Managing Gas after Weight Loss Surgery

Feb 1 8:19am | Tara Schmidt, RDN, LD | @taraschmidt

Male holding hands over stomach

Written by Margaret Gall, Mayo Clinic Registered Dietitian 

You may experience symptoms including passing gas, burping or belching, or bloating, (a feeling of fullness or pressure in your abdomen) after a weight loss surgery. The following suggestions may improve your symptoms.

Limit your intake of food and drinks that may cause symptoms. If eliminating a certain food or drink, try removing one at a time to see if your gas symptoms improve.

  • Beans (e.g., baked, dried, Lima), broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, radishes, apples, raisins, and wheat bran - Eat these foods in small amounts. You may also try them in a different form such as cooked versus raw to help.
  • Products containing chicory root or inulin may be more gas producing – check the food’s ingredient label
  • Fiber rich foods are important to your digestive health. Add fiber to your diet slowly since a rapid increase in fiber may cause gas. Some fiber-rich foods are less likely to cause gas. Apricots, bananas, berries, green beans, carrots, spinach, oatmeal, quinoa, rice (brown or wild) are options to try.
  • Dairy - After a weight loss surgery, you may have trouble digesting lactose, a natural sugar found in milk and other dairy products. To help you with foods that contain lactose:
    • Eat a milk product with other foods
    • Choose a smaller amount of dairy at one time
    • Try other kinds of dairy - yogurt and cheese may be better tolerated than milk
    • Consider dairy products that are lactose-free or use lactase supplements. Ask your dietitian about using these products.
  • Sugar substitutes – Specific substitutes such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, erythritol and isomalt may cause symptoms. They are often used in sugar free gum, candies, and desserts.  Read the ingredient labels of products to help limit or avoid these sugar substitutes.
  • Fatty foodsCutting back on high-fat foods such as fried foods; whole-milk dairy products; cream sauces, gravies and salad dressings; mayonnaise, butter, and margarine; oils, nuts and seeds (although healthier choices still high in fat) may reduce gas: Talk with a dietitian about the amount of fat you need in your diet.

Reduce excess air swallowing.   Swallowing excess air can cause burping or belching. It can also make you feel bloated.

  • Avoid “gulping” your food and liquids. Eat slowly, chew food well, and drink liquids slowly between meals, not with meals.
  • Avoid carbonated liquids. Choose non-carbonated (and sugar-free) beverages instead.
  • Skip the gum chewing and drinking through a straw which can result in ‘extra” air swallowing.

Keep a diary of what you eat and drink and your symptoms to help you and your health care provider determine the best options for changes in your diet. 

For more information or if you have questions after reading this information, talk with your health care provider or a dietitian.

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