I Can Eat a Lot After Gastric Sleeve- Is It Alarming?

Are you the one who complains, “I can eat a lot after gastric sleeve?” Is binge eating disturbing your weight loss journey? Well, overeating can be a big threat to post-surgery progress. This is because it can reverse the goal of the surgery and can lead to weight regain. Not only this, but it can also lead to stretching of the stomach and impose several other health risks.

Sleeve gastrectomy is an irreversible process that not only helps you shed off those extra pounds but also improves the body’s metabolism. Overeating might ruin the main objective of the surgery. So, to avoid that here I’ll share with you some long-term commitments in this write-up which will surely benefit your weight loss journey!

Gastric Sleeve Surgery for Weight Loss

What a blessing it could be if you feel full without even eating a lot and you shed off some extra pounds too. Well, this is the major aim of gastric sleeve surgery. Sometimes diets and exercises never work for people which makes them turn towards bariatric surgery. This involves a reduction of the size of the stomach that directly contributes to weight loss.

bariatric-surgery

Gastric Sleeve is a surgical procedure that decreases appetite and induces weight loss because of the reduction of stomach size. It is usually performed laparoscopically. The minimally invasive procedure requires small incisions through which a thin tube is inserted in the abdominal region. Approximately 75-80% of the stomach is cut away and the rest of the edges are stapled or sutured together. Hence, the stomach looks like a banana in shape. The part of the stomach which produces ghrelin and leptin (appetite-inducing hormones) is also removed. So, it restricts the amount of food intake, manages cravings, and diminishes appetite.

Several other bariatric procedures work well for weight loss. The main objective of all of these procedures is to treat “Obesity.” The other bariatric surgeries include:

  • Biliopancreatic diversion with Duodenal Switch
  • Gastric band surgery/lap band surgery
  • Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass surgery
  • Single Anastomosis Duodeno-Ileal Bypass with Sleeve Gastrectomy.

Are You the Perfect Candidate for Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

A good candidate for sleeve gastrectomy should have the following characteristics.

  • The patient should be obese for more than 3 years
  • The body mass index should be greater than 40
  • Age should be in the range of 18-60

These were the key points which a doctor always considers. Other than these, there is a proper criterion every patient goes through for the selection.

However, not every overweight person needs surgery to curb the gain. Severe obesity might be a good reason for doing it. But to go for this life-altering procedure, you must be aware of the risks, benefits, and consequences.

Scenario after Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Many patients complain that they are always hungry after gastric sleeve. On the other hand, some claim that they are eating too much after gastric sleeve. In both of these cases, an improper diet plan can be the culprit. Not only this, but patients also complain about being hungry at night after gastric sleeve. The scenario after the bariatric procedure might vary from patient to patient.

gastric-sleeve-surgery

Although gastric sleeves can help in improving sleep apnea, diabetes, and cardiac health, some of the adverse effects are inevitable. A majority of the patients claim that this surgery works well for weight loss. However, to avoid weight gain you’ll need to alter your eating habits and lifestyle. Many patients lose within 1.8kg of weight per week for a period of one year.

Portion Size After Gastric Sleeve

As the capacity of the stomach is reduced after the surgery so the patient must be careful about the portion size. The portion sizes in the first 6 weeks of surgery should be kept within the range of  ¼ – ½ cup. Moreover, it can be increased to 1 cup after a year or when the doctor advises.

I Can Eat a Lot After Gastric Sleeve: Why Is That Happening?

Well, the answer is simple. Although physically your stomach is not even half of the size it was before but mentally you’ve suffered no change. Hence, this could be your “head hunger.” Many patients who go through bariatric procedures experience the problem of overeating.

If you’re here to say, “I can eat a lot after gastric sleeve, is it normal?” then rest assured because you’re not the only one going through it. Initially, you’re adjusting to your new stomach so there are good chances of overeating. But if you don’t control your hunger, then it might lead to painful consequences accompanied by a reversal of weight loss. 

