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Fitting Fiber in After Weight Loss Surgery


By Dr. Dieter Pohl

Following a healthy eating plan before and after weight loss surgery is vital to your weight loss journey. It’s likely you’ve heard that protein and fiber are essential parts of a healthy diet, but why? We’re going to go over a few reasons why you should include fiber-rich foods into your eating plan, as well as some recommendations for fiber.

Fiber Aids in Weight Loss

Fiber is often recommended for weight loss patients not only for health benefits, but because of the way in which our body breaks down fiber. High-fiber foods take longer to break down in the digestive system, which aids in making you feel full longer. Fibrous foods typically require more chewing as well, which can help slow your pace of eating and prevent overeating. High fiber foods also contain fewer calories which assist in maintaining weight.

Fiber Regulates Cholesterol

Many bariatric patients have had high cholesterol prior to weight loss surgery. Including more fiber-rich foods like beans, oats, or flaxseed can help lower total blood cholesterol levels as these foods help to bind with some of the cholesterol in the digestive tract and excrete it before it can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Controls Blood Sugar

Similar to high cholesterol, many bariatric patients have or had type 2 diabetes prior to bariatric surgery. Soluble fiber (foods mentioned above) can slow the absorption of sugar which can help improve blood sugar levels. While bariatric surgery may resolve type 2 diabetes in many weight loss patients, adding fiber-rich foods can further reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or redeveloping post-surgery.

While eating foods rich in fiber can be beneficial during your weight loss journey, it’s important to regulate your fiber. Adding too much fiber too quickly can cause bloating, gas and cramping, so it’s recommended to gradually add fiber into your diet. Be sure to drink plenty of water while increasing your fiber intake as well. 

Now that we know the importance of fiber, let’s go into some examples of how you can fit fiber into your eating plan.

Fiber First

Starting the day with a fiber-rich meal can help your digestion process throughout the day, and aids in keeping you nourished. Consider starting your day with a fibrous breakfast like Greek yogurt, cereals made from bran, or oatmeal.

Wheat in, White Out

Consider substituting out white bread for whole wheat, or all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour. If you’re able to tolerate grains, whole grain foods are a great source of fiber and can keep you full longer.

Beans, Peas, and Lentils

Using legumes in soups and salads, or for snacks like bean dips are a great way to fit more fiber into your meal plan. Beans are very versatile and can be used in addition to or as a substitution for other foods for healthier, more fibrous meals.

Fruits and Vegetables

Many fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber and can help curb those sweet or crunchy cravings. While certain snacks are good in moderation, try switching out crackers or chips for some carrots and hummus, or sweets for fruits like apples and berries.

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