After getting bariatric surgery, your digestive system will have changed quite a bit. Depending on the procedure you got, you may be less able to digest certain foods, particularly those that are high in fat.

Vegetarian diets are often considered to be healthier than omnivorous diets. But is this true? And should bariatric surgery patients switch to a vegetarian diet?

Different Types of Bariatric Surgery Vegetarian Diets

Vegetarian encompasses a wide variety of different diets that people follow. Here are the main types of vegetarian diets that you might choose to follow after bariatric surgery:

Lacto-ovo vegetarianism: This type of vegetarian cuts out animal flesh, but does not exclude items such as milk or eggs, which are acquired from the animal without slaughtering it.

Lacto vegetarianism: This type of vegetarian does not eat meat or eggs, but will allow milk in their diet.

Vegan: Vegans abstain from all animal derived products. They do not eat milk, eggs, honey, animal flesh, or any ingredient that is produced by an animal.

Each of these diets has its advantages and disadvantages. Milk and eggs have nutrients such as vitamin D and B12 that are a little bit more difficult to obtain if you don’t eat them.

Should You Follow A Vegetarian Diet After Bariatric Surgery?

The answer depends entirely on you. It IS possible to have a healthy recovery and rapid weight loss after bariatric surgery as a vegetarian. However, there are some major considerations you should make before you decide to go on a vegetarian diet after surgery.

The post-op bariatric diet is highly restrictive and might be made worse as a vegetarian. Following the post gastric sleeve diet is already difficult enough, but excluding animal sources of protein and other nutrients might increase your risk of becoming malnourished.

If you have yet to get surgery and are already following a vegetarian diet before surgery, you’re going to want to make sure that you are currently getting enough nutrients. Surgeons recommend getting bloodwork done and letting your doctor know about your diet.

It’s much harder to get all your necessary nutrients after bariatric surgery, and supplementation is required for all patients regardless of whether they follow a vegetarian diet. Protein is a major issue for vegetarians and vegans, particularly after bariatric surgery. It’s generally not too difficult to get your required protein as a vegetarian or vegan, but bariatric surgery will reduce the total amount of food you can eat at one time. Your doctor will require you to add protein supplements to your diet as a result.

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