Carbohydrates in the Post-Surgery Diet
Carbohydrates are one of six essential nutrients that make up our diet. Despite their overwhelming negative reputation, carbohydrates are necessary for survival. Once digested, carbohydrates turn into glucose, which is what fuels our cells and provides us with the energy we need to make it through the day.
However, too many carbohydrates can have a negative impact on the body. When we have glucose in our blood, we need to use it. If this energy is left to build in our blood stream it will go into storage in the liver and muscles, and we store energy in our body as fat. A healthy diet will have a good balance of carbohydrates that will help to keep you full and focused, but without the abundance of carbs that will lead to weight gain or other health risks.
Types of Carbohydrates
Not all carbs are created equal. Some carbohydrates are packed into nutrient dense foods that also supply the body with vitamins, minerals and protein. Other carbohydrates are void of any secondary nutrient gain, and will simply deliver calories into your body that will more than likely be shifted into storage, causing weight gain.
There are two forms of carbohydrates:
- Simple carbohydrates: This includes all forms of sugar, including those naturally in fruits, vegetables and dairy products, as well as added refined sugars.
- Complex carbohydrates: This includes starch, dietary fiber and whole grains, including whole wheat products. These carbohydrates are generally the healthier choice and are often nutrient rich.
“Good” carbs usually refers to complex carbohydrates. These carbohydrates take longer for the body to break down, requiring more energy for their digestion. By taking longer to digest, these carbs will help you feel satisfied for longer periods after you eat.
Examples of “good” carbohydrates include:
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
Carbohydrates after Weight Loss Surgery
The average adult requires 14 grams of dietary fiber per every 1000 consumed calories to encourage proper digestion, and since fiber is found in carbohydrates, this gives a broad overview of how much is needed in our daily diets.
Following weight loss surgery, though, this number may change. You will be given detailed dietary instructions from your weight loss surgeon and nutritionist. When you do eat carbohydrates, make sure you do so through healthy sources that will deliver other nutrients to your diet as well.