Diet Guidelines For Gastric Balloon Patients

A woman with a bowl of fresh lettuce and vegetables.

If you’re reading this, you have probably been contemplating getting weight loss surgery. If you’re looking for something non-invasive and temporary, why not our gastric balloon procedure?

If you think that using balloons for weight loss is a strange concept, you’re probably not the only one. However, the use of balloons is a completely legitimate procedure and one we offer here in our clinic. We use what is called gastric balloons. They are placed safely in the stomach of our patients, helping their weight loss. But how are you supposed to eat if you have a balloon in your stomach?

We’re here to tell you that it’s possible. You just need directions on how to eat and what to eat while the balloon is in your stomach. Read on for a guide on exactly just that.

What Is The Gastric Balloon Procedure?

The gastric balloon is a non-surgical procedure that makes use of balloons that temporarily occupy your stomach. As a result, you’ll feel more full and end up eating less and losing weight. The balloons also slow the movement of food and water in your stomach, making you feel full longer.

There are two kinds of balloons that can be placed in your stomach: Orbera and Obalon. If you choose Orbera, the doctor will give you a mild sedative to make sure you are safe and comfortable. From there, your surgeon will pass a thin, deflated balloon in your stomach through your mouth. The balloon will then be pumped with saline until it’s as big as a grapefruit.

The Obalon procedure requires three balloons to be placed in the stomach over the course of several weeks. The Obalon balloon is packed in a pill-sized capsule and swallowed. The doctor will use an x-ray to check if the balloon has been placed properly. The doctor then will use a catheter to inflate the balloon.

What Can I Eat Before The Procedure?

Your stomach must be completely empty. Therefore, you must stop eating at least 6 hours prior to the start of this procedure. Also, don’t drink any liquids for 4 hours.

What Can I Eat After The Balloons Have Been Inserted?

Your diet will be divided into four phases. Before moving on to the next phase, make sure you are ready for it, that it feels comfortable for you. The gradual progression is important to lower the risk of unpleasant side effects. If you rush through, you might feel nausea, vomiting, pain, and general discomfort. Make sure to take things slow.

Stage 1 – Smooth Liquids Only For One Week

Start drinking fluids as soon as you feel like you can tolerate it. Sip small amounts throughout the day. Don’t allow yourself to become thirsty since you won’t be able to drink a lot.

Here are some things to remember for this stage:

  • Avoid carbonated drinks and alcohol at all times.
  • Try to have at least 1.5 to 2 liters of fluids each day to stay hydrated.
  • All liquids should be smooth. If you can drink the liquid through a straw, you’re good to drink it.
  • Avoid drinking a lot as this may cause discomfort and may even cause you to throw up.
  • Aside from water, you can drink lactose-free milk, high-protein shakes, and clear soup. You can even drink tea and coffee, provided you use sweeteners, not sugar.

Stage 2 – Puree Foods Only For Four Days

All the food you eat in this stage should be liquidized. Run them through a food processor and make sure they are smooth with no physical bits. Try to go for a yogurt-like consistency. The reason for this is that so the foods can pass through your stomach with ease. Puree foods that have high protein values so that you will feel full longer.

Eat around small five to six meals. Try pureeing about two tablespoons of your meals and snacks. Once you feel comfortable, you can add more. Remember to not force yourself to eat more, especially if you feel nauseous upon eating. Remember also to adhere to the guidelines of Stage 1 regarding hydration, and to still avoid carbonated drinks and alcohol.

Here’s a sample meal plan. For breakfast, you can have high-protein yogurt. For lunch and dinner, you can puree chicken with potato and vegetables. You can substitute fish for the chicken. And for snacks, you can again have yogurt, low-fat custard, or a homemade milkshake.

Stage 3 – Soft, Mashable Foods For 3 Days

Soft foods are those that can be easily cooked and mashed with a fork. You no longer have to use a food processor or blender during this stage. Avoid food that has skins or is hard, because you won’t be able to mash them easily. Examples of these are nuts, sweet corn, potatoes, and biscuits. Continue to avoid alcohol and carbonated, sugary drinks.

Keep yourself hydrated at all times. This time, eat three meals a day. Foods that fall under this category are porridge, soft fish, minced meats, and omelets. If you feel hungry between meals, you can snack on yogurt. Still, if you feel uncomfortable, don’t force yourself. Remember, you won’t have a good feeling if you eat too much.

Stage 4 – Regular Foods From The 15th Day Onwards

From the 15th day onward, you can gradually reintroduce your stomach to regular food. You can also start increasing the variety of food. Continue eating three regular meals each day, and don’t go for a long period of not eating.

Prioritize eating protein and vegetables. Eat carbohydrates only if there are no proteins or vegetables. For snacking, try eating fruit, yogurt, mixed nuts, or a glass of skim milk. Make sure to keep your hydration up. And congratulations, you can now start drinking alcoholic drinks. However, limit yourself to two glasses maximum. Remember to drink thirty minutes after eating to clean up your balloon.

Foods That May Be Problematic With A Gastric Balloon

After the insertion of a gastric balloon in your stomach, you might find some food difficult to tolerate. While everyone’s tolerance levels are different, there are a few common foods where you should take caution. These include:

  • Red or white meat that firm, dry, or both
  • Bread, especially the soft and doughy kind
  • Rice, especially if overcooked
  • Pasta, especially if overcooked
  • Fibrous food
  • Hard fruits and vegetables
  • Lettuce
  • Rich and fatty foods
  • Cream
  • Cheeses
  • Pastries
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Curry and other food with very strong flavors.

If ever you eat any of them, you might feel sick. You might also get the feeling that they are stuck in your stomach or throat. It is best to avoid them while the balloon is still in your stomach.

Get Your Bariatric Surgery Procedure Today At Weight Loss Surgery Los Angeles!

Interested in getting a procedure done? Weight Loss Surgery Center in Los Angeles not only offers the gastric balloon procedure. We carry a lot of other treatment options. So if you happen to be looking for gastric bypass surgery in Los Angeles or other procedures, look no further! Contact Weight Loss Surgery Los Angeles today to get your free consultation on the procedure you should get.

Posted on behalf of Dr. David G. Davtyan MD, FACS, FICS

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