Diabetic Diet After Surgery


Depending on the type of surgery you've had, your doctor may suggest a particular diet for a specified amount of time. If you are diabetic, make sure to remind your doctor so that you can discuss specific dietary options that are appropriate for you. You should also talk with your nutritionist to make sure that your post-surgery diet is in line with her diabetic dietary recommendations.

Liquid Diet

Many times before and sometimes after surgery, doctors recommend that you consume a clear liquid diet. Diabetics have to be especially careful with this type of diet to make sure they are not consuming anything that will spike their blood glucose levels. You should have no problems with clear broth, the kind you can make with either chicken or beef boullion cubes. You should also have no problem with water, but watch for juices, especially if you are avoiding high sugar content and counting your carbohydrates, since juice is high in both of these. Sometimes your doctors may let you drink tea and coffee as well as clear soft drinks, like sugar-free 7-Up and Sprite. Sugar-free Jello and popsicles should also be okay.

One step up from a clear liquid diet is one that allows more leeway and includes things like milk and smoothies. Again, be careful with smoothies since liquefied fruit can send blood glucose levels soaring. Liquid alternatives you might want to try are Glucerna products. They can provide additional nutritional content you might not otherwise get with some of the other liquids you are consuming.

Soft Foods

Often after surgery, doctors will advise you to eat soft foods. Diabetics have to be careful because so many recommended soft foods include simple carbohydrates like crackers, mashed potatoes and noodle soups. These foods are especially bad choices for diabetics watching their carbohydrate intake or who are using the glycemic index to help monitor their food intake.

Instead, you should opt for soft foods that rank lower on the GI scale, so you know you are eating foods that do not raise blood glucose levels quickly. To do this, you may have to get creative. Instead of mashed potatoes, try mashed vegetables. To make these, cook some fresh vegetables, and mash them before you eat them. Homemade soups are another healthy option. Make sure you put all the ingredients (meats, tomatoes or vegetables) through a blender so they are basically the consistency of mush.

Other Suggestions

After any kind of surgery, it’s a good idea to eat small meals to see if your food agrees with you. Also, in order to get adequate nutrition and ensure consistent blood sugar levels, you should eat often--every two to three hours or so. It's also important to monitor your blood sugar regularly to make sure it is in the normal range after eating (below 135-140 mg/dL two hours after meals). You should also talk about whether you need to make any changes in the frequency or amount of your insulin injections.

Once you determine that you are healing well and feeling good after surgery, you can gradually increase your food intake. You should also check with your doctor to see when you can return to your normal diabetic diet.

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