What Should Gastric Sleeve Calorie Intake Be Post-Surgery?

Woman wearing too-large jeans after gastric sleeve surgery.

Gastric sleeve surgery is designed to help people who have struggled with obesity to lose weight and live healthy lives. According to the Mayo Clinic, people who qualify for a gastric sleeve have a BMI of 40 or higher and have not found traditional diets to be helpful. The gastric sleeve shrinks the stomach, making it possible for people who have the surgery to feel satisfied with only a small amount of food.

One thing that can pose a challenge is understanding calories after gastric sleeve surgery. While guidelines can change as time progresses, the general rule of thumb is that people who get gastric sleeve surgery should restrict their caloric intake to avoid post-surgery complications that can hamper their weight loss.

How Many Calories Should I Eat After Gastric Sleeve?

Gastric sleeve surgery reduces the stomach to about the size of an egg. For that reason, it is essential to adhere to the dietary guidelines provided by the surgeon.

According to the University of California San Francisco, a patient should consume only clear liquids immediately after surgery. Some examples include broth, juice, and Jell-O. 

Upon being released from the hospital, patients should add thicker liquids such as protein shakes to supplement the clear liquids. The typical caloric intake at this stage is between 300 and 600 calories per day.

When Can a Gastric Sleeve Patient Add Additional Foods?

Two weeks after gastric sleeve surgery, patients can add additional foods to their diet. The Mayo Clinic suggests that patients eat three to six small meals per day with each meal consisting of four to six tablespoons of food. They recommend taking at least 30 minutes to eat each meal.

At this stage, patients may puree food and eat it. They should stay away from hard or crunchy food. Some examples of foods that may be eaten during this stage include cottage cheese, soft scrambled eggs, and oatmeal.

They recommend that patients drink 64 ounces of water per day to stay hydrated. They also suggest the following guidelines.

  • Not drinking too close to mealtime since it may cause the stomach to feel bloated.
  • Taking prescribed daily vitamins to ensure proper nutrition.
  • Focusing on high protein foods to reach a target of 60 to 75 grams of protein per day.
  • Avoiding foods that are high in sugar or fat.

Every patient should receive a written diet with detailed recommendations from their doctor. We have included a few highlights here but you should always discuss post-surgical care with your physician.

Small protein shake meal after gastric sleeve.

Calorie Intake One Year After Gastric Bypass

Patients who have gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery typically want to lose large amounts of weight. Even a year after surgery, they still need to adhere to a prescribed dietary program that limits calories.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a daily caloric intake between 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day for patients beginning four months after gastric sleeve surgery.

The general nutritional guidelines say that a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fats is ideal for post-surgical patients. Many patients do best when they stick to eating four to six small meals per day.

Suggested Meals After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Most of the clinics and publications that have addressed a diet after gastric sleeve surgery suggest that each meal should be about 50% protein, 25% carbohydrates, and 25% healthy fat.

Here are some examples of meals to eat after gastric sleeve surgery:

  • Breakfast: cottage cheese, low-sugar fruit, natural nut butter
  • Lunch: chicken breast, stir-fried veggies, olive oil
  • Dinner: Fish, brown rice, avocado

People who have a gastric sleeve should avoid certain foods, too. Examples include carbonated beverages, alcohol, fibrous fruits and vegetables, and foods high in refined carbs, including bread, pasta, and sugary food.

How Large Should Meals Be After Gastric Sleeve?

Some doctors recommend a very low calorie diet of as little as 900 calories after gastric sleeve surgery. This is considered a very low calorie diet and should only be attempted with the advice and guidance of a physician.

To keep calories low and avoid overloading the stomach, many post-gastric sleeve eating plans recommend making each meal small, with between four and six ounces of food at most. That might not sound like much, but it is often enough to make someone who has a gastric sleeve feel full.

Keep in mind, too, that you’ll be measuring your caloric intake by tracking food. Eating four to six small meals a day can help to reduce hunger between meals, as can drinking plenty of water between meals.

Tracking Calories is Essential After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric sleeve surgery can help people who have struggled to shed excess pounds get to a healthy weight and stay there. Knowing the proper gastric sleeve calorie intake is essential for anybody who wants to reach their weight loss goal.

By eating small meals with the proper nutritional balance, those who have a gastric sleeve can stick to their recommended eating plan and lose the weight they want to lose.

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a healthcare professional.

This entry was posted in Health, Lifestyle, Wellness and tagged , , , , . By Aimee Parrott