Carbohydrates are an important part of a well-balanced diet. They provide dietary fiber, starches and sugars that allow your body to function smoothly. Carbohydrates are essential nutrients that your body needs to produce glucose needed for energy. There are two common types of carbohydrates, starches and sugars. Starches and dietary fibers are complex carbohydrates and can be found in foods like bread, pasta, rice and vegetables. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate and can be found in fruits, milk, honey and desserts.
Choosing Carbohydrates Wisely
Although your body needs a certain amount of carbohydrates, too many carbs or the wrong kinds of carbs can be harmful to your diet.
Some healthy sources of carbohydrates are:
- Unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains
- White bread
- Fruit juices
- Any highly processed or refined foods
Some unhealthy sources of carbohydrates are:
Making sure your diet includes the right kinds of carbohydrates is essential. Processed and refined foods contain easily digested carbohydrates that may lead to weight gain and potentially promote health issues like diabetes or heart disease.
Carbohydrates and a Post-Bariatric Diet
After bariatric surgery, you will be faced with strict dietary limitations. In the first few weeks following your surgery, your diet will include mostly pureed and soft foods. Eventually you will add solid foods back into your diet. In this stage, it is important that you’re consuming adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals and protein. You want to ensure that you are choosing the right kinds of carbohydrates so that your body can stay energized and healthy during its time of transition.
Healthy Carbohydrate Sources for a Post-Bariatric Diet Include:
- Beans and lentils. After bariatric surgery the amount of protein you consume is essential to preserve lean body mass and aid in healing. Beans are a good source of protein as well as a positive source of carbohydrates.
- Fresh fruit. You may think you’re making a healthy choice by having a glass of orange juice in the morning but, fruit juices are processed and high in sugars. You want to make sure that your postoperative diet is low in unnecessary sugars. An orange has two times the fiber and half the sugar found in a 12 oz. glass of juice.
- Whole grains. You may have trouble tolerating breads and starchy foods in the beginnings of your new diet. If you choose to include bread, pasta or other similar carbohydrates, make sure you’re doing so wisely. Choose whole grain breads, pastas and brown rice.
After bariatric surgery you are committing to proper nutrition and dieting, so it is important that you know which carbohydrates will benefit your new lifestyle and which could hinder it. By including healthy sources of carbohydrates into your diet, you will be supplying your body with the nutrients and minerals you need to succeed in your long-term weight loss goals.