There are a number of possible reasons for overeating but “head hunger” tops the list! Initially, your body is trying to cope up with the new change. So, sometimes it might not be actual hunger, instead, it could be your brain’s message. 

i-can-eat-a-lot-after-gastric-sleeve

To manage hunger, you should try to eat small portions. This can only work if you’re dedicated to losing weight. Try to eat slowly and drink between the meals. Whenever a patient overeats, the body responds aggressively with abdominal cramps but what are other symptoms? 

Benefits of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

As the procedure explains that sleeve gastrectomy contributes to weight loss but what about the other benefits it brings forth? Well, it might be surprising but along with weight loss, it contributes to a number of other health benefits. Such surgeries are broadly recognized as “metabolic GIT procedures” because they render a lot more metabolic benefits than just weight loss. A majority of them are enlisted below.

Weight Loss

The gastric sleeve patients experience several visible changes in the body soon after the procedure is performed. Patients can lose approximately 50% of the excess weight leading to a long-term effect within three years. Satiety, appetite reduction, and food choices everything are flipped in most cases. Prominent physical changes can be observed within the first six months. Moreover, studies reveal that a person’s risk of death is reduced by 40% after surgery.

Effect on Cardiovascular Health

Bariatric surgery is known to increase life expectancy by decreasing the risk of cardiovascular problems. Furthermore, a sustained weight loss in morbid obesity is an effective way of reducing the risk of coronary heart diseases. Based on trials and research, the risk of myocardial infarction and cardiac problems has been greatly reduced in bariatric surgery patients.

Impact on Clinical Markers

The surgery shows regulatory effects on the clinical markers and leads to their improvement. The procedure affects the inflammatory, hematological, histological, lipid biochemical markers, and biochemical parameters. It decreases the levels of urinary cytokines and CRP which leads to improved renal inflammatory status.

Remits Type 2 Diabetes

Obesity is one of the potent causes of type 2 diabetes. It might be shocking for you but weight loss surgery is famous for the remission of type 2 diabetes. Sleeve gastrectomy is highly effective in the case of hyperglycemia as blood sugar levels restore to normal soon after the surgery most of the time.  According to the Global Registry Report of 2019, approximately 39% of diabetics stopped needing any medications after 12 months of the surgery.

type-2-diabetes

Remission in Lipid Disorders

Obesity is the key factor when it comes to hyperlipidemia. The excess fats in the body because of an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to fatal consequences. Gastric sleeve surgery is known to reduce lipid disorders up to 75%. However, more research is required to decide the effect of surgery on lipid disorders.

Effect on BP Regulation

Some medical reports claim that this surgery can help in the regulation of high blood pressure. Hence, hypertension is resolved, saving a patient from many health risks including heart attack, stroke, and other cardiac problems.

Improvement of Fertility

Obese women are at the highest risk of many reproductive problems. The neonates of obese mothers are likely to suffer from neural tube defects. However, sleeve gastrectomy can resolve a number of pregnancy complications and improve fertility. This procedure is known for reducing the risk of miscarriages. Moreover, it also improves the menstrual cycle and ovulation. However, within one and a half years of the surgery, pregnancy is not recommended.

Improvement in Mental Health

Obesity severely affects mental health due to peer pressure and social stigma. Even the younger generation with excess weight finds it difficult to socialize. Hence, the body shape makes them lose confidence and suffer from severe anxiety and depression. However, research suggests that bariatric surgery can decrease depression in patients up to 32.7% at the time of surgery.

Risks of Gastric Sleeve Surgery

It’s obvious that the surgery is a risky procedure as it involves one of the vital organs. Keeping the aforementioned benefits aside, let’s discuss the risks and complications involved in the procedure. The risks may vary from person to person and may be short or long-term. The complications of the surgical procedure include:

  • A negative reaction to anesthesia
  • Clotting of blood
  • Infections
  • Breathing issues
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Leaks from the site of the incision
blood-clotting

When it comes to long-term complications, they are more dangerous. A rare drawback is the persisting chronic conditions such as diabetes. It might also lead to vitamin B12 deficiency and disturbed bowel movements. However, the risks can be mild as well as severe. In rare cases, such complications can be fatal. The common ones include:

