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Monday, January 09, 2006

A Review: Snacking & Grazing

Since we are earnest into the New Year I thought it was a great time to review some thoughts about snacking after WLS. We know the rule is "no-snacking" but it's just not as easy as that. We also know that snacking and grazing are the leading causes of weight regain for WLS patients.

If I Must Snack Then Let Me Snack Well
Excerpted from "You Have Arrived" July 18, 2005

On most days I can talk myself down from a need-to-snack crisis. I use that great motivator, fear - fear of dumping, vomiting or weight regain to not snack. But on those days when I really need something, not head hunger, but genuine feel-it-in-the-gut hunger, let me snack and let me snack well.

For myself I must remind, "Snack ONLY if you are hungry. DON'T make snacking a habit!" By the same token, if I am hungry, select wisely a snack to meet my nutritional needs; I avoid self-loathing and disgust or snackers remorse. I supply good nutrition to my body. Wise snacking will feed my body, fuel my soul.

A disclaimer here – please, PLEASE! PLEASE!! Follow the very specific guidelines of your bariatric center while in the phase of rapid weight loss. Tweeking of the rules is only acceptable once goal weight is achieved and you adjust into living after weight loss surgery. Thanks!

Here are the top best and worst snacks for LivingAfterWLS. If you must snack then snack well!

Enjoy Wise Snack Choices

* Protein bars/shakes
* Lean deli meat (turkey, chicken)
* Shimp, tuna or seafood flakes
* Low fat cottage cheese or mozzarella cheese
* Melons, apple slices, berries or any tolerated fruit
* Jerky
* Sugar-free Jell-O
* Hard-cooked eggs
* Nonfat, unsweetened yogurt
* Peanut butter w/apples

The wise snack list includes items that are high in protein, low in simple carbohydrates (sugars) and are fairly basic or unprocessed. You will also notice foods rich in calcium, vitamins and minerals to feed the body well. In addition most of these foods will satiate the pouch and it is unlikely one will engage in prolonged snacking on any of these items. In other words, make a good choice, enjoy it and move on with your life. No more grazing.

You will notice sugar-free Jell-O is on the wise food list, but sugar free items are on the poor choice list. Sugar free Jell-O is a good source of protein and when combined with other ingredients such as yogurt or cottage cheese can be a nutritional snack unlike many sugar-free sweets that are nutrionally void. The sugar-free sweets to avoid are candy, puddings and baked items as they lack nutritional value. They waste pouch space and simply add calories to the diet.

Avoid These Poor Snack Choices

* Pretzels, potato chips, corn chips
* Crackers - sweet or savory
* Trail mix, sunflower seeds, nuts
* Cookies, cakes, pies, pastries
* Popcorn
* Sugar-Free Sweets (except Jell-o)
* Granola
* Full-fat, full-sugar frozen desserts (ice cream, frozen yogurt, frozen custard)
* Things containing butter or mayonnaise

What you will notice about the poor snack choices is that most are nutritionally void foods – they do nothing to feed your body the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs to function well. In addition when grazed upon many of these foods can be consumed in large quantities by gastric bypass patients. It’s called the "soft foods phenomena". When WLS patients eat soft foods (think crackers) which mix with stomach fluids a slurry results. This mixture passes through the pouch into the bypassed intestine allowing for steady intake without satiation. In addition, these foods may cause dumping or vomiting.

You may be surprised to see trail mix and granola on the foods to avoid list as they are well known "health foods." It's true trail mix and granla are nutritionally dense but most bariatric patients report a low tolerance for nuts, seeds and raisins. In addition many of these foods contain hidden sugars.


Kim said...

Great lists esp. apple w/PB I love it! I do disagree with the popcorn and nuts/granola on the bad list. Though popcorn is not nutrient rich it is high in fiber and do wonders for some of us with constipation issues. There are new sugar free sweet versions that are low in calories and help those of us who desperately crave sweets. Granola is great in yogurt to give something to chew on helps keep me full a little longer. But use sparingly. thanks for letting me give my 2cents

Hummingbird1964 said...

I agree with Kim on the popcorn and nuts. We should also be careful about restricting fats too much. Moderate amounts of dairy fats and healthy oils like olive and canola used in cooking meals(if you can tolerate) will help keep you from looking like your granny when you lose the weight. Fat is necessary to keep your skin healthy looking.