The Weight Loss Surgery Food Pyramid

By Ayotunde Adeyeri, MD, FASMBS

The Weight Loss Surgery Food Pyramid (BFP) provides all the tools you need to lose and maintain your weight for the rest of your life.

You might consider it as a weight loss surgery “guardian angel,” so to speak.

Following this pyramid will keep you on track and on the course to success.

Simply stated, the BFP spells out what beverages, foods and nutrients to include in your meal plan from morning to night via four key nutrition categories:

1.    Fluids

2.    Protein

3.    Post-op vitamin and minerals

4.    Non-starchy vegetables

Level 1: Drink up

Dehydration is the leading cause of hospital re-admissions after weight loss surgery. You know the number – 64 ounces of beverages daily. What beverages?

  • Water, first and foremost
  • Zero calorie sports drinks
  • Sugar-free water enhancers
  • Broth
  • Decaffeinated teas/coffees

Level 2 and 3: Protein and Vitamins

Changes in your digestive tract after surgery can make it difficult to eat enough to meet your daily nutritional needs; plus you may not be able to absorb everything you are able to eat. To be safe, journal how much protein you consume and take all prescribed vitamin supplements every day without fail.

Review this information at your bariatric dietitian and doctor check-ups.

The goal is to eat 60 and 80 grams of protein daily. Don’t forget, protein-rich foods extend far beyond chicken. They also include:

  • Eggs
  • Lean meats, poultry, and fish
  • Low-fat dairy such as cottage cheese, low-sugar yogurt, shredded cheese
  • Tofu
  • Beans

Your vitamin and mineral needs change dramatically after bariatric surgery. Even with a balanced diet, vitamins play a critical role in helping to offset any potential deficiencies.

Minimally, your doctor and nutrition team will prescribe:

A bariatric-specific multivitamin
Calcium and vitamin D
Iron and/or vitamin B12

Level 4:  Non-Starchy Vegetables

Veggies are packed with a plethora of good-for-you nutrients.

Once you have eaten your protein, also enjoy a healthy serving of non-starchy cooked, fresh or frozen vegetables such as:

  • Leafy greens and lettuces
  • Peppers
  • Broccoli / Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers
  • Mushrooms
  • Aim to eat three to five servings of vegetables daily. If you recently had surgery, wait to introduce raw vegetables until three months post-op.

Carb Caution

Healthy fats and complex carbs should be consumed in moderation to offset potential weight gain and side effects, such as dumping syndrome. While healthy fats add flavor and nutrition, they can also add unnecessary calories.

Check with your IWL bariatric dietitian for your daily serving guidelines of these healthy fats throughout your weight loss journey:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Vegetable oils
  • Avocado
  • Fatty fish such as salmon or albacore tuna

Speaking of carbohydrates, we recommend that you limit your intake to a maximum of 50 grams daily. After you reach goal weight (and continue to exercise regularly), talk with your health team about adding additional carbs, in moderation.

I’m a big fan of the BFP because it offers daily nutrition structure in a clear and concise diagram. When in doubt, refer to these guidelines and you will never risk losing your way.

Melissa TennyTo get your weight back on track, especially if you have already tried other diet and exercise programs and did not achieve your weight loss goals, call our friendly and experienced weight loss surgery team at Sterling Surgicare, with offices in Holmdel and Old Bridge, NJ.

Melissa, our practice manager shown on the left, lost 150 pounds after having gastric sleeve weight loss surgery!

Reach out to (732) 217-3897 to make an appointment for your private consultation with Dr. Adeyeri.