Gastric sleeve surgery (vertical sleeve gastrectomy) has surged in popularity as people worldwide learn of its upside potential, health benefits, and weight loss effectiveness. However, it is important to note that this procedure does come with risks, many of which can be avoided by following the postoperative guidelines.

The Gastric sleeve bariatric procedure is a procedure in which a large portion of the stomach is removed. As a result, reducing the capacity for food intake and losing weight loss at an accelerated rate.

This article will uncover the importance of dietary guidelines after surgery and the risks involved with giving in to food cravings.


Why Do Patients Ignore Post-Op Diet After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

Many who undergo weight loss surgery, such as sleeve gastrectomy, still have a deep-rooted psychological component to obesity that may need to be addressed. Food can be used for emotional comfort to suppress feelings of anxiety and depression.

Food is often associated with joyous occasions like family gatherings, weddings, and parties. Adapting to a post-op diet that starts with liquids after sleeve surgery can be challenging. Dietary guidelines are important, and failing to adhere to them can lead to serious consequences, some of which will be covered in this article.

Bariatric surgery is a tool. To maximize its effectiveness, it must be combined with a healthy diet and exercise.

Mild to Moderate Risks of Ignoring the Post-Op Diet

As stated, it is important that dietary guidelines be followed after undergoing gastric sleeve surgery.

If dietary guidelines are not adhered to, you run the risk of health issues, including:

1. Vomiting After Eating too Fast

After gastric sleeve surgery, the stomach is very sensitive and can not take in as much. To avoid nausea and vomiting, eat slowly, and chew food to the consistency of applesauce. This may help to prevent overeating.  By allowing ample time for the stomach to process each bite, individuals can avoid putting undue strain on the digestive system and minimize the risk of post-meal vomiting. Practicing mindful eating not only promotes better digestion but also encourages a healthier relationship with food, supporting long-term weight management and overall well-being after gastric sleeve surgery.

Eating too fast can cause vomitting

2. Plugging

This is a sensation that some patients may experience as a feeling of food being stuck in the upper digestive tract. This discomfort can occur when individuals consume larger food portions or fail to chew their food thoroughly, leading to the formation of a mass that obstructs the passage of food. Plugging can cause significant discomfort, pain, and even difficulty in swallowing. It is important for patients to be aware of the risk of plugging and to follow the dietary guidelines provided by their healthcare professionals, which typically include consuming smaller and well-chewed food portions to prevent this sensation. Adhering to these recommendations ensures a smoother passage of food through the digestive system, promoting optimal digestion, and minimizing the occurrence of plugging.

3. Lack of Weight Loss or Even Weight Regain from Poor Diet

After undergoing gastric sleeve surgery, it is still possible to over-consume calories. Avoid high-calorie liquids such as juice, fruit smoothies, milkshakes, and full-calorie beverages to facilitate weight loss success. These beverages often contain added sugars and can contribute to caloric intake without providing a significant feeling of fullness. Instead, opt for healthier alternatives such as water, herbal tea, or sugar-free drinks to stay hydrated and avoid unnecessary calories. By being mindful of liquid calorie intake, individuals can optimize their weight loss journey and achieve long-term success after gastric sleeve surgery.

Severe and Immediate Risks of Ignoring the Post-Op Diet

1. Perforated Stomach (Leak)

Eating solid foods before the stomach is ready can lead to serious damage. A perforated stomach, or gastric leak, can lead to

Prompt diagnosis and intervention are vital to prevent further complications and initiate appropriate treatment, which may involve surgical repair and administration of antibiotics to address the infection. It is essential for individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery to follow the recommended dietary guidelines and gradually introduce solid foods only when the stomach has sufficiently healed to avoid the risk of gastric leaks and the associated complications of sepsis.

Risk of Stomach Leak

2. Septic Shock

This is the most common cause of death in intensive care units across the United States. This can result after gastric sleeve through stomach and digestive system infections. Should a patient overdo and damage the stomach, infection is a risk that can lead to septic shock. The body’s immune response to the infection triggers a cascade of events that can result in septic shock. This condition is characterized by a severe drop in blood pressure, organ dysfunction, and a high mortality rate if not promptly and aggressively treated. Preventive measures, such as adhering to post-operative dietary guidelines, closely monitoring any signs of infection, and seeking immediate medical attention, are crucial in minimizing the risk of infections.