  • Gastrointestinal obstruction – It is the blockage of the bowel due to any pathology. The patient might experience vomiting, bloating, and diarrhea in this case.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux – This digestive disorder is characterized by frequent acid reflux. Post-surgery symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease include abdominal fullness and upset stomach.
  • Hernias – Hernia is very common when it comes to post-surgery complications. An incisional hernia may develop after the surgery and it has a bulging appearance.
  • Hypoglycemia – It might be caused due to excess insulin production. However, timely action is important so that the brain always has proper glucose supply to remain functional.
  • Ulcers – One might go through peptic ulcers whose symptoms include burning pain in the stomach, dark stools, vomiting, and nausea. A number of patients also develop gallstones that are usually harmless.

Symptoms of Overeating After Gastric Sleeve

Bariatric surgeries are supposed to promote weight loss and reduce appetite. However, there are cases in which patients overeat and then suffer from severe discomfort. So, let’s find out what happens due to overeating after gastric sleeve.

  • If a patient forcefully pushes the food into the stomach which it can barely handle then this can cause severe abdominal discomfort. The patient will experience abdominal cramps accompanied by heartburns. 
  • Another symptom is vomiting when the body throws out excess food content. It is a natural reaction when the body spits out the extra food which the stomach can’t handle.
  • Followed by vomiting, one might also go through diarrhea. It can be caused due to malabsorption of the food.
  • Food items high in sugar content can lead to a disorder called dumping syndrome. It is rapid gastric emptying whose symptoms include abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Best Ways to Manage Hunger After Gastric Sleeve

If you’re the one feeling hungry even after this surgery then you must be thinking that the procedure was futile for you. But that’s not what’s actually happening! In fact, there is no definite answer to this question. There are several reasons for overeating but the most common one is when you keep on eating although you aren’t physically hungry. That is what you need to attune. Let’s dig into further details of the ways to manage hunger after gastric sleeve.

Control the Head Hunger

This is the case when you’re mentally hungry and not physically. This might sound odd but head hunger is real! During laparoscopic surgery, the part of the stomach which produces “hunger hormones” is removed. Hence, a patient is unlikely to suffer from stomach hunger after the surgery.

So, if you feel hungry then it’s your old habit of asking the brain to eat.

To avoid head hunger, you need to be determined. Try to engage yourself in other activities and eat a healthy snack from your diet schedule if you are in dire need of it. Don’t go off the track and strictly follow the given diet plan.

Protein Intake

Substitute carbohydrates such as sugar with protein to maximize satiety. Protein intake is the easiest way to manage hunger. This is because even the smallest amount makes you feel full. The important proteins are listed below.

  • Omega 3 (salmon, mackerel, sardines, pamphlet, and other fishes)
  • Eggs
  • Lamb
  • Yogurt
  • Chicken, Quail, and Turkey
  • Lobsters, crabs, and shrimps
  • Mussels

On average, bariatric surgery patients require 60-80 grams of proteins per day. The easiest way to consume protein is through shakes. Moreover, it is important to keep a check on protein consumption so that the muscle tissues are kept intact.

Fats Intake

Usually, we misunderstand the consumption of fats. This is because of their diversity. Healthy fats are very important for your body. The fat intake should be in the range of 25-30% of the total calories. Some of the fats are enlisted below.

  • Dry fruits
  • Avocado
  • Butter
  • Pumpkin, sesame, and flax seeds
  • Cooking oils

Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is a key to controlling overeating after the surgery. Every patient is given a proper diet plan which he has to follow for losing weight. Unbalanced meal planning can adversely affect your weight loss plan.

Studies show that resistance starch is concerned with insulin levels which means it also affects the blood sugar level. Hence, high fiber carbohydrates are preferred. So, any meal that increases sugar will result in insulin production and you’ll feel hungry.

The table below is a diet plan which can help you understand what to eat in the first four weeks of the surgery.

1st WeekStick to clear liquids and room temperature fluids for the first 24-48 hours of the surgery.

The first week is all about “Clear Liquid Diet.” This can include, Dilute squash, Clear broth, Decaf tea, Sugar-free jello.

