Keto? it is right for me? – Bariatric Edition

What’s the deal with the low carb/ high fat rage going on today and is it for bariatric clients?  Let’s explore this topic and I will give you my thoughts on this super popular keto diet.  I get asked about the ketogenic diet all the time from our bariatric clients so let’s dive into it.

I think that a proper ketogenic diet fits so well into a bariatric lifestyle and that is why I often encourage it but we need to learn and understand the fundamentals of a good ketogenic diet before we jump on the keto bandwagon.  This is just my personal testimony of what works for me and what I have seen work for other bariatric clients over the years.  I am an RHN nutritionist and surgery coordinator – and not a doctor so I encourage you to have an open discussion with your doctor before trying Keto.

Remember that feeling right after you had your bariatric surgery and how fast you were losing the weight.  It was falling off!  One of the reasons why your scale moved so quickly was because you were in ketosis.  Did you know that there are many post bariatric surgery patients who are using a ketogenic lifestyle to get to their goal weight and maintain afterwards?

Just regular keto isn’t what bariatric clients need due to different caloric, fat and nutritional requirements due to decreased gastric capacity.  The anatomy is now different so the ketogenic goals need to be a bit different also.

So can I eat the Ketogenic diet post bariatric surgery?  No matter which procedure I have had?  vertical sleeve, gastric bypass, mini bypass, revision surgery?  What are the rules?   

Lucky for you, I am an RHN nutritionist and I specialize in bariatrics so I can help you take the best of keto and help you reach your goals and leave all that other stuff behind.

Hundreds of thousands of people have undergone bariatric procedures to lose weight.   If you or somebody you know has had Bariatric surgery and has gained weight back, please share this blog with them.  Let’s understand that all bariatric patients can also benefit from the ketogenic way of eating.  So many people who have had bariatric surgery have been told “you can’t do keto”.  You will be happy to know that you can.  

Yes, Yes you can eat Keto! 

But you need to come at it a little differently than the average person.  More than likely you are able to eat only small portions of food.  If you eat too much fat or too much food at one time, you are going to have “bathroom issues” pretty quickly.  This prevents a lot of bariatric patients thinking that they are able to follow a ketogenic lifestyle.  Here are the steps that you are going to take if you have had bariatric surgery and want to follow a ketogenic lifestyle.  You are going to slowly reduce your carbohydrate load and slowly increase your healthy fats.  Don’t jump into it over a day – ease into it over a two week period if you find you have trouble consuming healthy fats.

What does Keto look like compared to a regular diet.

Bariatric Keto in a nutshell looks like this, the standard american diet (or SAD for short), flipped on its head.  Nuts and seeds are at the top of the pyramid, dairy is below that, veggies come below that, meat and fish and eggs under that and then healthy fats and oils are directly beside the meat section.

As a bariatric client, you don’t want to be eating these foods in excess:

Heavy Cream

Unlimited Bacon

Huge amounts of cheese

Huge amounts of butter

I need to really push this fact because most of you feel like you need to be eating a diet that consists of 75% fat to be real keto – not true.  You can still get all the benefits of a keto diet by just omitting the unhealthy types of carbs and by getting your carbs through vegetables and low sugar berries.

Now for some more good news – you don’t need to be eating GOBS of fat to follow a ketogenic lifestyle but you need to restrict your refined carbohydrates.  If you are able to eat fat moderately, then keto may be perfect for you.  Ketosis is triggered by carb restriction so if you are able to add a bit of healthy fat and drop the unhealthy types of carbs then you are able to follow a ketogenic diet.

Now for even more good news … 

We are going to eat some of the really good stuff that the keto community thrives on such as:

  • Seafood, Meats and Poultry
  • Lots of low carb veggies
  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Cottage Cheese and Ricotta
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Berries
  • Olives
  • Coffee and Tea
  • Dark Chocolate

This diet works well for bariatric clients because:

1/ we stop eating refined and processed foods

2/ it is not hard to maintain and sugar free is easier for us

3/ bariatric clients want to maximize weight loss

4/ keto makes you feel better and more satiated for a longer period of time.

So you can be a bariatric client and still follow a healthy ketogenic diet and I created the “Bariatric Keto Program” to help you along the way and to teach you about macronutrients and what you should be aiming for.  I think it’s an easy plan and can work very well with a bariatric lifestyle.  

Reach out with any questions you have and if you want the bariatric keto plan, you can grab it HERE.

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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