If you are thinking about gastric sleeve surgery or have already had it done, then you probably know your lifestyle and eating habits will have to change. Most people enjoy crisp French fries and a juicy hamburger before the procedure, but can you eat fried food after gastric sleeve surgery?
Looking for inspiration? Read about Heather's gastric sleeve journey!
Gastric Sleeve is a Tool – Not a Magic Wand
Your eating habits will need to change both prior to and after gastric sleeve surgery. Your doctor or nutritionist will give you a dietary regimen and it is important to follow this as closely as you can. Generally speaking after gastric sleeve surgery, you will follow a liquid diet, then a pureed diet, followed by soft foods, and finally solid food (1).
It is essential that you choose nutrient-dense options and abstain from old habits of poor nutritional choices. Your post-op foods should be rich in protein and low in fat. Gastric sleeve surgery is an effective tool, but it is up to you to use it properly. You will need to follow the protocols for the best results as this is a lifestyle change and not a magic wand.
Therapy is often recommended before and after surgery to help you work through any issues you have surrounding food. Processing your internal beliefs about food will give you the skills to make healthier choices after the operation. Therapy can be especially important if you feel addicted to a certain type of food or if you have doubts about being able to follow the postop regimen.
For me, I knew the addiction I had to food would have to be broken for me to make any big changes in my life. Seeing my weight creep up when I was following a healthy diet was extremely frustrating. I knew it was because of my thyroidectomy, but it didn't make it any easier to deal with. The guilt and shame surrounding the weight gain pushed me to binge eat even more than I was before, causing even more weight gain.
If you've had a similar experience, you know how difficult it is to break the chains that bind you to food addiction. Therapy – or even hypnotherapy – can help you break the cycle, with or without weight loss surgery. Getting weight loss surgery is just one more way to help ensure your weight loss success.
Why Can't I Eat Fried Food After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
A nutritious diet after bariatric surgery includes high protein foods, low fat, and minimal sugar. You can't eat fried food after gastric sleeve surgery because it is high in both fat and sodium, which can trigger dumping syndrome. Though this rarely happens with the gastric sleeve, you will experience discomfort in other ways. Many patients report throwing up food if they eat anything fried, and it is not a pleasant experience – especially after stomach surgery.
For gastric bypass patients, dumping syndrome is a big concern. Dumping syndrome causes food to move too quickly from your stomach to small bowel, and the symptoms can be uncomfortable or even painful (2).
If you choose to eat minimal amounts of fried food after gastric sleeve surgery, you will absolutely need to wait until your stomach and intestines have healed – at least 30 days postop. However, fried food is generally not recommended at all. There are better nutritional choices available to you. Remember how you ended up here and do not repeat the cycle.
Can I Eat French Fries After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
French fries will fall into the same category as other fried foods and should not be eaten after gastric sleeve surgery. They are high in fat and sodium with very little nutritional value. Focus on foods that are high in protein. Just as you shouldn't drink empty calories, don't eat them, either! 🙂
What About Fried Chicken?
Fried chicken will have some protein, but that is far outweighed by the fat and sodium which is also present. Fried chicken does not complement your nutritional needs after weight loss surgery (or ever). Grilled chicken breast is a much better option!
Can I Eat Other Junk Food After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
One of the best reasons to avoid fried foods as well as other junk foods after gastric sleeve surgery is because they can be trigger foods. We all have them – those foods we could just eat endlessly. For some people it's ice cream, for others it's potato chips or chocolate; if a certain junk food is kryptonite for you then it is best to avoid it all together.
As mentioned above, going through therapy before and after surgery will help you understand any issues you have surrounding food.
What are slider foods?
Junk foods are referred to as “slider foods” after weight loss surgery.
Slider foods are soft simple processed carbohydrates of little or no nutritional value that slide right through the surgical stomach pouch without providing nutrition or satiation. (3)
By their very nature, slider foods can be addicting. These include burgers, fried chicken, pizza, candy, sugary snacks or drinks, and potato chips. They are high in fat, sodium and sugar which is why our bodies love them so much. Nutritionally speaking, however, they offer very little value.
After gastric sleeve surgery, you want to focus on high protein, low fat, minimal sugar foods and this means junk food and fried foods should be avoided. Try to make your calories count with nutrient-dense foods.
Is Fast Food the Same as Junk Food?
Oftentimes, fast food is lumped right in with junk food, and fitness experts will tell you to avoid it. Life happens, though, and sometimes we need to grab a quick bite to eat on the road. After surgery, it is important you eat at regular times. Skipping a meal will make overeating more likely, which causes its own problems for someone who has undergone bariatric surgery.
If you're in a bind, make the best choices available to you. Many fast food restaurants will have healthier options. Order eggs off the breakfast menu – just skip the biscuit they come with.
Salads are widely available in fast food joints, but check the nutrition labels and forego the dressing if it is high in fat or sugar. A burger can be a better choice if you skip the bun and opt for a lettuce wrap instead.
Gastric sleeve patients can't eat much in the months following surgery anyway, so even if you don't make the best choices with food, you can stay under your calorie limits by making the healthiest choice possible.
Is an Air Fryer Good for Bariatric Patients?
If you still want crispy and delicious “fried” foods without all the fat and sugar, an Air Fryer will be your saving grace. Again, if fried foods are a trigger food, then you might want to consider if this will be a slippery slope for you.
An Air Fryer works by circulating hot air all around the food in a basket. This gives the food a bit of a crispy texture without all the oil. Air fried food has 70-80% fewer calories than regular deep fried food.
Because you should focus on nutrient-dense foods after surgery, you shouldn't really be popping French fries in the Air Fryer any more than you should be deep frying them… but a craving is a craving, and a small serving of air fried potatoes isn't going to break the calorie budget for the day. 😉
Always consult with your dietician or doctor to make sure air fried foods will help you achieve your health goals. Read the nutrition facts for any recipe you choose and make sure there aren't hidden sugars or fats. In general, proteins such as salmon and chicken will cook up nicely in the air fryer – even without that deep-fried breading.
Everyone should pay attention to their food choices to make sure they are getting the maximum nutrition for the calories in their food. This becomes even more important after bariatric or gastric sleeve surgery. Because of their high levels of fat and sodium, fried foods are not recommended postop. When you start to see the results and feel the progress towards your health goals, you will know all those hard decisions along the way were worth it.