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Keto After Gastric Bypass

Keto After Gastric Bypass

Ketogenic diets are rich in proteins and fats. These foods include meats, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables. Ketogenic diets are an interesting alternative to other diets because this diet accelerates and improves weight loss while treating different medical conditions. Having a balanced and unprocessed diet rich in colorful fruit, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and nuts improves your quality of life and promotes weight loss.

What is a Keto Diet?

Keto or a Ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate diet where most calories come from protein and fat and not carbs. This diet is similar to the Atkins diet, where you eliminate most carbs from sugar, which comes from soda, pastries, and white bread.

The beginning of a keto diet is during the first three to four days you eat less than 50 calories of carbs a day. After three to four days, your body stops using carbs as a source of energy, and you begin to use proteins and fats for energy and start burning your stored fats. This process allows your body to lose weight. This entire process is called ketosis.

Ketosis is when your body releases ketones into your bloodstream because you use fat as the primary source of energy. You are no longer using blood sugar from carbohydrates. By breaking down stored fats, you are promoting and initiating weight loss.

On a Ketogenic diet, you burn through sugar quickly, so you do not need to store large amounts of sugar. This means your body needs and makes less insulin. Having lower insulin levels decreases your diabetic symptoms. Because the keto diet requires more fat, you can raise your good cholesterol levels and reduce your bad cholesterol levels. Because of these dietary changes, you will lower your blood pressure, reduce your likelihood of hardened arteries, heart failure, and other heart conditions.

A well-balanced diet high in fats is crucial for a successful keto diet.

Foods to Eat and Avoid While on the Keto Diet

When you begin to follow keto after gastric bypass, you should eat red meat, which includes steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken, and turkey. Fatty fish are also incredibly nutritious for this diet.  Salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel are great additions to your diet. Eggs, nuts and seeds, healthy oils, and low carb veggies are also recommended.  Some low veggies recommended are green vegetables, tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Healthy nuts to eat are almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds.

You should avoid eating sugary foods, including soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, and candy. Grains and starches are also prohibited on this diet, including wheat-based products, rice, pasta, and cereal. The only fruit allowed is small portions of berries. You cannot eat root vegetables that include potatoes, sweet potatoes, or carrots. Any amount of these particular foods will pull your body out of its ketosis state, and you will have to start over in that process of withdrawing from sugar-based foods.

Types of Ketogenic Diets

  • Standard Ketogenic Diet: This diet uses very low carbohydrates, moderate protein amounts, and very high-fat content. This diet typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein, and only 5% carbs.
  • Cyclical Ketogenic Diet: This diet uses higher amounts of carbohydrates in a specified cycle. The usual cycle consists of 5 Ketogenic days, followed by 2 high carbohydrate days.
  • Targeted Ketogenic Diet: This diet allows you to add carbohydrates based on your exercise routines.
  • High Protein Ketogenic Diet: This diet is similar to the standard ketogenic diet but includes more protein. The amounts range from 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
Mind and body must work together to achieve your best opportunity for health and wellness.

The most common Ketogenic diet plans are the standard and high protein Ketogenic diets.  Both of these diets have been studied and researched extensively. The targeted and cyclical Ketogenic diets are more advanced that is mainly followed by bodybuilders and athletes.

Health Benefits of Keto After Gastric Bypass

There are many health benefits of following the keto diet. This diet is used primarily to lose weight and manage serious medical conditions. Following keto, after gastric bypass, it helps decrease heart disease symptoms and manage epilepsy episodes by reducing seizures and decreasing acne.

Following a Ketogenic diet also improves polycystic ovarian syndrome symptoms. This syndrome leads to infertility, irregular, and uncomfortable menstrual cycles. High levels of insulin cause this syndrome to worsen, and following a Ketogenic diet decreases the amount of insulin produced and stored.

Because of the high fat and protein content, you are ingesting, and you can remain full longer and eat less, thus promoting a sustained amount of weight loss. This allows for the most weight loss in the first three to six months, strictly following the keto diet rules.

Monitoring your water intake is important to maintaining your health on a keto diet.

Negative Side Effects of Keto After Gastric Bypass

Some negative side effects of the Ketogenic diet include symptoms relating to the flu. As your body adjusts to its new way of functioning and finding sources of energy, you will have poor energy, mental function, increased hunger, sleep issues, nausea, digestive discomfort, and decreased exercise ability.

These symptoms can be minimized with a low carbohydrate diet as your body adjusts throughout the first few weeks while starting our keto diet. Adding extra salt or mineral supplements can also help rebalance your water and mineral content within your body.

Keto After Gastric Bypass

After weight loss surgery, you are strongly encouraged to maintain a high protein, low carbohydrate food plan. Because of the high-fat content within the Ketogenic diet program, you may find it ineffective or unsustainable in the long run because of possible nutritional deficiencies and malabsorption.

Diets high in fats can make various nutrients challenging to absorb after bariatric surgery.  Unhealthy fats can lead to stomach problems that include gas, nausea and diarrhea, and constipation.

Keto diets are low in fiber, which increases your risk of constipation. Constipation is a concern after bariatric surgery. Fiber is an essential nutrient because it reduces your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.

Many bariatricians have an understanding that the mainstream Ketogenic diet is not suitable for gastric bypass patients. Their reasoning is due to the different protein, fat, caloric, and nutritional needs for gastric bypass patients versus regular weight loss programs following adults. Because of your decreased gastric capacity and diminished ability to process nutrients, following a keto diet would be inadvisable and dangerous to your health overall. The mindset and goals of a bariatric patient versus a non-bariatric person are different and cannot be treated in the same way.

Exercise and a healthy food plan are important for improving and maintaining your health goals.

Alternatives to Keto

A safer alternative to the Ketogenic diet is following a Mediterranean diet.  This diet is filled with healthy fats and proteins but is more easily sustainable and less restrictive for a protein-focused diet.  The Mediterranean diet consists of healthy fats, fresh fish, olives, and vegetables.

You can also follow a plant-based diet, where refined and processed foods and sugars are eliminated.  Eliminating processed sugar reduces chronic inflammation and promotes a healthy digestive system rich in fiber, with low caloric intake.

Both diets focus on a high protein content, which would satisfy the nutritional requirements of gastric bypass and overall bariatric requirements.

Overall Thoughts on Keto

The Ketogenic diet is a helpful diet for individuals that have not or are not planning on having bariatric surgery.  It cleans out your system of toxic and harmful processed sugars and forces you to rely on healthy fats and proteins.

The Ketogenic diet aims to include high amounts of fat and low amounts of carbohydrates and fiber.  These different health goals promote health concerns for bariatric patients.  Nutritional deficiencies are a regular risk for bariatric patients with your reduced food portion.  Therefore protein must be the main priority, so you do not develop future health issues.

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Kelsey Renae Schulze


Kelsey is a post-op bariatric patient who had sleeve surgery in 2018. She is a writer, focusing on a variety of topics given her background in legal studies and criminal justice.