It is no secret that fast food has a bad reputation in the weight-loss community. Especially after bariatric surgery, fast food must be approached with a healthy mindset in order to avoid stalls or dreaded weight gain. Many fast-food meals contain carbohydrates, sugar, salt, saturated fat, and trans fat. They are high in calories, low in anti-oxidants, and fiber with no nutritional value.
Although fast food has an unhealthy reputation, there are also many health-conscious fast food options on a bariatric diet. We created this guide for bariatric patients so eating fast food won’t jeopardize post-op goals.
Post-Bariatric Fast Food Guidelines
It has happened to everyone. You are with your friends or family, and somebody wants to stop at a fast-food chain to fill their appetite. Everyone agrees and you pull into the drive-thru. Now you are in a big predicament that can make or break your weight loss plans. Here are the tips for choosing healthy fast food after weight loss surgery.
1. Understand Nutritional Data
Your best friend in this case is the ‘nutritional fact’ menus. These will break down not just the calories these restaurants have to offer, but also the amount of sodium, fat, carbs, sugar, etc. in each meal.
As a bariatric patient, there is a nutritional blueprint you need to follow in order to maintain an effective weight-loss strategy. It is called the post-op diet. AVOID meals that are high in calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Plan your fast food meal around protein so you can fulfill your bariatric dietary requirements. The best options while eating out are typically protein-rich meals that are low in fat.
2. Basic Rules to a Bariatric Diet
Always follow the doctor’s orders first and foremost. After bariatric surgery, it is essential to maintain a healthy bariatric diet while following a meal plan. It is very important to follow a consistent eating routine that fulfills nutritional requirements. Remember to focus on eating slowly by taking small bites and chewing your food thoroughly.
3. Stay Focused on Your Weight-Loss Goals
Fast food after bariatric surgery is something that can be avoided. This guide is not an excuse to eat fast food regularly or to go with your nutrition plan. Do not lose focus on your weight loss goals and stay committed to your bariatric diet.
4. Fast Food to Avoid
It is important to keep away from foods that are soft or liquids like milkshakes or ice cream. These fill you up slower, which can cause bariatric patients to eat more. Solid foods will fill you up faster and keep you feeling full longer. Any drinks that contain calories like soda or sweetened beverages should also be avoided.
On a bariatric diet, you should not eat fried food such as french fries, fried chicken/fish strips, fried wonton strips. Don’t use high sugar/calorie salad dressings. Stay away from condiments with sugar such as ketchup, honey mustard, BBQ sauce, mayo, or special sauces.
Recommended List of Fast Food Options After Bariatric Surgery
Eating on the run is a reality sometimes, and can quickly become a problem for bariatric patients. Fast food offers us a world of food that is cheap, quick, and often tasty. However, as weight loss and health become more widespread, fast food chains adapt to build healthier food alternatives. So, the secret pleasure of fast food after bariatric surgery may not completely be a lost thought for all bariatric patients.
Here are top fast-food chains with low calories menu. For a low-carb, keto-friendly option, you can ask for no bread/bun/croutons on a sandwich/burger/salad and lettuce wrap instead.
– Premium Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken – 190 calories
– Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad, no dressing
– Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich
– Quarter Pounder
– Egg White Delight McMuffin® – 260 calories
– Egg McMuffin – 288 calories
Use McDonald’s calculator for nutritional facts.
– Ultimate Chicken Grill – 370 Calories
– Grilled Chicken Sandwich –
– Caesar side salad with lemon garlic caesar dressing –
– 6” Oven Roasted Chicken Sub – 310 calories
4. Jack in the Box
– 4 Piece grilled chicken strips – 250 calories
5. El Pollo Loco
– Double chicken avocado salad – 380 calories
6. Taco Bell
– Fresco chicken soft taco – 150 calories
7. In n Out
– Protein style cheeseburger (no bun, wrapped in lettuce) – 330 calories
– Burrito bowl with chicken, black beans, fajita veggies, fresh tomato salsa, lettuce – 360 calories
– Grilled Chicken Sandwich. 310 calories, 6 grams fat, 3 grams fiber, 29 grams protein.
Keep in mind to adjust your order to your health concerns and always exclude items with high-fat content.
Many fast-food joints give you the option to go “carb-less” by getting all the goods you would enjoy on a burger – wrapped in lettuce instead.
Does Fast Food Cause Obesity?
Although we are constantly reminded about the health risks, does fast food cause obesity? Is it fact or fiction, because most scientific studies and experts seem to think so.
One 15-Year Study found that individuals who ate at fast-food restaurants 3 or more times per week were 9 to 11 pounds heavier than an individual who did not eat fast food. It seems very subjective, as obesity has countless variables that can cause weight gain.
Fast-food consumption has been linked to obesity because of several factors including larger portions and high energy content.
Fast Food Contains Larger Portions
Fast food restaurants thrive on their inexpensive, fast delivery system that allows a meal at a moment’s notice. No shopping, no planning, and no mess. Fast food allows individuals to buy more food at a lower price.
In fact, a healthy meal containing 2,000 calories verse a fast food meal containing the same 2,000 calories will be nearly 10 times the cost.
Fast Food High Energy Content
Typically fast food contains high amounts of sugar, carbohydrates, and fats. These “high-energy,” foods will fill you up but with less essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamins are an integral part of digestion and health. With less essential vitamins and minerals means the body has less energy to thrive as it should.
What is the #1 Food that Causes Obesity?
Sugar. Foods that are high in high-fructose corn syrup (sugar) have been correlated with obesity. Recently several documentaries and experts in obesity have suggested that the rise in obesity is due to our increased consumption of sugar – and not fat.
Robert Lustig, MD, a UCSF pediatric neuroendocrinologist, says that, “High-fructose corn syrup and sucrose are exactly the same, They’re equally bad. They’re both poisons in high doses. Over the past century, Americans have increased their fructose consumption from 15 grams per day to 75 grams per day or more. The trend accelerated beginning about three decades ago when cheap, easy-to-transport high-fructose corn syrup became widely available. Much of processed food labeled “reduced-fat” instead has sugar added to make it more palatable, Lustig says. [Source]
Food for Thought
Armed with some knowledge and tips on what to look for and what not to look for, you can navigate any menu like a weight-loss pro without the fear of losing all your hard-earned work. Happy ordering!
- Read more articles about post-op bariatric surgery diet and nutrition
- Impact of Unhealthy Fast Foods
- Gastric Sleeve Results and What to Expect Post-Op
- Nutritional Complications After Weight Loss Surgery
- Nutritional Labels Change Contribute to Healthier Eating in the United States
- Motivational Non-Scale Victories of Past Patients (NSV’s)