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5 Foods to Avoid After Gastric Banding

  • As many as 200,000 adults undergo weight loss surgery each year, gastric banding being a popular option largely because it is considered less invasive than some of the alternatives. What are the perks of banding? It doesn’t require any cutting of the stomach or re-routing of the intestines, it’s both adjustable and reversible, and it doesn’t increase your risk of the dreaded dumping syndrome (nausea, vomiting, cramps that occur when food moves too quickly through the gastrointestinal tract). Still, adjusting to life with the band is not problem-free, and as many will attest, there are foods that just don’t agree with the band. Here are five foods to avoid after gastric banding…

  • A Mug of Beer

    By Len Rizzi (photographer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    “Beer is very filling and gaseous, and the gas causes bloating,” explains Christine Ren Fielding, MD, an associate professor of surgery and the founder and director of the New York University Program for Surgical Weight Loss in New York City. “It’s better to choose small portions of protein than filling up on high-calorie beverages like beer.” Also, avoid high-calorie juices, sugary sodas, milk shakes, fruit drinks, protein shakes, smoothies and high-calorie coffee drinks. The best bet is to drink water or other non-carbonated low-calorie beverages — but never with meals.

  • Prime Rib

    Photo by TheDeliciousLife on Flickr

    “Prime rib has gristle and tough texture,” Fielding says. “This can make it harder to chew and digest.” Instead, choose a filet mignon, which has a markedly smoother texture.” In general, avoid anything too dry or overcooked. To go down smoothly, foods need “lube” such as low-fat gravies, mustards or other sauces. Other dry foods that may cause post-banding discomfort can include popcorn, nuts and high-fiber foods, such as celery and corn.

  • Candy

    By Stefano Mortellaro from Catania, Italy (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    “Candy is high in calories and deficient in vitamins,” Fielding says. More importantly, Dr. Fielding notes that after you eat processed sugar, your body absorbs it and raises your blood sugar. When it drops about two hours later, it causes craving and hunger in an attempt to restore the blood sugar back to normal. It’s a vicious sugar cycle that will sabotage your weight loss efforts — and may be the reason you got banded in the first place.

  • Shrimp and Scallops

    Photo by bitslammer on Flickr

    When people eat shrimp and scallops, they don’t always chew thoroughly enough to break down the exoskeleton (external skeleton that supports and protects the body). “Chew them,” warns Mitchell Roslin, MD, chief of obesity surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “They are not an absolute contraindication after banding, but they are more likely to get stuck since we tend to eat them without chewing sufficiently.”

  • Chips and Dips

    Photo by Seabamirum on Flickr

    Chips, pretzels and other starchy foods such as white rice or creamy sauces tend to be high in fat, calories and taste, but they don’t fill you up and they won’t help you lose weight. The best foods to eat after surgery to promote optimal health are the same as those recommended for any well balanced diet. According to Dr. Roslin, “this includes fresh fruits and vegetables and lean sources of protein.” In addition, when adjusting to life after weight loss surgery, stick with three small meals each day and avoid snacking between.

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