Diet & Nutritional Expectations
After your gastric balloon has been inserted you will start on a fluid diet for the first three days. You will then move onto soft foods until day ten when you can eat normal textured foods again. A strict diet will allow your body to adjust to the balloon, prevent dehydration and keep your energy levels up.
To reach your weight loss goals using a gastric balloon you must be committed to developing and maintaining healthy eating habits and lifestyle. Once the gastric balloon is removed you’ll immediately be able to eat larger portions as the gastric balloon is no longer taking up space in your stomach. So the long term success of the procedure is dependent on your determination to keep up a healthy diet and lifestyle after the balloon is removed. It’s hoped that as you’ve got used to less food and eating a healthy diet that you’ll be able to maintain this new diet and still be satisfied once the balloon has been removed.
The first few weeks after your Gastric Balloon Insertion
0-3 days post procedure
For the first three days you should have liquids only. You should aim to drink about eight cups of liquid each day, drinking small, regular sips. Liquids you can choose include semi-skimmed milk, low calorie or reduced sugar squash, herbal teas, diluted low sugar fruit juices, clear beef or chicken broth soups, Bovril and Marmite.
You must not eat solid foods at this stage. Initially it’s likely that that you won’t have an appetite but it will return eventually over the next few weeks.
Day 4-7 post procedure
You can now start eating soft foods which are either naturally soft such as yoghurt, porridge, thicker soups and mashed potatoes or blended including fish, lean meats, fibrous fruits and vegetables. Your portions must be small and so we recommend that you use a smaller plate.
You should continue to sip at least eight cups of caffeine-free, low-calorie liquids throughout the day, in between meals to prevent getting dehydrated. You should not drink at mealtimes but allow 30 to 45 minutes before and after mealtimes.
Day 10 onwards
New normal diet
By this time your appetite will be returning and you’ll be relieved to resume more normal healthy diet incorporating wholesome foods in small portions. Your calorie intake must remain at 1,000–1200kcal per day for the whole time you have your gastric balloon. This can take some getting used to. Your bariatric team will also encourage you to start taking regular exercise and engaging in physical activity to help with your weight loss and healthy routine.
Difficulties and eating techniques
Foods difficult to tolerate
Some foods aren’t tolerated very well with a gastric balloon and may be best avoided. While everyone’s tolerances are different, there are a few common culprits where extra care might be needed. These include tough and fibrous food, soft doughy bread, overcooked rice and pasta, hard vegetables and fruits, lettuce, skins and pips, rich fatty foods like pies, pastry, cheese, cream, coffee, alcohol and strongly flavoured foods such as curries.