What to Eat Before Gastric Sleeve Surgery

If you are thinking of having gastric sleeve surgery, it is important to know what you can and can't eat beforehand. 

A bariatric diet is essential for desired weight loss. Adapting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will provide long-term weight loss.

In 2019, about 59% of bariatric surgeries performed were gastric sleeve surgeries. This widely performed bariatric procedure helps to significantly reduce morbid obesity. Typically, your bariatric team will recommend a pre-gastric sleeve diet 1-2 weeks before surgery. 

In this article, we provide insight on what a pre-gastric sleeve diet consists of. We also explore healthy pre-op meal options, how to maintain and how to sustain healthy weight loss.

 

What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

Gastric sleeve surgery is a form of gastrectomy. It encompasses the excision of part of your stomach. The idea is to make your stomach smaller to decrease the volume of food it can hold. 

This surgery is restrictive and slightly malabsorptive. The malabsorption can specifically affect vitamin B12 after gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgery.

This procedure is permanent. However, it can be revised if necessary. Many insurance companies will cover this type of bariatric surgery. 

The success of your gastric sleeve surgery is dependent on your ability to adhere to a healthy eating plan and lifestyle. 

 

Pre-Operative Gastric Sleeve Diet

The gastric sleeve pre-op diet promotes hydration, increases weight loss, and decreases fatty liver volume. This is a strategy to prepare for life after weight loss surgery.

The weight loss journey involves a procedure to induce long-term weight loss in order to combat severe obesity.

Lifestyle change involving eating habits and exercise are the cornerstones of the bariatric surgery process and weight loss journey. Food restriction, malabsorption, or a combination of both fuel rapid weight loss. 

This can also have an effect on digestive hormones that decrease blood sugar, reducing hyperinsulinism. Further increasing lipid breakdown and successfully treating obesity-related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes. 

 

What Should I Eat Before Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

If you are required to start a pre-op diet before gastric sleeve surgery, your healthcare provider will inform you on your food list and when to start.

You must follow this strict 2-3 week diet or it can be a matter of whether or not you are cleared for surgery. These very necessary steps prep the body for surgery in order to decrease the risk of complications and prepare the body for changes after surgery. 

Healthy living comes with the effort you put in. 

High Protein Needs

A very-low calorie diet can decrease the size of the liver pre-op. However, it can also promote weight loss. This weight loss will include water, fat, and muscle.

Proteins are essential in your pre-op bariatric diet. High protein will help to preserve your muscle mass and in turn, support metabolism. High protein pre-op can also prepare you for the high protein intake required post-op.  

Pre-Op Protein

Bariatric protein meal replacement shakes are ideal for both pre and post-op to ensure you are receiving adequate nutrition in a more accessible form. Meal replacements will provide levels of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein that can mimic a small, portion controlled meal.

Protein will help to maintain and build muscle, so that the body doesn't break it down for energy, but instead burns fat. Protein will also assist in wound healing so that your body can cope with recovery. 

As your scheduled operation approaches, your diet will become more liquid-based. Your doctor and registered dietitian will guide you.

 

3-4 Weeks Pre-Operation

It's good to start preparing yourself for lifestyle change after bariatric surgery. Try to include more lean meats, low-starch vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. 

A low calorie diet may be recommended. Caloric intake will be directed by the qualified healthcare provider. Since food intake may be restricted, it's important to be under the observation of your healthcare team.

If you are incorporating healthier options, shoot for:

  • Lean meat, including fish, chicken, turkey
  • Low-starch vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms
  • Whole grains, such as quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread
  • Low-sugar fruit like melons, strawberries, blueberries

Healthy Fats

When it comes to fats, HDL (high-density lipoprotein) fats are good. You can get them from foods like fish, nuts, avocados, and olive oil. Do your best to eliminate or reduce your intake of saturated fats, including sausage, cured meats and high fat dairy. Also, avoid trans fats in your diet, like shortening and baked goods. 

Pre-Op Hydration

Hydration is imperative. Your body requires fluids for the body to function properly. After surgery, the difficulty of staying hydrated greatly increases as you won't be able to take much in. That being said, it's important to form some essential habits before surgery in order to implement them after. 

Weight loss will include water loss, so it's necessary to replenish. Fluids will also help with regular bowel movements. Plan to drink 64 oz of fluids per day. This should include sugar-free and carbonation-free beverages. Water will always be your best option. 

Do’s and Don’ts Pre-Op

To see the most benefits out of bariatric surgery, there should be an emphasis on avoiding alcoholic beverages, cigarettes/smoking, and substance abuse.

You should exercise portion control and avoid binge eating. Your healthcare provider will also advise you on when to start taking a daily bariatric multivitamin. Following your new gastric sleeve lifestyle will be rewarding in the long-run. 

It might be helpful to purchase a bariatric cookbook recipe plan to provide high protein meals and controlled portions. A bariatric portion plate may also be a useful tool in helping with portion control. 

 

1-2 Weeks Pre-Operation

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFD) is seen in one-third of individuals who are severely obese. This means that fat cells accumulate in and around the liver causing poor function and increasing the risk of complications during weight loss surgery.

The liver reduction diet can vary based on your surgeon's recommendations. Some may prescribe the sole use of protein meal replacement shakes, while other may allow the addition of low-starch vegetables, such as asparagus or broccoli.

Ideal pre-op drink plans include gastric sleeve protein shakes. It should be a low-carb, low-sugar protein meal replacement shake. Bariatric soup can provide a savory option for lunch and dinner. 

The pre-op liquid diet is designed to prepare the body for gastric sleeve surgery. The idea is to shrink your liver, decreasing the risk of surgical complications.

2-3 Days Before the Procedure

At this stage, you would be switched to a restricted, clear liquid diet.

Water, broth, Jell-O, sugar-free popsicles, flavored water, decaf tea, and sugar-free electrolyte beverages are included in the clear liquid phase.

Due to your diet being so restrictive, it is not recommended to continue it for more than 5 days at a time.

The Night Before

Typically, you will be required to fast. This means that after midnight, you will not be allowed to have anything at all. Some medications may be taken with a sip of water, but this will have to be cleared by your surgeon.

  

Why is a Clear Liquid Diet Before Gastric Sleeve Surgery Important?

A clear liquid diet before gastric sleeve surgery is an important step.

You will need to be on a clear liquid diet at least 2-3 days before surgery to supply the body with options that require very little digestion. This will help to reduce the risk of complications. Clear liquids also offer electrolytes to prevent dehydration. 

  

How to Stay Committed to Your Pre-Op Diet

Dedication and motivation are the answer. Maintaining your stringent diet before surgery makes adapting to lifestyle changes easier after surgery, and throughout your weight loss journey. 

Be optimistic about your new weight loss plan. You should focus on the benefits of the operation and how your new bariatric diet will greatly improve your future.

Great-tasting bariatric protein shakes at your convenience will undoubtedly help you adhere to your pre and post-op diet with ease and motivate you on your weight loss journey. 

The best bariatric meal replacement shakes are those that are easy to prepare, easy to follow, great tasting, and affordable. They will include vitamins, minerals, fiber, low carbohydrates, low fat and high protein to suit bariatric needs. 

It is also wise to invest in a variety of bariatric cookbooks that include bariatric protein meals that are nutrient-packed, great-tasting, and budget friendly to utilize after surgery. 

Following your pre-op diet will decide whether or not you are cleared for surgery. Staying committed to your lifestyle changes before and after gastric sleeve surgery will provide great benefits regarding your weight and overall health. 

 

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**This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition. A qualified healthcare professional can best assist you in deciding whether a dietary supplement is suitable based on your individual needs.