Nutrition Guidelines for Adjustable Gastric Banding Patients

Adjustable Gastric Banding surgery was developed to induce weight loss. However, some behavior pattern must be modified simultaneously in order to achieve and maintain the desired weight loss. This page contains some information which has been helpful to those people who have made their operations successful.


After surgery, you will find that you need to make changes in your eating patterns, not only to prevent pain and vomiting, but also to produce the desired weight loss. Perhaps even more important is development of appropriate eating habits to prevent band slippage and obstruction of the stoma (the opening for foods leaving the upper stomach). Changes considered to be important are outlined in the following paragraphs.

Eat slowly and chew foods until they reach a mushy consistency. Swallowing food in chunks may block the opening and prevent the passage of food. The following are hints to help you eat more slowly:

1. Set aside 30 to 45 minutes to eat each meal.
2. Actually count the number of times you chew each bite. Aim for 30.
3. Make an EAT SLOWLY sign and place it on the table in front of you.
4. Explain to family members why you must eat slowly so they will not urge you to eat faster.
5. Take small bites of food. You may want to try eating with a baby spoon.
6. Pay attention to taste. Learn to savor each bite, noticing its flavor, texture, and consistency.
7. Chew well. Ground or very soft foods may be necessary if you have dentures.

Stop eating as soon as you are full. Besides causing you to vomit, extra food over a period of time may stretch your stomach. Indications of fullness may be:

1. A feeling of pressure or fullness in the center of your abdomen just below the rib cage.
2. Feelings of nausea.
3. Pain in your shoulder area or upper chest.

If you start vomiting, and it continues throughout the day, stop eating solid foods and just sip clear liquids (gelatin, clear juice, broth, and tea). The vomiting may indicate that your outlet is blocked. If intermittent vomiting continues for more than 24 hours, contact your doctor. Most vomiting episodes can be prevented. The causes of vomiting are:

1. Eating too fast and not chewing food properly.
2. Eating too much at a meal.
3. Drinking liquids right after eating.
4. Lying down after a meal.
5. Eating foods that don't agree with you.

Set aside three mealtimes per day and eat solid foods only at these times. It is important to eat nourishing foods and to avoid the habit of snacking. Eating often throughout the day may keep you from losing weight because you will be able to eat enough calories to maintain that weight. Individuals who continuously munch on crackers, potato chips or other foods have not only failed to lose but have even gained weight.

Drink four to six cups of liquids per day between meals. Liquids are needed to replace normal body water losses and thus prevent dehydration. Recommended beverages are skim milk, water, tea, coffee, and low-calorie drinks such as diet soda. Hints for drinking beverages include:

1. Do not drink beverages for 30 to 45 minutes before or after meals. (There is not enough room in your stomach for food and liquids both.)
2. Sip beverages slowly. One way to begin is by taking sips of beverages from a medicine cup or shot glass instead of drinking from a regular glass.
3. Eliminate high-calorie drinks such as milkshakes, soda pop, beer, and other alcoholic beverages from your diet. By sipping on high-calorie liquids throughout the day, many calories are absorbed without creating the effect of fullness. This will result in a poor weight loss record. Avoid carbonated liquids because they could increase the size of the pouch creating discomfort.

Alcoholic beverages (11/2 oz. Gin, vodka, whiskey)
Beer (12 oz. can)
Milkshake (large Dairy Queen malt)
Soda pop (12 oz. can)
Hi-C drink (8 oz.)
Whole milk (8 oz.)

Eat a balanced diet. Because the quantity of food you can consume at a meal is reduced, it is important that what you do eat be of good nutritional value.
Eating foods from each of the four food groups will provide adequate amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals for your needs.


After surgery, in addition to water you will first be offered clear liquids. Clear liquids include gelatin, clear juice, and broth.

In time, your diet will include blended and pureed foods. Blended foods, because chunks of food can obstruct the opening for foods leaving the stomach, causing you to vomit and experience pain. You may be tempted to restrict your diet to liquids, but this will prevent you from developing the habit of chewing your food properly.

Many things can cause discomfort and vomiting. Sometimes it may be a specific food. However, you should be careful not to avoid a food just because you vomited once after eating it. You may wish to wait a day or two, but then you should try the specific food again.


First and second weeks after surgery, continue to eat pureed foods in small amounts.

Third week after surgery. In addition to the pureed foods such as blended meat, meat paste, liverwurst, yogurt (not raspberry or other types containing seeds), you may begin to add cottage cheese, sliced cheese, cheese dishes, scrambled and hard boiled eggs, and fish. You may also slowly add soft canned fruits and vegetables. Baked potatoes (without the skin), rice, macaroni, noodles, crackers, ready-to-eat corn or rice cereals, and crisp toast.

Fourth to sixth week after surgery. You may begin to add meats that are ground after cooking, such as pork, veal, chicken, turkey, and beef. After your checkup you can begin to experiment more with food. Sliced meats as well as raw fruits and vegetables may be tried. Remember to chew them very well.

Certain foods may be difficult to tolerate. Since toleration for these foods varies from individual to individual, use your own discretion as to whether to include them in your diet. Through trial and error you may find that you are able to tolerate some of these food items, but there may be others which your digestive system cannot handle as well.

• Tough meats, especially hamburger (Even after grinding, the gristle in hamburger is difficult to digest)
• Membranes of oranges or grapefruit
• Cores, seeds, or skins of fruits or vegetables
• Fibrous vegetables such as corn, celery, or sweet potatoes
• Bread
• Chili or other highly spiced foods
• Fried foods
• Milk (Milk is an important part of your diet that supplies much needed protein and calcium. If you are unable to tolerate it as a beverage, it should be incorporated into the diet through foods such as soup, pudding, or cheese.)


It is important to:
• Eat slowly
• Chew food well
• Don't drink during meals
• Drink liquids 30 minutes before or at least 60 minutes after meals
• Stop eating when you are full
• Eat three meals; avoid snacking
• Sip low-calorie beverages between meals
• Select a balanced diet
• Exercise regularly

For successful weight loss after Adjustable Gastric Banding surgery, a change in your eating habits is necessary. The operation alone is not a cure--it is not magical. You will not be able to lose as much weight as you like if you eat continuously, or if you stretch your stomach by eating large amounts of food at one time. You will achieve your desired weight loss only if you are willing to control what you eat, and the way in which you eat it.


Milk Group Meat Group
1 cup skim milk
1 cup yogurt (plain)
1.5 slices of cheese
1/2 cup custard

These foods are high in protein. Protein is needed for wound healing and renewal of body cells.
Recommended Number
of Servings :

Recommended Number
of Servings :
1 oz. cooked lean meat, fish, or poultry
1 egg
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup liverwurst

These foods are high in protein and iron. Iron is needed to prevent anemia and increase resistance to infection.
milk group photo meat group photo
Fruit & Vegetable Group Grain Group
1/2 cup cooked fruit or vegetables
1/2 cup fruit or vegetable juice

These foods provide vitamins and minerals needed to regulate body processes, prevent nutritional deficiencies and increase resistance to infection.
Recommended Number
of Servings :

Recommended Number
of Servings :
1/2 cup cooked cereal
1/2 cup ready-to-eat rice or corn cereal
1 rusk
4 saltines
1/2 cup rice, noodles, or macaroni

These foods are needed for proper amounts of iron, B-vitamins, and carbohydrates.
fruit & veg. group photo grain group photo

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