You’ve decided to get weight loss surgery, went through the screening process, and set a date for the procedure–but there’s still work to do before the surgery. Like most bariatric surgeries, a gastric sleeve operation requires you to lose some weight before the procedure. This may include some exercise and will definitely include changes to your eating habits. So, what is the pre-op diet for gastric sleeve?

Bariatric surgery can be a life-changing decision, one that comes with its own set of preparations and commitments. Among these preparations, adhering to a pre-op diet is crucial for helping you reach your goals and minimizing risks during surgery. If you’ve scheduled a gastric sleeve procedure, understanding the ins and outs of the pre-op diet is essential.

What are the Goals of the Pre-Op Diet for Gastric Sleeve?

The primary goals of the pre-op diet for gastric sleeve surgery are to:

    • Reduce the size of your liver: A smaller liver makes surgery safer and more manageable for your healthcare team.
    • Shrink your stomach: By adhering to a low-calorie, nutrient-rich diet, you can help reduce the size of your stomach and prepare it for the changes that will occur during surgery.
    • Promote weight loss: Following a strict pre-op diet can help you lose weight before surgery, reducing the risk of complications and improving your overall health outcomes post-surgery.
      What Foods Are Allowed on the Pre-Op Diet for Gastric Sleeve?

What Foods Are Allowed on the Pre-Op Diet for Gastric Sleeve?

Before undergoing gastric sleeve surgery, your surgeon will likely prescribe a specific pre-op diet to prepare your body for the procedure. While pre-op diet plans may vary, they typically include the following guidelines:

We use a liquid protein drink-only diet for fast weight loss right before the operation for some patients. Generally, Weightwise believes in solid food except in three cases: The pre-op fast weight loss (as mentioned above), the first two weeks post-op, and the second two-week period post-op are soft foods. Other than that, solid food, three times a day with very low or no-carb snacks if you are hungry.

This will also prepare your body for the post-op diet, which is basically the same diet in reverse. As you begin to consume less food (while still receiving critical nutrients like iron and protein), your body begins to adapt to these changes. Hormonal changes will make you feel fuller faster and will cut down on the hunger pangs.

How Long Does the Pre-Op Diet for Gastric Sleeve Last?

Start making dietary changes immediately after your consultation and continue until the operation. It’s essential to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions closely and not deviate from the prescribed diet plan.

What are Some Tips for Managing Hunger?

Managing hunger during the pre-op diet for gastric sleeve surgery can be challenging, but with some practical strategies, you can stay on track and achieve your goals.

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help curb hunger and stay hydrated. Aim for at least 92 ounces of fluids per day, including water, herbal tea, and sugar-free beverages like Crystal Lite. Sipping water throughout the day, instead of gulping it down, will help your stomach feel full.

Focus on protein

Incorporate lean protein sources into your meals and snacks to help you feel full and satisfied. Protein shakes, Greek yogurt, and grilled chicken are excellent options.

Eat smaller, more frequent meals

Instead of three large meals, opt for smaller, more frequent meals and snacks throughout the day. This can help keep your hunger in check and prevent overeating.

Avoid sugary and high-fat foods

Sugary and high-fat foods can spike your blood sugar levels and lead to cravings. Stick to nutrient-dense, whole foods that provide sustained energy and satiety. This will also help prepare you for life-long changes to your diet after the gastric sleeve procedure.

Stay busy

Keep yourself occupied with activities that distract you from thoughts of food, such as going for a walk, reading a book, or practicing relaxation techniques. If you find time to spend 30 minutes a day on physical activity, you can carry this routine throughout the rest of your life.

Is it Normal to Feel Hungry on the Pre-Op Diet for Gastric Sleeve?

Feeling hungry during the pre-op diet for gastric sleeve surgery is entirely normal, especially during the initial phases when you’re transitioning to a liquid or low-calorie diet. However, it’s essential to remind yourself of the purpose of the pre-op diet and stay committed to your health goals.

If hunger becomes overwhelming, try implementing the tips mentioned above to manage your appetite and stay on track. WeightWise also offers Patient Advocates who are here to act as your cheerleaders, offer a shoulder to lean on, and help you through those difficult times.

FAQs about the Pre-Op Diet for Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Can I consume sugar-free beverages during the pre-op diet?

Yes, sugar-free beverages such as water, herbal tea, and crystal light are typically allowed on the pre-op diet for gastric sleeve surgery. In fact, it’s encouraged: you’ll need at least 92 ounces of clear liquid a day.

How many grams of protein per day should I aim for during the pre-op diet?

It’s recommended to consume at least 60-80 grams of protein per day during the pre-op diet for gastric sleeve surgery to promote satiety and preserve lean muscle mass. Your surgeon will give you more specific instructions so you’ll know exactly what you need to prepare for the procedure.

Are cooked vegetables allowed on the pre-op diet?

Yes, up to a point. Cooked vegetables are often included in the soft foods phase of the pre-op diet for gastric sleeve surgery. Be sure to avoid fried vegetables and opt for steamed or boiled options instead. However, the week or two before surgery, you may be restricted to an all-liquid diet.

Can I drink protein shakes on the pre-op diet?

Protein shakes or supplements are typically recommended during the pre-op diet for gastric sleeve surgery to help meet your protein needs and promote satiety. Choose sugar-free, low-calorie protein shakes for optimal results.

How soon before surgery should I start the pre-op diet?

It’s recommended to start the pre-op diet for gastric sleeve surgery several weeks or even months before your scheduled surgery date, as advised by your WeightWise team. This allows an adequate amount of time to achieve the desired goals and prepare your body for surgery.

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