After weight loss surgery, it is quite difficult to get enough dietary fibre into your diet. Firstly, we try to limit carbohydrate-containing foods, which when wholegrain are a main source of dietary fibre. In addition, you need to eat quite a large volume of fruits and vegetables to meet your fibre requirements, which is impossible with such restricted portion sizes after surgery.
For this reason we use a fibre supplement, which makes it much easier for you to reach your fibre requirement. We know that dietary fibre is important for keeping bowel movements regular. Most people will therefore just take the fibre if they are feeling constipated.
We actually recommend that all our patients take a fibre supplement daily after surgery, even if bowel movements are regular. A high fibre diet has many other positive effects on the body, which may surprise you! Read on to find out more.
Helps to lower cholesterol
Soluble fibre in particular is associated with a reduction in blood cholesterol levels. 1
Helps stabilise blood glucose levels
Fibre slows down the rate at which foods are broken down, which means the sugars in the food are also absorbed more slowly and do not cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.
Heart Disease and Cancer
A high fibre diet is also associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancers.1 Dietary fibre is particularly associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer. 1
Helps manage loose bowels
A fibre supplement can actually help loose bowels. It will not speed up bowel movements, however it will add more bulk to the stool to hopefully control loose bowels. If you are experiencing loose bowels, let your dietitian know however so you can receive individual advice. A small percentage of people do find that fibre can worsen loose bowels so best to chat to us first about this.
Helps prevent haemorrhoids
Adequate fibre helps to ensure your stool is soft and prevents straining which is linked to haemorrhoids.
Fibre is important for the good bacteria in the gut
Fibre is essential to feed the good bacteria in the gastrointestinal system.
Tips for increasing fibre through diet
As we have already discussed it is not possible to meet your fibre requirement just through diet after weight loss surgery. A supplement will be needed. Having said that, there are a few simple ways to maximise the fibre that you are able to get in through food sources.
Leave skin on vegetables and fruits
That is where most of the fibre is!
Make sure the carbohydrate-containing foods that you do include are wholegrain as opposed to refined.
Think multigrain bread, wholemeal pasta, brown basmati rice, wholegrain crackers such as Vitaweets or Ryvitas, wholemeal flour, rolled oats, Weetbix. While we want to keep our overall intake of these foods minimal, and focus on our protein and low starch vegetables, sticking to the above choices when you do have these foods will help to boost up your fibre. We also find that wholegrain carbohydrates are better tolerated by patients after surgery, for example many find white bread is not good, but multigrain is much better.
- Tasteless powder that can be dissolved in any drinks or foods.
- Wheat dextrin fibre, which is gluten-free.
- Psyllium fibre.
- Available as both powders in orange, lemon-lime and wild berry flavours, or as tablets.
- Natural Sterculia fibre.
- A non-fermenting fibre that is ideal for patients who experience IBS-like symptoms such as severe bloating.
- Available for purchase from your dietitian or our new online store!
Have a chat to your dietitian about which fibre supplement is right for you, and how much you should be taking.
*** &Note it is very important to ensure you are also taking in adequate fluids to complement your fibre supplement.