Carbohydrates after Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric Tips

Before we dive too deep, lets start with some basics! 

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates aka carbs are the body’s main source of energy. Carbs are broken down into glucose to be used as fuel.

There are two different types of carbs: Simple carbs and Complex carbs.

Simple carbs: These are easier to digest and break down to sugar. Cookies, crackers, candy, pastries, etc. They don’t have much fiber and don’t keep us very full. They are also known as slider foods in the bariatric community

Complex carbs: Have more fiber and micronutrients. Take longer to break down into sugar. May keep us fuller longer. Whole wheat, grains, beans/legumes, fruits, etc.

One is not good and one is not bad. They are simply different in structure. Both are broken down to sugar. Both can be incorporated into your life.

Bariatric diets are naturally lower in carbs simply because protein and veggies/fiber take priority. Oftentimes, especially within the first year, there just isn’t usually room for carbs. 

Because restriction is so tight in the beginning, there usually isn’t room for too much else on your plate, and once there is, the next step should be adding veggies and high-fiber options.

Does this mean you’ll never have a cookie again? Does this mean you’ll never get to sit down and enjoy some popcorn?

Absolutely not. The post-op diet is there for a reason. It’s restrictive for a while. But it’s not forever.

Carbohydrate rich foods can also be trigger foods

It’s important to distance ourselves from foods that trigger us at the beginning of our journey to allow ourselves space to heal and learn new habits, especially if we struggle with food addiction. This is another reason we usually follow lower carb diets.

We cannot heal in the same environment that made us sick.

We need to give ourselves space and time to learn new habits before reentering foods into our lives too soon post-op.

Understanding which carbs are triggering for you is important as well as figuring out how and when to eventually have those things back in and figuring out what systems will work to keep us from being deprived but also keep us on track.

Low carb does NOT mean no carb

But lower carb doesn’t mean no carb. The goal after WLS is to get back to a normal healthful diet that includes ALL foods.

Carbs are the body’s favorite source of fuel. And there’s no reason why anyone should have to live without them forever. It’s actually NOT recommended to do that. Carbs are not bad. They are essential. They are energy. They are fuel. And they don’t make us fat. It’s okay to have carbs on your plate. Eat the amount of them that is right for you. Always listen to your body. And when you’re ready to reenter them, work with a Registered Dietitian to help you figure out the best plan for YOU!

Sure, we may have different sensitivities to carbs (for example: if you have insulin resistance or hormone imbalances you may need to moderate your carb intake differently, and if that’s the case, I recommend working with a RD).

Wrapping it up

It’s not that carbs will make us gain weight. It’s more likely than not how we are eating the carbs. The key is to pair them, enjoy them, and choose the carb sources that are going to keep us most full and satisfied!

If you’re ready to have clear guidance on how to eat in a way that feels joyful and supports your weight loss goals, check out the T.R.I.B.E – we are a one-stop shop where all your post-op weight loss surgery needs are met in one place. Not only will you have prime access to support materials on demand, but this month you’ll also have access to forty (40!) live support group sessions. The pressures of this time of year can dial up our emotions, so a community of people who understand what you’re going through is so valuable.

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Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as legal, financial, or medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional advice of your own attorney, accountant, physician, or financial advisor. Always check with your own physician, attorney, financial advisor, accountant, or other business or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here.