How the Dumping Syndrome Affects the Post Gastric Bypass DietBy Jonni Good
Your surgeon will send you home with a special diet after your gastric bypass surgery. The diet will be specially formulated for three purposes – to give you all the nutrients your healing body needs, to help you lose weight quickly, and to avoid the uncomfortable symptoms of the "dumping syndrome." At first you will be asked to follow a liquid diet, but you will gradually move to solid food as your operation heals.
If the wrong foods are eaten after gastric bypass, you may experience nausea, rapid heartbeat, diarrhea and a cold and clammy feeling. These symptoms can be particularly upsetting if they occur in public, so you must stick to the diet even when you eat out. The symptoms are so uncomfortable that few people have any trouble avoiding the wrong foods after the first encounter with the syndrome. In fact, the dumping syndrome may be one of the reasons why gastric bypass patients are able to lose weight in the first year so much faster than Lap-Band patients.
The symptoms of dumping syndrome will probably become less noticeable about a year after your surgery, but may never go away entirely. You should expect to make long-term changes to your diet.
The symptoms of dumping syndrome occur when foods with high sugar content are eaten, or when you drink liquids with your meal. Red meats can also cause the symptoms, as well as high fat foods. Sugar and liquids drunk during meals may cause the food you eat to exit the stomach too quickly, which will bring on nausea.
Your doctor will probably advise you to sip liquids and eat very slowly during your first months after a gastric bypass. A meal will now require 30 to 60 minutes, and once you’re on solid food you’ll be asked to chew each small morsel thoroughly.
Since protein is needed for you to heal properly after your surgery, you may be asked to take liquid protein supplements in place of one of your meals each day. Some protein supplements contain sugar, and these must be avoided because of the dumping syndrome. Your obesity center will give you a list of brands that you can safely drink.
Gastric bypass surgery affects the absorption of nutrients, so multivitamins will be recommended to supplement your diet. A supplement that contains folate, iron and B12 will probably be prescribed, and you may also be given a calcium supplement.
To avoid constipation, you must consume enough liquids throughout the day, but not within 30 minutes of a meal. Your nutritional advisor will give you a list of drinks to choose from. You will be asked to avoid carbonated soft drinks, which cause bloating, alcohol and sweetened fruit drinks. You will be sipping water, tea, low calorie (non-carbonated) beverages or skim milk throughout the day. High-calorie drinks that have been sweetened with sugar will bring on the uncomfortable symptoms of dumping syndrome, (and they certainly won’t help you lose weight).
Calcium and protein are both important nutrients after a gastric bypass surgery, but some post-surgical patients will notice a new intolerance to dairy products. If milk gives you gas, cramps or diarrhea, your doctor may suggest Lactaid or soy milk. During the first few weeks after surgery, while you are still on your liquid diet, you must avoid any yogurt that has been sweetened with sugar or which contains fruit chunks. The sugar would cause nausea or cramping, and in the first few weeks after surgery the fruit chunks could block the opening from the stomach into your intestinal tract.
You will need to follow the post-gastric bypass diet carefully in order to get all the nutrients your body needs, even while eating very small quantities of food. This is not an easy task, especially when so many foods will bring on the nausea and diarrhea or the dumping syndrome. To give yourself the very best chance of success after your surgery, you will want to follow the dietary recommendations carefully.
In fact, most centers will advise you to continue with nutritional and behavioral counseling indefinitely, because it helps you make these drastic changes to your lifestyle. Studies have shown that post-gastric bypass patients who receive ongoing support are the ones most likely to have a successful long-term outcome.