Make sure you avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. Products with sugar can lead to dumping syndrome.  
2nd WeekNow, you can modify your diet plan by adding in some soft foods. Around 60-80 grams of protein intake per day should be the target.

You can go for thick liquids which include Unsweetened milk, Protein shakes, No sugar nutrition shakes, Soups, Diluted pulpless fruit juices, Plain greek yogurt.

The hunger might spike during this week but solid food intake can still lead to severe complications.
3rd WeekA gradual transition to solid foods is now your goal. Make sure the protein intake is at its highest pace now.

The diet can include Hummus, Eggs, Cheese, White/soft fish, Mashed bananas/avocado.
4th WeekNow it’s time for you to adapt to the new eating norms! Switching back to solid foods is now safe. However, it’s better to avoid sugar, fats, and all the hard-to-digest foods. 

Socialize with the Support Groups

Associate yourself with support groups, they’ll guide you further about the post-surgery scenario. Moreover, you’ll feel strong and dedicated to your goal once you receive positive vibes.

Final Words

Obesity provides a clear way too many other diseases. Therefore, it’s better to get rid of those extra pounds but if workout and diet schedule isn’t working well for you, then gastric sleeve surgery can be a good option only if you fit in the specified criteria.

The surgery works well for a majority of the candidates. However, one must be aware of the risks and complications. Those who don’t follow the diet schedule and guidelines might suffer from weight regain.

All in all, if you want the magical surgery to work on you, then overeating is the first thing you must avoid! Try to stay away from fast and processed foods. Go for a protein-rich diet and try to consume healthy fats.

FAQs

What can you never eat again after gastric bypass?

Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a popular weight-loss surgery. For losing excess weight, you must follow the recommended diet plan. Some common mistakes include the thought of eating anything! Make sure you don’t repeat it. Once you go through the surgery you’ll have to avoid certain foods which include, dry foods, alcohol, spicy food, tough meats, fatty food, pasta, white bread, and items with empty calories.

What happens if you eat solid food after a gastric sleeve?

The pre-surgery diet focuses on shrinking the liver so that the bariatric procedure can be easily performed. When it comes to the postoperative diet schedule, the first two weeks include clear liquids and soft foods only. Solid foods are gradually introduced. Consuming solid food, one can suffer from blockage leading to nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

What happens if I eat too much after gastric sleeve?

A gastric sleeve is a surgical procedure in which 75% of the stomach is removed. Hence, the remaining tube-like stomach isn’t capable of handling a large quantity of food. So, if you eat a lot after gastric sleeve then you’ll suffer from abdominal discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes even dumping syndrome.

How do I know if I’m eating too much after gastric sleeve?

Well, if you’ve overeaten after the surgery then the body will show several symptoms. The symptoms include severe abdominal discomfort, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. One might also feel the food being plugged into the stomach. Hence, continuous over-eating can make your surgery fruitless.

Is it normal to be hungry every 2 hours after gastric sleeve?

Once you’re done with the surgery, your stomach is left with the capacity to hold half a cup of food. Initially, some patients suffer from periodic hunger pangs due to the removal of the fundus. Well, there are a number of factors that can induce hunger. It can be head hunger when you are hungry mentally and not physically.

Can you ever eat a full meal after a gastric sleeve?

A month after the surgery, you can switch to normal solid food meals. Three nutritious and balanced meals per day should be your goal. This is because initially, your stomach can’t handle solid food. So, in the first few weeks, it’s better to stick to liquid and soft foods.

Why I am not feeling full after gastric sleeve?

In the first week, you’re going through the healing phase. The nerves which were involved in the surgery are still healing. Hence, you might not feel full after the surgery for a few days. As soon as the healing completes, you’ll feel better. So, it’s good for you to stick to the diet plan and avoid overeating even if you don’t feel full.

Dr. Afifa Amer

My name is Afifa Amer and I have done Doctor of Pharmacy. I am a registered retail pharmacist. I believe we should not stick to one specific job, so writing and educating others has always been my passion. I love to share content that improves health, fitness and well being. When I am not typing or dealing with prescriptions, I like to travel and read books.

Wholesomealive.com -a blog about Healthy Living
Logo