Low Carb Bariatric Diet:
The Secret to Sticking With It

quality carb chart

If you’re confused about the low carb bariatric diet, well, join the club! It's like trying to navigate through a maze. Everyone has their own idea of what "low" means and what you can and can’t eat. It’s enough to make your head spin.

But don't worry, as a bariatric dietitian, I'm here to clear things up and steer you in the right direction. First off, understand that a low carb bariatric diet doesn't mean cutting out all carbs. My article on bariatric carbs per day is sure to help you understand this further.

Its not about carb deprivation, but rather about learning to make healthier carb choices…and then the quantities take care of themselves.

It works like magic that way. But no black hat and no bunny required.

Let me explain..

Numbers Don’t Tell the Whole Story

When it comes to food, numbers don't tell the whole story. Picking a food based its lack of carb count doesn't necessarily lead to a good choice.

Low carb ice cream is still ice cream after all! And having vodka for breakfast because it doesn't have any carbs doesn't make any sense.

Just because something is low carb doesn't make it a good, healthy, choice.

You see, carbs aren't created equally. Some are more nutritious and filling than others. The carbs in jelly beans aren't the same as the carbs in garbanzo beans for example. Quality matters.

The secret to sticking to a low carb bariatric diet is consistently choosing quality carbs.

Quality Carbs/Skinny Carbs/Smart Carbs/Healthy Carbs  

Call them what you may, nutrient dense, quality carbs are packed with good nutrition and fiber.

The fiber matters, because it leaves you feeling full and satisfied for hours…on just a small portion. And when you're not hungry, you're not rummaging around looking for food!

“Self Limiting”

Quality carbs are like the friend who always knows when to leave the party. They'll make sure you're full before you even think about overeating.

Unlike processed, packaged snack foods that seem to call your name from the pantry, quality carbs like beans, vegetables, and fruits have a natural cut-off point.

Let's be real, have you ever binged on beans or vegetables? I bet not. But have you ever inhaled a bag of chips? Yeah, me too.

It's like comparing a bowl of sugary cold cereal to a bowl of steel cut oatmeal. One will leave you hungry in an hour, the other will keep you satisfied for hours.

When it comes to eating quality carbs, self-imposed portion control becomes a thing of the past. You won't find yourself counting carbs like you're counting sheep, because these foods have a built-in "stop eating" button. No more deciding in advance how much you “should” eat.

Fact: Quality carbs are key to controlling hunger, cravings, and ultimately calories.

So without further ado…

Quality Carbs:

  • All Vegetables- starchy and non starchy
  • All Fresh Fruit
  • Unsweetened plain Greek yogurt
  • Beans, lentils, peas
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Squash: butternut, acorn, spaghetti squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Beets
  • Old fashioned oats
  • Buckwheat


Learn to add quality carbs to your diet

See my Quality Carbs Pinterest Board 

Say Goodbye to the “Bad Carbs”/”Junky Carbs"

These leave you feeling unsatisfied and craving/reaching for more. They’re easily digested and slide right down, making it easy to overindulge.

Note: One of the challenges after bariatric surgery is the temptation to indulge in foods that ARE easily digested and easy to eat.

Because let's be real, it takes time and awareness to eat mindfully and to successfully get down solid, dense protein and the quality carbohydrates I'm talking about here. So there's a real draw to junk foods because they're simply easier to eat.

Junky carbohydrate have been affectionately dubbed "slider foods" in the bariatric world.

Not only do they sabotage your weight loss goals, but they can also cause a condition known as "dumping syndrome".

This occurs when the food you've eaten moves too quickly through your stomach and into your small intestine, causing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Not fun to say the least.

Slider Foods

  • Popcorn
  • Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Crackers
  • Candy
  • Cake
  • Ice cream
  • Any processed, packaged snack food really!

You’re more likely…because you’re more able …to eat more than you intend when you choose these sliders foods.

Bottom Line for Your Bottom Line:
Low Carb Bariatric Diet

  • Focus on quality of carb and the quantity will take care of itself.
  • Quality carbs have a built in “stop eating” button.

I bet you've never inhaled a bunch of bananas like they're the last food on earth, but when it comes to processed crackers, it's a different story.

It's time to stop fearing the big bad banana and start giving the cold shoulder to processed snacks. Embrace quality carbs, but give the processed stuff the boot.

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