Benefits of Following the Post-Op Diet

Gastric sleeve surgery has great benefits that can be achieved through dedication and proper aftercare. Aside from long-term weight loss, some benefits of the gastric sleeve are:

Overcoming type 2 diabetes

A nutritious diet following gastric sleeve surgery is essential for achieving a positive outcome. There are three hypotheses in which a successful gastric sleeve procedure can assist patients in overcoming type 2 diabetes. Initially, both gastric sleeve and gastric bypass patients experience a decrease in insulin resistance and an improvement in insulin sensitivity as a result of limited calorie consumption. Secondly, gastric bypass surgery leads to a reduction in lipotoxicity (the buildup of lipids) by alleviating insulin resistance. Lastly, alterations in gut hormones following weight-loss surgery, like gastric bypass, modify the body’s response to the absorption of carbohydrates and fats.

Reduced risk of certain types of cancer

This dietary approach focuses on consuming nutrient-dense foods while limiting processed sugars, unhealthy fats, and excessive calorie intake. Obesity is a known risk factor for various types of cancer, including breast, colon, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer. By successfully managing weight loss through a post-operative diet, individuals can reduce the burden of excess adipose tissue, which is associated with chronic inflammation, and increase levels of hormones such as insulin and estrogen that can promote cancer development. A post-operative diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins provides essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that support the body’s natural defense mechanisms, including the immune system. These nutrients help neutralize harmful free radicals, promote DNA repair, and maintain cellular health, reducing the risk of DNA mutations and the development of cancerous cells. Thus, by embracing a post-operative diet, individuals can proactively take steps to minimize their risk of certain types of cancer and promote long-term health and well-being.

Following the post-op diet reduces risk of cancer

Increased mobility

Keeping up with a post-op diet after bariatric surgery also helps to increase mobility. By following the recommended dietary guidelines, patients can experience a range of benefits that positively impact their ability to move, engage in physical activities, and improve their overall quality of life.

A post-operative diet that is rich in essential nutrients, such as lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, provides the body with the necessary fuel to support healthy muscle growth and repair. As the body undergoes weight loss and adjusts to the changes brought about by bariatric surgery, maintaining muscle mass is vital for promoting strength, balance, and improved mobility. Adequate protein intake aids in the preservation of muscle tissue, facilitating the development of a lean and strong physique that can better withstand physical exertion and daily activities.

Conquering sleep apnea

Sticking to a post-operative diet plays a significant role in managing and potentially alleviating the symptoms of sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. The interplay between nutrition, weight loss, and the respiratory system can have a profound impact on sleep apnea and the overall quality of sleep experienced by individuals.

Weight loss has been shown to be an effective strategy in reducing the severity of sleep apnea symptoms. Excess weight, particularly in the neck and throat area, can contribute to airway obstruction during sleep. By shedding pounds through a carefully monitored and nutritionally balanced post-operative diet, individuals can experience a decrease in the amount of fatty tissue that surrounds and narrows the airways. This reduction in weight-induced airway obstruction can lead to improved airflow, reduced instances of breathing pauses, and enhanced oxygenation during sleep, thus improving the overall quality of sleep experienced by those with sleep apnea.

Following a Post-Op Diet will help Sleep Apnea

Improved sex life

Following a post-op diet can also improve sex lives, improve fertility (especially for those who suffer from PCOS), and increase pleasure after weight loss surgery. Excess weight can contribute to feelings of self-consciousness, decreased libido, and physical limitations during intimate moments. By successfully shedding pounds through a carefully managed post-operative diet, individuals often experience increased self-confidence and improved body image, which can positively affect their sexual self-esteem. Weight loss can lead to increased energy levels, enhanced physical stamina, and improved cardiovascular health, all of which can contribute to a more fulfilling and enjoyable sexual experience.

If you are considering undergoing gastric sleeve surgery and have further questions, we welcome you to give us a call at 855-768-7247

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