Eating One Week After Gastric Sleeve

What to eat 1 week after gastric sleeve surgery

If you just had the vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) procedure done – you may be wondering “now what?” It is easy to focus on recovery when you are still in the hospital and staff is helping you along the way.

After a couple of days, you were likely given your instructions about the post-op 4-Phase Diet and sent on your way. Having to take responsibility for your own care after surgery can be overwhelming. It is common for patients to forget some of the details of their post-op instructions.

This article reviews all of the dos and don’ts of the phase 1 diet after a VSG.

When you get to start phase 1 of your diet can vary among patients but your surgeon will let you know when you can begin. Phase 1 typically starts with sugar-free clear liquids while in the hospital with full liquids added a few days later. This can continue for up to 4 weeks. Your surgeon and Registered Dietitian will let you know when you are ready to move to the next phase – don’t move to the next phase until you are instructed to do so.

Gastric sleeve procedure

Before we get into the diet, let’s review your new anatomy. With the VSG procedure, about 75-80% of your stomach has been removed. A long sleeve-shaped tube was created along the lesser curvature of the stomach. As a result, your food intake is limited due to the smaller size of the stomach and reduced intake will lead to weight loss.

Postoperative diet

Food is reintroduced slowly following a VSG. It is a 4 phase diet approach but this article will focus on the first phase.

4 Phase Diet-Phase 1

The goal of the phase 1 diet is to prevent postoperative complications while maintaining hydration, providing adequate protein for wound healing, and providing vitamins and minerals.

The diet consists of liquids only.

This is because your gastrointestinal (GI) tract needs to heal and it is not ready for bulky foods. Liquids will help to maintain hydration or prevent dehydration.

Supplements can help ensure that you are getting adequate protein, vitamins and minerals. Usually, only clear liquids (juices and broths) are allowed for the first couple days – this is typically started within 24 hours after the surgery. Then full liquids (milk and puddings) are introduced after a couple of days.

High fat and high sugar liquids should be avoided. They tend to provide more calories which would be counterproductive. They also may contribute to dumping syndrome symptoms. The good news is that some preliminary research has shown that patients have a reduced preference for fat and sugar after a VSG.

Phase 1 of the diet can last for up to 4 weeks – your surgeon and Registered Dietitian will let you know when you can progress to Phase 2.

Specific nutrient recommendations of Phase 1 (liquid phase) include:

  • Drinking at least 64 ounces (8 cups) fluid daily
  • Consuming adequate protein daily:
    • 60 grams of protein daily minimum for women
    • 75 grams of protein daily minimum for men
  • Starting multivitamin and mineral supplementation regimen that follows the current Nutritional Guidelines for bariatric patients.
  • You can piece together your own vitamin regimen, but that can be difficult.

Bari Life’s Complete Bariatric Vitamin Formula products make meeting the Nutritional Guidelines as easy as possible. The formulations have everything patients need to fend off vitamin deficiencies in one single bottle:

Barilife-Watermelon-Multivitamin-Powder-60-image
The powder form is ideal for immediately post-op during the liquid phase because you mix it in water (or other beverages). This gives you the vitamins you need to stay healthy while promoting hydration.

Below are some additional tips for meeting the goals of phase 1 diet:

In order to maintain hydration, consider the following:

  • Carry a beverage container at all times and take small, frequent sips throughout the day
  • Aim for drinking 1-2 ounces every 15-30 minutes or 4-6 ounces every hour but no more than 8 ounces per hour (8 ounces is equal to 1 cup)
  • Don’t rely on your thirst to tell you when to drink a fluid
  • Avoid using a straw as it can introduce air and contribute to feeling bloated
  • If you are feeling full or having nausea, use it as a sign to stop drinking fluids temporarily until the fullness feeling subsides
  • Know the signs of dehydration, which include dry mouth, thirst, dry skin, nausea, constipation, fatigue, headache, and dark-colored urine
  • At least ½ of your fluids should include protein
  • Avoid carbonated beverages that may contribute to gas or bloating
  • Avoid sugar or high sugar beverages
  • Avoid caffeine

What foods are included in the Phase 1 diet?

*juices with over 15 grams carbohydrate per 8 ounces should be diluted by mixing ½ water with ½ juice. Juices with less than 15 grams of carbohydrate per 8 ounces, do not need to be diluted.

What should be avoided in the Phase 1 Liquid Diet?

  • Solid foods
  • Red meat
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Starches
  • Fried foods
  • Desserts

Additionally, some nutritional supplements like Ensure, Boost, Glucerna, SlimFast, Muscle Milk and Core Power should not be used. Their sugar and fat content can be too high.

In general, supplements should have at least 15 grams protein and no more than 200 calories, 20 grams carbohydrate, and 5 grams fat.

Phase 1 Liquid Diet sample menu

MealtimeMeal Replacement
Breakfast AMBerry Delicious protein smoothie packet
AM snackInstant vanilla protein drink bottle
LunchTomato soup bouillon protein soup
PM snackChocolate protein pudding/shake packet
DinnerBeef bouillon protein soup
Evening snackStrawberry banana protein smoothie packet

The final word on eating 1 week after gastric sleeve surgery

Following the recommended diet modifications after a VSG will help you reach your goals and avoid any complications. This review of the phase 1 diet may help to answer some of your questions as you get started.

Following the diet may be difficult at times. It can be helpful to keep a record of your intake and any questions you may have. Communication with your bariatric team and maintaining your follow up appointments will offer the support needed to ensure adherence to the diet and a successful outcome.

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