Popular Diets & WLS: Edition 2 “Vegan Diet”

Steph Wagner MS, RDN

April 4, 2017

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Weight Loss Surgery and Weight Watchers | Popular Diets After WLS | FoodCoach.Me

Welcome to Edition TWO of “Popular Diets and WLS”

If you missed Edition One…Read about The Ketogenic Diet and WLS.

One diet I get asked about from time to time is how to be a VEGAN after Weight Loss Surgery.

Some patients have even heard from their Bariatric Surgeon that they should eat a Vegan diet.

Let’s start first with the true definition of a Vegan Diet..

There are (as with so many diets) some variations of a Vegan Diet. For the majority, a Vegan Diet is a diet that does not include any animal or animal based products. This would be “dietary veganism” although in addition to diet choices, some will use these ethical choices to extend to other products in their lives such as skin care.

Different from a Vegetarian Diet, no eggs nor milk nor other animal byproducts are included. The origins of the Vegan Diet can be traced back to the 1940s, however, interest in the lifestyle grew starting in 2010.

The choice to follow a Vegan Lifestyle is more about personal ethics and choices than a choice of weight loss.

In my opinion, someone would chose Vegan because they felt deeply led to this way of living. Personal convictions make decisions for all of us and as a dietitian, I am in no place to tell you whether you should or should not chose a Vegan lifestyle.

BUT…that being said…this is not a lifestyle to chose because you think it will help you lose more weight. It’s far too large of a committment to chose it for weight loss! It’s also quite complicated to fit within the post-op recommendations for WLS patients.

In my practice of Bariatric Nutrition, I have worked with just 2 patients that felt strongly led to a Vegan life. I supported them and coached them through it the best I knew how within the guidelines that we both knew they needed to reach. It was hard. They would be the first to tell you it was hard. I’m sure we would finish our visits both feeling like we wish we had come up with more ideas.

Why is it hard?

Gastric emptying is faster after bariatric surgery (how fast food leaves your stomach) and the best way to fill up and stay full is on solid textured protein. 

Vegan protein sources are vegetable or soy based primarily. A vegetable protein source, by nature, is a much softer textured protein.

My vegan patients and I would rack our brains on what foods they could get their protein sources met while simultaneously keeping them satisfied. THAT…that was what was hard.

Vegetable proteins include beans, soy beans, edamame, tofu, textured vegetable protein, vegan protein supplements such as hemp protein.

Were they able to meet their protein goals? Yes. 

Did they meet all their nutrition needs with a Vegan diet? Yes.

Did they see as much weight loss as they were hoping for? No. But how many patients does that hold true for?!?!

Did they have the hunger control they desired from the surgery? Often not.

A Vegan Diet is a healthy diet…it has great benefits and absolutely can be done. It DOES take an immense amount of diligence to research, plan, prepare and try again. It’s not for the faint of heart ;-)

So. If you have a conviction and feel Veganism is right for you…you CAN do it and make it work. You do, however, want to get in touch with the right people, set time aside to research and be patient with yourself as you find how to make it fit in your post-op lifestyle.

I hope that helps or at least was interesting ;)

For more information on WLS diets, recipes and more Editions of Popular Diets and WLS…be sure to sign up for the FoodCoachMe !

2 thoughts on “Popular Diets & WLS: Edition 2 “Vegan Diet””

  1. I’m in the process of a revision to bypass surgery I’m also vegan have been for 3 yrs looking for recipes for after my revision

  2. @Cheryl Jones Thank you for your message! I’m wishing you all the best in your upcoming revision! I’m afraid I don’t have many vegan specific recipes on this site. The plant based proteins to look for include tofu, textured vegetable protein, soy products, bean, edamame and legumes or some of the products on the market like Beyond plant based meats (a little higher in fat) or Morning Star® products. I would watch out for vegan recipes that have a lot of rice, potato, pasta or breading. I hope you find good options for your journey!

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