When someone is considering bariatric/weight-loss surgery, concerns are usually about
the difficulties of wanting to eat something and not being able. It’s not often considered that there may be times in life that one wants or needs to go a significant amount of time without food or water. For example many of the world’s religions require the faithful to fast at certain time of the year. How does that work after bariatric surgery?
Fasting for religious or lifestyle reasons might pose a challenge to people who have undergone bariatric surgery. A total fast — abstaining from all forms of nourishment including liquids — could be quite harmful to the bariatric patient.
After weight-loss surgery one’s digestive tract is physically different and can no longer accommodate large amounts of food. However, it’s also problematic for one to consume too little nourishment. After bariatric surgery, it’s critical to have an adequate intake of fluids and nutrients.
Those who wish to observe a fast after they have had bariatric surgery face several challenges:
- new eating and drinking habits are being established
- can’t consume large amounts in one sitting, so sipping fluids throughout the day is imperative
- a complete fast poses risk for dehydration and poor calorie and nutrient intake
- inadequate intake of protein can reduce lean body mass and metabolic rate
Fasting for long periods of time could result in vomiting, compounding dehydration and poor nutritional intake. Add to this the fact that foods that are usually eaten at the end of a religious fast are sweets, laden with carbohydrates and fats, that can also put you at risk for dumping syndrome and other unpleasant and uncomfortable side effects. Plus, the small amount of space in the stomach may make it difficult to fit the proper amount of food, nutritional supplements, and medications at meal times after a fast.
Read more about dietary needs after bariatric surgery at: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/dietary_guidelines_after_gastric_bypass/
If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment with Dr. Heidi Ryan. She can answer your questions and address all of your concerns regarding these potentially life-saving procedures