LAP-BAND® Diet Restrictions
After LAP-BAND® surgery, you will be expected to make changes to your diet in terms of food choices and eating behaviors.
The procedure will help you limit food intake and control hunger, but it is up to you to choose the proper foods and adopt new eating behaviors in order to minimize complications and optimize weight loss.
Foods to Avoid
The LAP-BAND® diet should consist of healthy foods - foods that are low in calories and high in nutritional value. Eating foods that are high in sugar content, high in fat content, and high in calories with little nutritional value will decrease your rate of weight loss.
Foods that sabotage weight loss:
- Sugar and sugary foods, including: high-calorie soft drinks, syrups, honey, jelly, jam, cakes, cookies, candy, ice-cream.
- High-fat foods, including: chocolate, chips, pies, pastries, ice-cream, bacon, sausage, fried foods, cream soups, cream sauces.
- High-calorie drinks, such as milkshakes, soda, beer, orange juice, apple juice, other fruit juices, whole milk.
- Starchy and white flour foods, such as pasta, rice, and doughy breads.
- Fats such as butter or oil should be restricted to 3 to 4 teaspoons per day.
Some other foods need to be avoided, not for nutritional reasons, but because they can be problematic with the LAP-BAND®.
Foods that can cause discomfort and complications:
- Carbonated beverages - carbonated drinks (such as soda, carbonated water, champagne) can expand the size of the pouch with gas bubbles and cause discomfort.
- Fibrous foods and fruit skins - fibrous foods (such as asparagus, celery, corn, dried fruit, oranges, pineapples, sweet potatoes) or fruit skins (like apple skins) can get stuck in the stoma (narrow stomach opening created with LAP-BAND®).
- Rice, pasta, or bread - these items expand when they absorb liquids, like gastric juices, and can cause discomfort, so most patients learn to avoid or limit these items.
- Other problematic foods include nuts, popcorn, skins and seeds of fruits and vegetables, and tough meats such as steak, pork chops, and hamburger.
Can I drink alcoholic beverages with the LAP-BAND®?
Alcohol is not recommended because it is high in calories, breaks down vitamins, and has no nutritional value. The excess calories will slow your rate of weight loss.
However, an occasional small amount of wine or other alcoholic beverage may be tolerated with a few words of caution. With the LAP-BAND®, since you should not mix liquids and solid foods (mixing liquids and solid foods can cause discomfort and vomiting), you will likely be drinking on an empty stomach and your tolerance will be lowered. Also, carbonated beverages should always be avoided (to prevent gas and discomfort) with the lapband and this includes beer, champagne, and any other bubbly alcoholic drink.
Can I eat sugary foods with the LAP-BAND®?
Sugary foods should be avoided because they increase your calorie consumption without providing any nutritional value, but they will not make you sick or cause dumping syndrome.
Dumping syndrome occurs when sugar enters the lower intestine too quickly, resulting in cramps, sweating, rapid heart rate, and diarrhea. Dumping syndrome is a side effect of gastric bypass surgery, but usually not with LAP-BAND® because the stomach has not been bypassed and intestines have not been significantly altered.
Although LAP-BAND® patients can tolerate sweets, it is important to limit empty calorie foods in your diet to facilitate and maintain weight loss.
Can I snack between meals with the LAP-BAND®?
With the LAP-BAND® you typically eat three meals a day and one high-protein snack. You should not do any other eating. If you snack between meals you will consume too many calories and not lose weight.
If your LAP-BAND® is adjusted properly and you are eating high-protein, solid foods, you should not feel hungry between meals.
Eating Behaviors to Avoid
After LAP-BAND® surgery, you will need to adopt new eating behaviors. It is just not about what you eat, but how you eat and how much you eat in order to minimize discomfort, avoid vomiting, and reduce risk of more serious developments.
Some of the eating behaviors that can cause problems:
- Eating too fast
- Overeating - eating too much food at one time
- Not chewing food thoroughly
- Eating and drinking at same time
- Drinking carbonated beverages
These eating behaviors can cause an obstruction at the narrow opening or lead to vomiting which puts too much strain on the band and can result in a slip (when band moves out of position).
Achieve the Best Outcomes
To achieve the best outcomes, it will be important to follow the dietary guidelines recommended by your doctor. These guidelines are designed to reduce risk and increase weight loss.
Many of the side effects and complications associated with the LAP-BAND® as well as the failure to lose weight or maintain weight loss over time are related to patient noncompliance with recommended dietary guidelines.
Remember that the LAP-BAND® is only a tool, not an automatic solution by itself. Successful results are greatly determined by adopting the proper diet and lifestyle.