Duodenal Switch Diet

The diet for a duodenal switch patient is important to understand because of both the restrictive and malabsorptive elements that make up this surgery. One of the main things that someone considering the duodenal switch must understand ahead of time is that it is common for people to suffer from malnutrition after having this procedure, even when consuming a normal diet.

Vitamin Supplements

Because duodenal switch patients are at risk for vitamin deficiencies they will have to be prepared to take between 10 and 15 vitamin supplements for the rest of their lives. This is necessary to ensure that the body receives all the vitamins required for healthy living. Because of this large amount of vitamins that will need to be taken, patients can expect to have to spend between $1,000 and $1,500 per year out of pocket to cover the cost of these supplements. Patients should take this in to consideration before moving forward with a duodenal switch procedure.

Vitamin supplements that patients will typically have to take from then on after surgery include:

  • Multi-vitamin with minerals – At first you will need to take these in liquid, chewable or crushed form. You will be able to take whole pills after just a few weeks.
  • Calcium – It is recommended to take 500 to 600 mg three times a day. Calcium citrate (such as Citracal) is best
  • Fat-Soluble Vitamin – These contain vitamins that are easy for your body to absorb. You need to take 3 tablets per day (1 with each meal)
  • Other Supplements – Some people also need extra iron, vitamin B12 or potassium

Diets to Avoid

While it is uncommon among the super-obese it is highly recommended for duodenal switch patients to avoid a strict vegan diet. Due to the limited ability to take in and absorb food, patients must ensure that they are taking in a higher amount of their diet in the form of biological proteins. This helps ensure the body receives the necessary nutrients and avoids hypoproteinemia.

Diet Tips

The following tips are recommended for patients who have undergone the duodenal switch surgery:

  • Eat at least 80 to 100 grams of protein a day. – You need to eat a high-protein diet in order for your body to get the protein that it needs. Each meal should include a good source of protein (such as eggs, lean meats, and low-fat or fat-free milk products).
  • Avoid foods high in fat – Your body will not be able to absorb fats as well as it did before surgery. High-fat foods may cause diarrhea (loose, watery stools), frequent bowel movements and increased gas. Large amounts of high-fat foods may also slow your weight loss.
  • Avoid foods that are high in sugar (simple carbohydrates) – Large amounts of sugary, high-calorie foods (regular soda, candy, sweets) may slow your weight loss or cause weight gain
  • Choose complex carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits, vegetables) instead – These foods are a part of any healthy diet and are even more important for peoples who have had their ability to intake food reduced such as duodenal switch surgery patients


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