Approximately 3 to 5 percent of American adults weigh at least 100 lbs. more than their ideal body weights, according to the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery creates a small stomach pouch and connects it to the small intestine by a Y-shaped limb, helps severely obese patients lose significant amounts of weight by restricting food intake and blocking calorie absorption. Patients must still make healthy food choices to maintain their weight loss.
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Gastric bypass patients must consume at least 60 to 80g of protein every day to avoid losing their hair and lean muscle mass, says MayoClinic.com. Appropriate sources include legumes, lean meat, poultry, eggs and fish. Protein supplements made from soy, whey, casein or egg whites help meet the increased need for protein as well. Avoid fried and other fatty protein sources to prevent dumping syndrome, an uncomfortable reaction to these foods that causes diarrhea, abdominal cramps and nausea. Many patients cannot digest shellfish or stringy meats, so choose flaky fish such as tilapia or tuna and ground or tender meats.
Fruits and Vegetables
Plant foods provide fiber and other nutrients, so include small servings of easily digested fruits and vegetables in your meals. Choose soft whole fruits or those canned in juice, such as pineapple, peaches or berries, to eat with your meals or to mix into protein shakes. Fibrous vegetables, including asparagus, celery and corn, may not digest well, but you may eat soft cooked or canned vegetables as well as raw ones if you can tolerate them.
Whole grains provide fiber and other nutrients, but gastric bypass patients should avoid refined grains such as white bread and white rice because they do not provide the same benefits, says MayoClinic.com. Many patients cannot tolerate soft bread because it blocks the opening between the stomach and the intestine. Instead, choose toasted whole-grain bread, oatmeal or brown rice. Avoid sugary breads, cereals and pastries that may cause dumping syndrome.
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass patients must avoid sugary drinks and those containing carbonation or alcohol, says MayoClinic.com. Water and other sugar-free, caffeine-free beverages, including herbal tea and water mixed with instant beverage flavorings help to prevent dehydration. Your nutritionist may allow some fruit juices, but the high sugar content of orange and apple juices may make them inappropriate for postoperative gastric bypass patients. After the first six months, your surgeon may allow small amounts of caffeine or alcohol, but follow her instructions. Caffeine may damage the lining of your stomach pouch, and you may not tolerate alcohol well after a gastric bypass.