If you are a regular coffee, tea, or soda drinker you should be aware that no caffeine is permitted for the first three months after surgery. Carbonated beverages; both diet and regular may cause gas, bloating, and an increase in stomach size due to the carbonation and are not recommended at any time for Lap-Band patients.
The second phase of the Lap-Band diet consists of 5 to 6 weeks of a modified full liquid diet; the key component of this phase is consuming two ounces of a protein shake every hour for ten to twelve hours a day with two ounces of other liquids such as soup, baby food, or sugar-free gelatin three times a day.
During the second six weeks following Lap-Band surgery patients may eat food that is shredded in a food processor prior to eating. The basic foods on the Lap-Band diet include meats or other forms of protein, vegetables, and salads. The Lap-Band diet does not include most bread, potatoes and other starchy vegetables. The length of these phases may be altered according a patient’s personal weight and weight loss goals – my first phase is five weeks, followed by a two week second phase.
Protein is especially important following Lap-Band surgery. After Lap-Band surgery the stomach will never hold more than 4 to 6 ounces per meal, so making every bite count is essential for healthy and nutritionally rounded weight loss success.
Lap-Band patients are advised to consume fifty to sixty grams of protein daily to avoid protein deficiency. Protein deficiency causes hair loss, fatigue, edema, muscle weakness, and a delay in wound healing. A lack of adequate protein may also lead to depression, anxiety, irritability, apathy, and other mental health conditions, as well as cause a number of physical health issues from gallstones to colds, headaches, low blood pressure, anemia, irregular hear rates, and, in extreme cases, death. A lab can measure the amount of protein in your blood by performing a serum albumin blood test.
Eating after Adjustable Gastric Lap-Band surgery means taking tiny bites, and eating very slowly. You should think of your new stomach as a “baby” stomach. You’ll be drinking protein shakes and relearning eating skills much the same way as a new baby eats formula (or breast milk), and slowly adds new foods from blended baby foods to chunkier baby foods.
Certain foods may never be well tolerated by Lap-Band patients. These foods include:
- Meats that are especially tough such as steak and pork chops. Some Lap-Band patients have difficulty digesting other meats that contain gristle such as hamburger.
- Oranges and grapefruits may not be tolerated unless the membrane is removed before eating.
- The seeds and/or skins of all fruits and vegetables.
- High fiber vegetables such as celery and sweet potatoes.
- Spicy foods.
- Fried foods.
- Certain spices including cinnamon, pepper, or onion or garlic salt.
- If you are unable to tolerate milk, it’s important to add other calcium and protein rich foods such as cottage cheese. Dry milk can be added to foods for added protein.
Any medicine you take may need to be adjusted following Lap-Band surgery since you will not be able to swallow pills that are aspirin-size or larger, or capsules or irregular-shaped pills. For me this has meant breaking a blood pressure pill in half, changing my tri-estrogen capsules to a cream form, and taking liquid antibiotics and painkillers for an unrelated infection.