sugar-free Jell-O or Popsicles, mild tea, just to name a few.
Phase 2 Full Liquids (Weeks 2-3 post-op)
Patients will focus on consuming more protein during this phase. Some approved full liquids are soy beverages, fruit juices without pulp, low sugar, plain sugar-free gelatin, creamed or chunky soup blended, drinkable yogurt without fruit chunks, ice milk, sugar-free popsicles, blended fruit smoothies, low-carb shakes, applesauce, and protein shakes. It’s important to note these are just some of the foods you can consume during this phase.
Phase 3 Soft Foods (Weeks 3-4)
This phase focuses on transitioning from liquids to soft foods. Patients should consume 60-70 grams of proteins while making sure to minimize the amount of sugar, fat, and carbs consumed. Fat intake should be less than 30 grams a day and carbohydrates no more than 40 grams daily.
Some approved soft foods include:
- Egg salad;
- Tuna fish with low-fat mayo;
- Chick salad with low-fat mayo;
- Low-fat or mild low-fat cottage cheese;
- Scrambled eggs (poached, boiled, or soft);
- Fruit (mashed);
- Refried beans with a bit of low-fat cheese;
- Veggies (mashed);
- Pressure cooked meats;
- Sweet potatoes or potatoes, mashed;
- Yogurt (soft not frozen).
The goal of this phase is to eat a low-sugar, low-fat, low carb, and high protein diet.
Phase 4 Solid Foods (Week 5 and onward)
While the body has healed considerably at this point, it’s important you still do not eat many foods that are hard to digest or aren’t nutrition-based.
Some things to avoid include:
- Peanut butter;
- Hotdogs or Bratwurst;
- Fast food;
- Breaded food;
- Fried foods;
- Potato chips, pretzels, popcorn;
- Desserts (cakes, cookies, candy, ice cream);
- Heavy gravy or sauces;
- Fruit juice