Are There Any Foods I Can't Eat with the Lap-Band?

November 28th, 2011 - Posted to Weight Loss

The Lap-Band is a restrictive surgical weight-loss procedure. This means that it works by restricting the capacity of the stomach, reducing the amount of food that can be consumed at one sitting. It doesnʼt involve surgical changes to the digestive system itself, like some other bariatric operations do.

This means that one particular side-effect of surgeries such as the gastric bypass, known as dumping syndrome, is not a problem with the Lap-Band.

Dumping syndrome happens when sugar passes too quickly into the lower intestine, and it causes serious gastrointestinal distress. Because the digestive tract isn't shortened as it is in gastric bypass surgery, this poses no risk to Lap-Band patients. The average lap band surgery cost across the U.S. is around $14,532.

What Food to Avoid with Lap-Band?

However, sugary foods are still to be avoided, simply because they work against the weight-loss efforts you are making with the Lap-Band. Sugar is calorie-dense and non-nutritious, and after weight-loss surgery, nutritious, low-calorie foods should be prioritized to encourage success. (Starchy foods such as white bread, pasta, and white rice also fit into this description.) It's best to avoid desserts, candy, and sugary beverages.

Carbonated beverages pose another concern that it is wise to avoid. Carbonated drinks can cause stomach discomfort and can enlarge the "pouch" created by the Lap-Band. Soda, beer, and sparkling wine are not a good idea after Lap-Band surgery. Many of these beverages are also high in calories and pass quickly through the Lap-Band without satisfying hunger. It’s best to avoid liquid calories altogether.

High-fat foods will also slow your weight-loss progress. Food with oil, butter, and other fats are much richer in calories than foods without much fat. Fried foods, many prepackaged snacks, fast food, non-lean meat, and many baked goods are examples of high-fat foods to avoid. Be aware of the sugar, fat, and calorie content of your food, and plan ahead so you know what you're consuming.

Other foods that can cause problems for Lap-Band patients include fibrous foods, such as corn or dried fruit; nuts; popcorn; tough meats; doughy breads and certain other foods that can block the stoma or opening of the stomach pouch created by the Lap-Band. However, toleration of certain foods varies not only from patient to patient, but also based on how quickly you are eating or even on the time of day. The best way to avoid any food related problems with the Lap-Band is to eat slowly, chew thoroughly and pay attention to how your body responds. Keep a food journal to document problem foods. Discuss these with Dr. Korman at your regular follow-up visits.

About our Weight Loss Program

Marina Weight Loss, located at Marina Del Rey Hospital in Los Angeles, also employs a dietitian to help all of our patients plan out a post-surgery diet that's best for them. You can schedule an appointment with the dietitian anytime. Our staff is here to help with all aspects of post-surgery lifestyle, including nutrition, and are available at 310.577.5540 to answer any questions you may have.