April 18, 2024

Can Bariatric Patients Eat Popcorn?

Bowl of popcorn

Bariatric surgeries like gastric sleeve and gastric bypass can help you lose weight if you’ve struggled to achieve your goals through dietary changes and increased exercise. The procedures are safe and effective and can be life-changing for some people.

However, achieving and maintaining your goal weight requires an ongoing commitment to better health. One aspect of that commitment is avoiding certain foods. Popcorn is on the list, especially immediately after surgery, as explained below.

Why Is Popcorn Problematic After Bariatric Surgery?

There are multiple reasons that your doctor will advise you to avoid popcorn soon after bariatric surgery and possibly long term, including:

  • You’ll have a post-surgery diet plan designed to ease your digestive tract back into full functioning. It will progress as follows: liquids, blended foods, soft foods, and solid foods. Popcorn falls into the fourth category, meaning you should strictly avoid it until you reach that phase.
  • Popcorn is light and airy, so it can be tempting to eat large portions. However, it can expand in your digestive tract, potentially damaging your new stomach pouch. It may also lead to what’s called “dumping syndrome” or “rapid gastric emptying,” where food leaves your stomach too quickly.
  • Foods with empty calories (popcorn, chips, sweets, etc.) aren’t nutritious and will make it harder to achieve and maintain your weight loss goal. Popcorn is particularly unhelpful to your diet if it includes butter and salt.
  • Popcorn has a high glycemic index, which can cause unhealthy blood sugar spikes and crashes.

Because of these characteristics, you must not eat popcorn soon after your bariatric procedure and should consider eliminating it altogether.

However, if you decide to have an occasional popcorn snack once you’re back to eating solid foods, it should be plain popcorn with no added butter or salt. You should start by eating a very small portion to see how it makes you feel. If you don’t notice any adverse effects and choose to snack on popcorn occasionally, you should always limit yourself to small portions.

Remember that this is general advice. Your doctor may feel that your specific health concerns and weight loss goals mean you should never eat popcorn. If that’s the case, heeding that advice will preserve the benefits of the hard work you’ve put in to get where you are today.

Talk with Your Baptist Health Care Team About Your Post-Surgery Diet

While popcorn is a snack with significant drawbacks, plenty of delicious and nutritious foods can be part of your long-term diet. Lean meats, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are just some that make the list. By experimenting, you can come up with meals that please your palate, are kind to your digestive system, and give your body the nutrients it needs.

If you’re considering bariatric surgery or have recently had it, your care team will guide you toward healthy foods and eating habits. Following their advice, you can achieve your goals while thoroughly enjoying your meals.

Learn More.