There are essentially four sequential gastric bypass diets that a patient must follow while recovering from surgery. Though they vary according to doctor recommendation, the major categories of these diets are clear liquids, pureed foods, soft solid foods, and then solid foods. The goal of these different diets is to help the stomach to heal from surgery, give the patient the necessary nutrients to recover fully, and to ease the body into processing regular food again. Gastric bypass diets are also meant to help patients adjust to the smaller amounts of food that must be consumed going forward in order to accommodate the reduced stomach space.
Patients are not allowed to eat the first couple of days after surgery in order to allow the stomach to begin healing. Then the first of the gastric bypass diets can be introduced. In this phase, patients can only consume room temperature clear liquids. Acceptable foods include clear broth, strained cream soup, milk, and unsweetened fruit juice. High-protein liquids are generally highly recommended because they can help the patient start to rebuild strength.
The next of the gastric bypass diets centers on the introduction of pureed foods. Commonly recommended choices for this diet include high protein foods such as fish, egg whites, yogurt, beans, and lean ground meats. Soft vegetables and fruits may also be added to the diet. These foods are usually blended with liquids such as water, broth, or fat-free milk. Depending on patient reaction, this phase can last from two to four weeks.
Once a patient is adjusted to the puree diet, soft solid foods can be added. These include ground meat and canned vegetables and fruits without the liquid added as in the previous phase. This diet is typically followed for about eight weeks.
The last of the gastric bypass diets is the re-introduction of solid food, with some restrictions. In this phase, most patients are advised to add foods slowly in order to gauge the body’s response to each new type. It is generally best to avoid crunchy or spicy foods during this phase particularly and ideally in the future as well.
There are several foods that should be avoided once a patient has started eating solids again. These include popcorn, carbonated drinks, granola, nuts, and fibrous or stringy vegetables. Some patients may be able to add back some or all of these foods once healing is sufficiently advanced.