Anyone awake knows that fried foods are not a healthy dietary option. A high-fat diet is believed to be one of the contributing causes of diabetes, heart disease, being overweight, and obesity. But Americans continue to fill their plates with fried foods because we’ve developed a taste for them and because food producers make products that taste good and are affordable.
Overweight people who have undergone bariatric weight loss surgery to control their weight are encouraged to follow a diet high in protein and low in fat and carbohydrates. This has been shown to work effectively with weight loss surgery to reduce weight and control it for long periods of time. Living in a world where high-fat foods are always present, the surgical weight loss patient is often tempted to indulge in fried foods, often thinking that small amounts of fried foods will not adversely affect their diet or health. However, eating fried foods, even in small amounts, can have catastrophic consequences for gastric surgery patients.
In general, fried food is bad for us simply because of the nature of its nutritional makeup. Consider this: a 6-piece serving of fried chicken contains 401 calories; 16 grams of protein; 8 grams of fat; 57 grams of carbohydrates. The FDA estimates this at 3 1/2 servings of starch / bread and 1 serving of lean meat. It’s easy to see how we have become an “obese nation” when you consider that many children are weaned from the bottle directly onto fried fast food chunks of chicken.
These nutritional data indicate that fried chicken tenders are a high-fat carbohydrate. When a person who has undergone gastric malabsorption surgery, such as gastric bypass, ingests high-fat carbohydrates, they are at imminent risk of dumping syndrome. Gastric emptying syndrome, or rapid gastric emptying, is a condition in which eaten food bypasses the stomach too quickly and enters the small intestine largely undigested. The syndrome is most often associated with gastric malabsorption surgery, specifically gastric bypass surgery. Symptoms of dumping syndrome can manifest immediately after eating or within three hours after eating. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, bloating, cramps, diarrhea, dizziness, and fatigue. Symptoms subside as insulin levels return to normal. Many patients who experience spillage find comfort by lying down or drinking fortified water or energy drinks served at room temperature.
Dumping syndrome is not only physically uncomfortable, it can also be unpredictable and embarrassing. Many patients experience profuse sweating, which can be embarrassing and difficult to explain to those unfamiliar with the condition. At other times, a patient may be confused and disoriented, which may seem like intoxication or diabetic distress to someone unfamiliar with the signs and symptoms of dumping syndrome.
So the consequences of eating fried foods after gastric weight reduction surgery are twofold: immediate risk of dumping syndrome and long-term risk of weight gain and diseases associated with a high-fat diet.
Gastric surgery patients, specifically gastric bypass patients, can successfully avoid dumping syndrome by eating a carefully chosen lean protein diet combined with fresh, low-glycemic fruits and vegetables. Patients are instructed to avoid simple sugars, simple carbohydrates, and high-fat carbohydrates and to avoid drinking fluids with meals. At the start of weight loss surgery, patients are instructed to follow a high-protein diet after surgery.