Gliding Foods Spell Weight Regain for Weight Loss Surgery Patients
For most people, eating sliders is a good thing. Popularized by the American food chain, White Castle, a slider (originally slyder) is a miniature grilled hamburger or cheeseburger on a steamed bun often served with onions and pickles with dill and other condiments. . Originally selling for five cents a piece in the 1940s, it was affordable to add a side of fries for just pennies. By all accounts, this is a good “slider” type of food.
For the weight loss surgery patient, slippery foods are the bane of good intentions and ignorance that often cause dumping syndrome, weight loss plateaus, and ultimately weight gain. Slider foods, for weight loss surgery patients, are simple, bland processed carbohydrates of little or no nutritional value that slide directly through the surgical stomach pouch without providing nutrition or satiety. The most innocent slippery foods are crackers, often eaten with hot tea or other beverages, to calm the stomach in case of illness or while recovering from surgery.
The most commonly eaten slider foods include pretzels, crackers (crackers, graham, Ritz, etc.) filled cracker snacks like Ritz Bits, popcorn, cheese snacks (Cheetos) or cheese crackers, tortilla chips with gravy, chips, sugar-free cookies, cakes and candy. You’ll notice that these slippery foods are often salty and cause dry mouth, so they should be eaten with liquid to be palatable. This is how they become slider foods. In addition, in most cases, they lack nutritional value.
For weight loss surgery patients, the digestion process is different than for those who have not undergone gastric surgery. When slippery foods are consumed, they go into the stomach pouch and out directly to the jejunum, where the body rapidly absorbs and stores the suspension of simple carbohydrates. There is little thermal effect in the digestion of simple carbohydrates as there is in the digestion of proteins, so little metabolic energy is expended. In most cases, patients in the weight loss phase who eat slippery foods will experience a plateau in weight loss and possibly a reversal in weight gain. And sadly, they will begin to believe that their surgical stomach bag is not working properly because they never feel the fullness or restriction that they experience when they eat protein.
The very nature of surgical gastric pouching is to cause feelings of tightness or restriction when one has eaten enough food. However, when simple, bland carbohydrates are ingested, this tightness or restriction does not occur and one can continue to eat copious, unmeasured amounts of non-nutritious foods without ever feeling uncomfortable.
Many patients turn to slider foods for this very reason. They don’t like the discomfort that results when the pouch is full from eating a measured serving of lean animal protein or dairy without liquids. However, it is this very restriction that is the desired result of surgery. The discomfort is meant to signal the cessation of eating. Remembering the “Protein First” rule is crucial to managing weight with bariatric surgery.
Gastric bypass, gastric banding (gastric banding), and gastric sleeve patients are instructed to follow a high-protein diet to facilitate healing and promote weight loss. Bariatric centers advise what is commonly known among weight loss surgery patients as the “Four Rules,” the most important of which is “Protein First.” That means that of all the nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat, and alcohol), the patient should eat protein first.
Protein is not always the most comfortable dietary option for weight loss surgery patients who feel restricted after eating a very small amount of food. However, for the surgical tool to work properly, a diet rich in protein and low in simple carbohydrate gliding foods must be observed. The high-protein diet should be followed even after a healthy body weight has been reached to maintain a healthy weight and prevent weight regain.