Many patients report food intolerances, especially during the period of time immediately following surgery once you're allowed to progress to normal eating. Some foods may not sit well and cause an uncomfortable feeling or even discomfort for a while. What should you expect if you're a pre-op or early post-op patient? What are considered normal food intolerances and are there other causes of food intolerances?
A few foods that are commonly not tolerated well after bariatric surgery may include, but are not limited to, pasta, breads, rice, beef, chicken, pork, eggs, stringy vegetables, fruit with membranes, foods with seeds, and cow's milk (or other dairy foods with lactose). However, with this in mind, every patient is different with what they can and cannot tolerate. Also remember that each day may be different. One day you may be able to tolerate a food that you may not be able to tolerate a few days later. Another thing to keep in mind is that some patients experience taste changes after bariatric surgery. You simply may no longer have a desire for certain foods that you liked prior to your surgery.
Some food intolerances are temporary and occur because your new “baby stomach” is not ready to handle that particular food yet. It’s similar to feeding a new baby. You might want to start with one new food at a time, individually, and see how it’s tolerated and then advance from there. By trying only one new food at a time, it helps to determine which food was not tolerated well. Remember to eat only a bite or two of the new food initially. It may be a good idea to try all new foods at home as well until you know better what you can or cannot tolerate. If you experience a food intolerance, many professionals recommend waiting a few weeks before trying it again.
Another reason a food may not be tolerated well would include advancing in the diet stage too quickly. Some patients may need longer than the average recommended time in a diet stage before advancing to the next stage. This is something you can discuss with your surgeon and/or dietitian.
From a more physiological standpoint, food intolerances (in general, not necessarily specific to bariatric surgery) may occur due to not having the proper enzymes or chemicals necessary to digest a particular food. This may cause symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, bloating, and gas, to headaches, changes in mood, and certain skin conditions. Symptoms may be immediate or may take some time.
There are several tricks of the trade that may help with reducing your risk of experiencing a food intolerance. Please talk to your surgeon, dietitian, and/or program before trying any of these to ensure your program is comfortable with your eating plan.
While this list is not all-inclusive and every patient is different, we hope this will help make your transition to your new eating plan after surgery a little easier for you. Please keep in mind that every program has different recommendations and every patient is different. Something that works for you, may not work for your bariatric buddy. We look forward to CELEBRATING with you as you transition to your normal eating plan!
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