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After gastric bypass surgery, your body will force you to change many eating habits for the rest of your life. In the beginning, the small stomach pouch will only hold a few ounces of food at a time. You will initially follow a prescribed, progressive liquid and soft foods diet. By 6 to 8 weeks after surgery, you will be eating two or three ounces of protein with a small amount of complex carbohydrates. This new way of eating, which includes finishing the protein first and limiting your sugar and carbohydrates, is the key to long-term success.

In addition, your stomach no longer helps you grind food, because only small amounts of digestive juices are available to turn foods into a paste. As a result, you will have to take smaller bites and chew them well before swallowing, because large bites or food that is not chewed well can cause pain or discomfort and possibly vomiting.

The “dumping syndrome,” the nausea cramping and diarrhea that may occur after consuming a meal high in carbohydrates, also means you will no longer be able to eat foods you may now thoroughly enjoy that are high in sugar, calories and fat. Otherwise, you will endure 20-30 minutes of nausea, and possibly vomiting, diarrhea, and overall weakness each time.

Unlike diets or other weight loss surgery options, you can’t return to your normal eating habits and food choices once you lose 20 or 30 pounds after a gastric bypass. This is a lifetime commitment, but one that will release you to enjoy other rewards of health, pleasure and expression not easily available to the morbidly obese.

For more answers about food choices after a gastric bypass, click here.

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