What Can You Eat with a Gastric Balloon?
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For those who qualify, a gastric balloon is a remarkable and relatively non-invasive option for losing weight and regaining confidence and control over one’s life. Of course, as with any diet plan or lifestyle change, your diet with a gastric balloon will need to change. In addition to your diet changing, you’ll also need to change how you eat. Meals will need to be taken more slowly and with more consideration; however, the results are ultimately worth it as you’ll experience significant weight loss if you follow your plan.
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How Do Gastric Balloons Work?
Before delving into what you can eat with a gastric balloon, you need to understand how a gastric balloon works. A gastric balloon is exactly what it sounds like…it’s a balloon that is interested in your stomach and inflated to an appropriate extent in order to make you feel fuller with less food.
Weight loss occurs rapidly over time as you consume less food than you are used to eating. Gastric balloons are not intended to stay in your stomach forever, so the dietary changes you experience with a gastric balloon serve a few purposes:
- One is so you lose weight while the balloon is inside of you
- Two is so you don’t get sick by eating too much of the wrong food
- Three is so you don’t become ill by eating too quickly
- Four is so when your gastric balloon is removed, your eating habits have changed, and you are more likely to adhere to a new dietary regimen
What You Can Eat Right After Getting a Gastric Balloon Inserted
Immediately after your gastric balloon insertion, you will be on a liquid diet. This will last for a few days as your body adjusts (it’s normal to feel a little uncomfortable and to possibly experience heartburn, nausea or vomiting, and cramping).
You’ll progress from the liquid diet to a semi-solid diet for a week or so. Smoothies, purees, and strained soups are included as part of this diet.
Once you’ve adapted to your gastric balloon and aren’t having any discomfort, you’ll be able to eat a solid diet.
What You Can Eat with a Gastric Balloon
While the gastric balloon will not limit what you can eat, it does impact how much you eat and how you eat. That said, there are some foods that you need to eat more of with a gastric balloon and some you’ll want to avoid…especially if you’re trying to maximize weight loss.
- Lean protein: eat lots of lean protein with your gastric balloon. Things like eggs, fish, and poultry are great for energizing you, helping you stay feeling full after eating, and losing weight.
- Fresh fruits: fresh fruits are generally soft and digest easily. You don’t want to fill your plate with foods that lack digestive enzymes and that could lead to constipation or slowed digestion.
- Vegetables: fresh veggies are packed with vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. They’re not calorie dense, but a hearty serving of veggies can make you feel full faster, which along with the gastric balloon, leads to weight loss.
- Whole grains: whole grains have fiber, which keeps your digestive tract in service. Digestive issues can be uncomfortable with a gastric balloon. Further, fiber and hearty grains help you feel full longer.
- Dairy: dairy products contain probiotics great for digestive health. Plus, the calcium is a huge added benefit to your system along with other vitamins and nutrients found in dairy.
- A daily multivitamin to make up for any nutrients you may be lacking.
You can also still have coffee, tea, some sweet snacks, and adult beverages. Importantly, just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should. Sugary foods, alcohol, chips, snack foods, and even some highly-acidic beverages can lead to heartburn, upset stomach, constipation, gas, and bloating, all of which can be more unpleasant with a gastric balloon. Further, these are all empty calories associated with weight gain.
Plus, if your aim is to lose weight, then you’ll want to avoid foods that generally tip toward overprocessed and unnatural anyway.
How to Eat with a Gastric Balloon
It does take a decisive attitude to eat to lose weight with a gastric balloon. Not only do you need to adjust what you eat, but you need to change how you eat. You need to space meals out, skip snacking, and drink between meals—not with meals—to avoid discomfort. Specifically:
- Plan three small meals per day; using a small plate with help.
- Incorporate each of the major food groups into each meal.
- Drink water at least 30 minutes before your meal and wait until around one hour after your meal to have more.
- Sip your beverages slowly. Do not gulp.
Avoid straws—straws can lead to gas
- Eat slowly. Chew each bite of your food slowly. Wait before you take the next bite. There’s a rule called the 20:20:20 rule where you chew 20 times, pause 20 seconds after swallowing, and dine for 20 minutes per meal.
Recognize that your meals will vary in size. Every person who has a gastric balloon is different. You will quickly learn how much it takes to make you feel full, and the discomfort of feeling full will quickly inhibit any tendency toward overeating.
By eating healthy, easily digestible, and nutritious foods, you’re helping your body lose weight. While it might be an adjustment to eat with a gastric balloon at first, you are learning habits that will stick with you long after the balloon is removed, which will guarantee that the weight you lose stays off.
Gastric balloons are great options for weight loss with those of a BMI of 27 or higher. Gastric balloons don’t impede your lifestyle—they enhance it. If you’re curious about a gastric balloon and how it will change your life, contact us at Spatz Medical, and let us show answer all of your questions, so you can make an informed decision for your health.