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Bariatric surgery: learn about the nutritional phases of the postoperative period

Understanding the nutritional phases of the postoperative period of bariatric surgery, and how to ensure a balanced diet at every moment of this period, contributes to the positive effects of this increasingly accessible procedure. According to the Brazilian Society of Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery (SBCBM), in 2016, more than 100,000 surgeries of this type were performed in the country.

An important aspect is the weight loss process after bariatric surgery, which must be monitored by doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, and other health professionals. In addition, this is a phase of changes in the body and routine, and the support of family and friends is also necessary.

Now, understand the postoperative phases of bariatric surgery, divided into five specific diets, one at each stage of the recovery.

Phase 1

Clear Liquid Diet

The main objective of this phase is the hydration and readaptation of the digestive and absorptive tract after the surgical process when there is a high level of sensitivity. Considered a low-calorie diet – on average, 500 kcal/day -, the Clear Liquid Diet has very little or no food residue to maximize intestinal rest.

Therefore, for 3 to 10 days, the consumption of strained juices (avoiding acidic fruits), teas such as chamomile, lemon balm, and fennel, coconut water, and some vegetable and meat broths strained after cooking and without fat is recommended. A volume between 20 and 50ml at intervals ranging from 10-30 minutes is also recommended.

Phase 2

Complete Liquid or Creamy Diet

After the digestive tract readaptation period, it is possible to incorporate creamier foods in the diet but still liquid. This way, it is possible to guarantee slightly higher caloric consumption without compromising the weight loss process and recovery from bariatric surgery.

Liquefied and strained foods are still necessary for the Complete Liquid Diet, and protein supplementation should be prioritized. At this stage, milk, yogurt and soups should start to be mixed in a blender. Gelatin is also allowed. This diet should last from five to ten days, as per medical or nutritional recommendations.

Phase 3

Soft Food Diet

At this stage, chewing returns to the scenario, and softer foods begin to be reintroduced. Patients in the postoperative period can consume purees, rice porridge, polenta, crushed vegetables such as pumpkin, squash, chayote and beetroot, bean broth, shredded lean meats, eggs cooked soft or soft or scrambled, and omelets.

The Soft Food Diet has a slightly longer duration, and a period of 20 to 30 days is recommended. At this stage, protein-rich foods should be prioritized (on average 75g/day). Despite being more voluminous, it still provides some digestive rest and should be chewable with little effort.

Phase 4

Bland Diet

In the penultimate step of the readaptation process, the Bland Diet prepares for introducing a regular diet.

By now, the chewing process has already been re-established, but caution with the food is still necessary. It should be well-cooked enough to facilitate chewing, so rice and vegetables, soups, soft or shredded lean meats, and peeled fruits or pulp are recommended.

A period of 20 to 30 days before the patient starts a regular diet is also recommended.

Phase 5

Normal or General Diet

After the entire digestive tract rest process and the readaptation phases, including the chewing process, it is expected that the patient is physically prepared to reintroduce a regular diet with the necessary caloric intake into their routine. 

At this stage, protein-rich foods continue to be a priority in the diet, and between 100g and 200g should be consumed per day. Solid foods can also be part of the diet, but their texture should still be carefully observed to make the chewing process efficient until recovery is complete.

In all of these phases, it is essential to have medical and nutritional monitoring, ensuring a better quality of life for the patient, in addition to a safe and healthy recovery process.

Protein supplementation in the postoperative period of bariatric surgery

BEMMAX, by Prodiet, can be a great ally in the second phase of this postoperative period. It guarantees protein intake and the consumption of ideal vitamins and minerals to ensure a balanced and healthy recovery without interfering with the readaptation process of the digestive and absorptive tract. 

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