Are juice and smoothies safe to have after surgery? Yes and no.
Should you have them? Preferably, not.
Juice and smoothies are very high in sugar and can not only raise your blood insulin levels (which encourages weight GAIN and not weight LOSS) but also increase your risk for experiencing dumping syndrome.
Now, some of you may be about to ask me… “But what if it’s sugar free?“
Ideally, I would try to avoid sugar-free versions of juice as well. Typically, sugar-free juices are full of artificial sweeteners and ingredients.
I ask all of my patients in clinic how many juices and smoothies they consume every day as part of their daily intake of calories. It is not uncommon to hear my patients says; “Oh yeah! I forgot. I have 1-2 juices and smoothies per day.”
Despite juices being labeled as “healthy green juice” or “fresh smoothies” being healthy for you because they’re made of fruit, they’re sugar-sweetened beverages that won’t help you lose weight.
At the end of the day, juice and smoothies = sugar.
Therefore, the next time you’re finding yourself tempted to swing by Smoothie King for a strawberry smoothie, I’d rather you grab the actual fruit you’re craving a mozzarella string cheese or other form of protein to go with it.
Here are some tips and tricks if you’re a juice lover:
- If you’re craving grape juice, have ½ cup of grapes. You can even put them in the freezer for a cold treat!
- If you’re craving orange juice, have a small clementine.
- If you’re craving apple juice, have 1 small apple (or ½ of a medium sized apple). And if you’re like some people who have apple juice to move your bowels… please just use Benefiber or Smooth Move Tea instead of subjecting yourself to a caloric beverage that will spike your blood sugar and insulin levels.
- If you love the consistency of a smoothie, my recommendation is to make it at home and to include a protein powder as well. Try diluting your milk with half water to cut down on your sugar content – or better yet- use an unsweetened nut milk (like an unsweetened almond or coconut milk) as an alternative.
Here’s my favorite protein shake recipe for those who are 1) on a regular bariatric diet and 2) already consuming other whole food sources of protein:
Chocolate PB Shake:
½ frozen banana
5-6 ice cubes
8-12 oz unsweetened almond milk
Unjury unflavored whey protein powder (or 2 scoops collagen peptides)
2T PBfit (unsweetened)
2T unsweetened cocoa powder
[optional] 1T 100% cacao nibs (for a little bit of a crunch)
Blend with a high-speed blender like a Vitamix to enjoy a high protein, low sugar shake!
Important Bariatric Reminders:
- Consume < 2 servings of fruit per day. 1 serving of fruit = ½ cup of cut up fruit, or ½ medium banana
- Avoid empty calories like juices and smoothies that are full of sugar
- Have < 20g of added sugar total for the day
- If you’re craving fruit, stick to berries (ie: blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)- as these will have the least effect on your blood glucose compared to other fruits.
If you’re looking for deeper nutritional education and support, I encourage you to explore our exclusive membership support group Banana Bariatrics!
Inside, you’ll have access to our Back On Track Program (a 3 month program that dedicates an entire month to the specifics of bariatric nutrition) as well as our comprehensive Nutrition Course!
Content inside our Nutrition Course includes:
- Bariatric guidelines, serving sizes, and macronutrients
- Sugar (ie: sugar sweetened beverages, artificial sweeteners, etc.)
- Cooking and meal prepping
- …and more!
Banana Bariatrics also comes with an entire team of Bariatric Dietitians who can help answer all of your questions about weight loss surgery.