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Will I Have to Diet before Bariatric Surgery?
As mentioned in a previous blog post, part of the bariatric surgery preparation process may include following a doctor-supervised diet regimen for about two weeks before surgery. Although it may be tempting to want to eat your favorite foods before surgery, making healthy dietary choices can set you up for success. Below, Dr. V. Kuzinkovas goes into more detail about the pre-surgery diet to help you understand its purpose.
Prepare the Body for Surgery
One of the primary reasons you will be asked to diet before bariatric surgery is to reduce the size of the liver, which reduces some of the risk of certain complications. The liver is very close to the stomach and can interfere with bariatric surgery. If you have a high body mass index (BMI), you are likely to have a large liver that stores an abundance of water, fat deposits and glycogen (carbohydrates). But operating on the stomach when the liver is oversized can be dangerous. Following a calorie-controlled diet can reduce the amount of fat, water and glycogen in the liver to shrink it and allow for a safer surgery.
Prepare for a New Post-Surgery Diet
Another reason why a planned pre-surgery diet is helpful is because it helps prepare you for your post-surgery diet. After bariatric surgery, you must significantly reduce your food intake, consuming fewer calories. You will be advised to eat foods that are low in carbohydrates, fat and refined sugars, and high in protein. Eating this way a few weeks before surgery can help make the transition a little smoother after surgery.
We understand that every patient is different, which is why Dr. Kuzinkovas, his dietician and nutritionist will personally supervise your diet and provide you with dietary guidelines tailored to your needs. Generally, you will be asked to:
- Eat more protein
- Reduce consumption of fatty foods, including fried foods, fatty meats and whole milk
- Reduce consumption of foods containing refined sugar, including cake, cookies and soda
- Not smoke
- Not drink alcohol
- Avoid binge eating
Dr. Kuzinkovas may also want to go over your prescription and over-the-counter medications and make tweaks or eliminate a medicine altogether.
Note that in certain cases, you may be asked to follow a liquid diet prior to surgery.