7 Foods to Avoid After Weight Loss Surgery
Written By: Emma Squillace
When someone has weight loss surgery, this does not mean they will automatically lose a significant amount of weight. These bariatric operations are powerful tools that allow people to take their hard work and commitment to lifestyle changes, and turn those into results. Patients often ask us what lessons we’ve learned as weight loss experts, and what lessons we’ve learned from helping so many patients along a successful journey to finding their health. Some of those lessons are specific to the food choices that successful weight loss patients make.
While we often talk about foods that are great for weight loss, today we’ll talk about some of the foods we encourage our patients to avoid after bariatric surgery. In general, there is no single food that will “ruin” your weight loss efforts. Even foods we traditionally think of as unhealthy – like pizza, cake, or potato chips – can have a place in your new healthy eating routine. If you try to completely deprive yourself of a favorite food, that can backfire. However, there are foods we know can be road blocks to losing weight after surgery, so these are good ones to avoid except for special treats:
- Milkshakes. While a milkshake may not be the first ‘dangerous’ food you think of for weight loss surgery patients, there is an important reason for this warning. Part of the reason weight loss surgeries help someone lose weight, is that in many cases their stomach pouch is smaller, so food fills them up more quickly. When you eat solid food, it sits in your stomach as you digest. However, a milkshake is not going to sit in your stomach for long. You end up with large amounts of liquid calories do not add bulk to help you feel full.
- White bread. White bread is a refined carbohydrate that adds little nutritional value to your day. If you are going to eat bread, a truly whole-grain piece of bread will give you more protein and more fiber, for the same calories.
- Processed lunch meat. Sometimes a slice of turkey meat can be a good option, especially as a quick snack. But be careful because many processed lunch meats are very high in sodium. For instance, one popular lunch meat brand offers chipotle chicken slices. With only 45 calories per serving, that sounds like a good option. However, those same 45 calories come with over 600mg of sodium! That’s more than triple the sodium in a serving of Lay’s potato chips.
- Ketchup. Ketchup is probably a surprise entry on this list for many people! While a little ketchup here and there is not going to ruin any diet, ketchup has a surprising amount of sugar. Some brands of ketchup can give you 1 teaspoon of sugar for every 1 tablespoon of ketchup you eat. The same goes for BBQ and hoisin sauces.
- Popcorn. Popcorn can actually be a relatively healthy snack food since air-popped popcorn is low in calories, and has some fiber. The reason we recommend avoiding popcorn is that after weight loss surgery it can irritate your digestive system. You may be able to add some popcorn back into your diet after you are well-healed, but do not rush it.
- Fried food. There are a few reasons we tell patients to avoid fried foods after weight loss surgery. These foods tend to be high in fat and sodium – even if you’re eating a fried veggie like zucchini sticks. Not only will this work against your weight loss efforts, but greasy fried food can be hard to digest. These digestive issues are especially prominent after gastric bypass surgery.
- Dried fruit. Yes, dried fruit is still fruit and that is the good news. The problem with dried fruit is that during the process of dehydrating the fruit, the water content is lost and the volume of the fruit is reduced substantially. Think about a dried apricot. Most of us could easily eat 10 of those. But would it be just as easy to eat 10 ripe apricots? No – because the water content in the fresh fruit would fill you up and slow down your eating. One cup of dried apricots has over 300 calories, and almost 70 grams of sugar!
While we’ve given you some foods we recommend avoiding after weight loss surgery, these are also great foods to examine if you are trying to lose weight with diet and exercise alone.
Losing weight – even with weight loss surgery – is a lot of work. We are here for you if you have any questions about our procedures, what life is like after weight loss surgery, or how our program can support you on your journey to success. Our supportive weight loss team can be reached at (855) 690-0565.