Information for patients
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This leaflet tells you about the diet you will need to follow after anti-reflux surgery.
After surgery, you will gradually move from a liquid/light diet back towards a normal textured diet, within about 6 to 10 weeks. Your diet will progress to a normal diet.
This leaflet provides you with information on the different stages of the diet to progress through following surgery.
What is the general advice to follow?
- Do not overeat, stop when you feel full
- Eat little and often, opting for small, regular meals throughout the day
- Chew your foods well and sit upright when eating
- Drink plenty of non-fizzy fluids with meals. Drink fluid after having small amounts of food
- Patients progress at different rates, if you are unsure whether you are ready to move onto the next stage, discuss this with your doctor
- You may experience some nausea and sickness as you introduce your fluids (and later diet). In this case, inform your medical team who may be able to give you medications to help with this.
- Fizzy drinks: this includes lemonade, cola, carbonated waters, beer, cider and wine
- Tough or dry meats, chunks of meat e.g. steak, bacon or dry roasted meats
- Seeds, pips, nuts
- Dried fruit and raw vegetables, including their peels and skins that may be difficult to swallow
- Crusts or hard breads.
Dealing with excess wind
Following your anti-reflux surgery, you may find it more difficult expel trapped air from your stomach (i.e. belch).
You may find this uncomfortable or notice that you pass wind more often or have larger belches than usual.
One of the best ways of dealing with this is to reduce the amount of air that you swallow, this means:
- Avoid gulping large mouthfuls of food or speaking while eating
- Avoid chewing gum
- Avoid using straws with drinks
- Avoid very dry foods, such as rice cakes
- Avoid fizzy drinks and alcohols such as lagers or beers.
Allow hot drinks to cool down and avoid strongly caffeinated beverages.
Avoid foods that are known to cause you excess wind.
Stage 1: Liquid diet
Duration to follow: Approximately 1 to 2 days
For the first 1 to 2 days following surgery it is important to maintain fluid intake.
- Beginning with water, you may then progress to squashes, black/herbal teas or beef extract/Vegemite drinks as preferred. These may be referred to as “clear fluids”
- After managing clear fluids, you can progress to normal fluids such as milk, milkshakes, yoghurt drinks, juices etc.
- Strained or puréed soup, for example, vegetable, chicken, cream, broth, bouillon or consommé
- Smooth puddings, such as milk puddings, custard, yoghurt, jelly, ice cream or sorbet.
Stage 2: Pureed diet
Duration to follow: Approximately 1 to 2 weeks
- If you have tolerated fluids without any problems, then you can progress to a “puréed diet,” this may also be referred to as a “sloppy diet”
- It is easy to purée food at home using a food processor or electric blender, adding additional fluid if needed such as water or milk
- Cereal softened with plenty of milk or milky porridge. No nuts, seeds, dried fruit
- Puréed or mashed: Softened fruit without pips, seeds and skins. For example, stewed fruit, banana, canned peaches, canned pears or apple sauce
- Note: When introducing foods and fluids in stages 1 to 2, you may not be able to tolerate large amounts. Because of this, you may need higher energy/protein drinks and foods to compensate
- Opt for full fat and sugar varieties of foods. You may wish to discuss this with your Doctor.
Stage 3: Soft diet
Duration to follow: Approximately 2 to 6 weeks
As you can continue to recover and you notice puréed foods are easier to manage, you may wish to progress onto a soft diet.
Examples of foods you may wish to try include:
Lightly boiled, poached or scrambled eggs or cereals softened in milk.
Cottage cheese and jacket potato or well cooked pasta dishes e.g. Carbonara or Bolognaise.
Slow cooked casserole/stew or boneless fish with soft cooked vegetables with boiled white rice.
- Steam or poached fish, avoiding bones
- Meats to be slow cooked in casseroles and puréed or minced
- Use gravies and sauces to keep foods moist.
Final stage: Normal eating
Once you are comfortable eating foods from stage 3, you should be able to progress to a normal texture diet.
Avoid foods which cause discomfort or do not ‘agree’ with you.
You may wish to continue following the advice in the general advice section if you continue to struggle with the foods/fluids in this section.
Most patients find that they are able to eat many foods that they were unable to manage prior to surgery.
Try to eat a healthy diet including fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and cereals. Foods high in fat and sugar should be limited such as cakes, biscuits, desserts and alcohol.
Should you have other problems following surgery please contact your GP or Consultant for further advice.
If you need further help or advice, please contact:
Specialist Services Admin Hub
Telephone: 01429 522471
Opening hours: 8:30am to 4:30pm (Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays)
Information used in the development of this leaflet
- Gandy, J. (August 2019). The Manual of Dietetic Practice (6th Edition). Wiley Blackwell Ltd.
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This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
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Leaflet reference: PIL1258
Date for review: 13 January 2024