Hunger after Bariatric Surgery

Hunger is one of the most difficult hurdles you, as a post bariatric surgery patient, will have to face. Bariatric surgery can help reduce the number of calories that you can consume at any given sitting as well as the number of calories that are absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestine. That said, bariatric surgery does not generally affect hunger in a significant way. The exception is about half of gastric sleeve patients that will feel fewer hunger pangs after surgery – this is as a result of removing the fundus of the stomach, the main source of ghrelin, a hunger hormone.

As a result of this post bariatric surgery reality, patients have to be attuned to their hunger signals – their causes and how to effectively manage them. Doing so is a skill that is learned and perfected over the course of several months after surgery. Some tips to help manage hunger after a bariatric procedure include:

  • Understanding the difference between head hunger and actual hunger. When we are dehydrated or haven’t consumed enough water, we tend to feel hungry. This makes us eat, when in fact what we need to do is drink. So make sure you drink plenty of water; according to your post-surgical instructions.
  • You should also consume 3 small meals throughout the day and then try almond snacks or a protein shake in between if you get hungry. Try not to skip a meal. Spreading your meals throughout the day with healthy snacks such as almonds or apples, helps eliminate sugar spikes, which can often lead to ravenous hunger and overeating. Feeling satisfied throughout the day helps us immeasurably, leading to fewer hunger pangs.
  • Substitute simple carbs like sugars, white breads and starchy foods by increasing your lean protein intake to stay fuller for longer.
  • Participate in support groups. We are all different, but as bariatric patients we can rally around each other, offering tips and tricks to manage hunger. You may find some very interesting and effective tips from others around you.

Using the tips above and the experiences that you have learned over the months or years will guide you in managing hunger. Further, make sure that you follow your post bariatric surgery guidelines as outlined in the packet you receive from our office and you’ll be well on your way to sustained weight loss.

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