Intermittent fasting (IF) is the new “diet” buzzword. Our surgeons and RDs frequently get questions from patients about it - Is it a diet they should consider as a weight loss surgery patient?
We don’t think of intermittent fasting as a diet, it’s an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. The most common intermittent fasts are time-restricted and 24-hour low or no calorie fasts.
NJBC’s Intermittent Fasting Guidelines:
Overall, we do not recommend the 24-hour low/no calorie fasts for bariatric patients. It’s too restrictive, doesn’t provide the daily nutrition a bariatric patient needs and isn’t sustainable over the long-term.
If you’re interested in adding intermittent fasting to your daily routine as an eating plan, we recommend you follow the guidelines below:
Before weight loss surgery: Intermittent fasting may be done prior to bariatric surgery. Use the 16:8 method, and see how your body responds to fasting. For your meals, follow the general bariatric nutrition guidelines - lean proteins, low sugar, and non-starchy vegetables.
Immediately after weight loss surgery: We do not recommend intermittent fasting for bariatric patients immediately after weight loss surgery. It’s important to follow the post-op dietary guidelines - starting with a full liquid diet first and then a gradual progression to solid foods - provided by NJBC.
Four to six months post-surgery: Four to six months after weight loss surgery, and depending on a patient’s progress, the 16:8 IF method can be considered in consultation with your surgeon and RD.
Bariatric Nutrition When Fasting: When intermittent fasting, it’s important to choose nutrient dense foods during your eating period, including adequate protein and fiber to ensure that the body absorbs the right nutrients, and to follow the bariatric nutrition guidelines provided by the NJBC RDs. For any eating plan always choose a method that ensures you get the right amount of nutrition, aligns with your health goals and is sustainable over the long-term.
If your weight loss has stalled or you are not meeting your weight loss expectations, the team at the New Jersey Bariatric Center is always here to help. Make an appointment to speak to your NJBC surgeon or RD to discuss all the options that are right for your individual weight loss goals.
Varady, K. A. (2011). Intermittent versus daily calorie restriction: which diet regimen is more effective for weight loss? Obesity Reviews, 12(7). doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789x.2011.00873.x