What you ‘Should’ and ‘Shouldn’t’ be Eating

We have seen an interesting trend among the weight loss surgery community – the constant search for ‘special’ foods products, or foods ideally suited to the weight loss surgery patient.

As a member of different online weight loss surgery groups we see endless questions on particular food products and whether they are ‘allowed’ or ‘not allowed’, or whether they are good to eat after a particular surgery. People often post pictures of food products seeking feedback – generally packaged food with clever marketing and tag lines.

We need to clear some things up:

  • There is no one food that should NEVER be eaten after weight loss surgery.
  • There are no magic foods that all weight loss surgery patients should eat.
  • Normal, basic foods are fine and adequate for people after weight loss surgery, it is the balance of these foods that is important.
  • Seeking out and only eating the lowest energy (calorie or kilojoule) foods or diet products is not always the best option.
  • The less processed, packaged, highly-marketed-for-magic-health-benefit foods we seek out, the better!

We realise this may surprise some of you.

We have worked with hundreds of weight loss surgery patients over the last 10 years and those we see doing well eat normal, healthy food most of the time. Rest assured, normal healthy food doesn’t mean lettuce leaves and apples!

Let’s take a look at a real life example of the choice we can make to nourish ourselves well or poorly. We have compared two common lunch choices, a pastie, or a tuna, cheese and salad pita bread wrap plus a skinny latte. The nutritional analysis of both meals is interesting:

  • Pastie: 498 calories (2085kJ),13g protein, 29g fat, 46g carbohydrate, 2.6g iron, 34mg calcium, 2.4g fibre.
  • Tuna, cheese & salad pita/wrap plus a skinny latte: 451 calories (1885kJ), 39g protein, 15g fat, 35g carb, 3.1g iron, 500mg calcium, 4.9g fibre.

As you can see the wrap and latte has more than double the protein, half the fat and less carbohydrate. It is also higher in iron, calcium and fibre. We didn’t list them as it became too much, but the wrap was also higher in zinc, thiamin and folate, which are also important nutrients after weight loss surgery.

Supporters of the pastie would say it is easy to grab on the run, but healthy choices can be made easier with some careful planning.

In summary, you need to find a middle ground of eating foods you enjoy, but that are reasonable nutritionally.

You do not have to eat foods you don’t enjoy. I am not a big lover of meat. I am not vegetarian, I do eat meat, chicken and fish, but I am often just as happy with a vegetarian meal. A high protein diet that required me to eat steak twice a day would cause me to become quite depressed the first day of commencing it! I can still get plenty of protein from fish, eggs, milk, yoghurt, cheese and nuts.

If you don’t like meat, you don’t have to eat it. Similarly, if you don’t like fish, or don’t like yoghurt, you don’t have to eat them just because they are “good for you” or “high in protein”. You need to find a middle ground that works for you.

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