What are Slider Foods & Should I be Wary of Them?March 2, 2017
In the world of weight-loss surgery, there are a lot of words and phrases that can sound pretty strange very quickly. To an outsider, words like “dumping” or “slider” may even seem a little alarming! We use acronyms like VSG and WLS and NSV. Someone new to bariatric living might need a cheat sheet on how to keep up with what we’re talking about!
Perhaps you feel you have a good grasp on what these terms mean or maybe you could use a bit of a refresher yourself. Let’s dive in deeper and uncover what a “slider food” really means and how avoiding them can lead to better results in your weight-loss journey.
WLS and Changes to the Digestive System
Each surgery is different in the anatomy changes to the digestive system. It’s always a great idea to refresh your understanding of how your anatomy has changed since your weight-loss surgery.
One thing to make a note of after surgery is the change in gastric emptying, which is how fast food leaves your stomach. If you’ve had Gastric Bypass surgery, you no longer have that small muscle at the bottom of the stomach that keeps food in your stomach. If you have Gastric Banding, hunger is best controlled when food stays in the upper part of the stomach above the band. If you’ve had Gastric Sleeve, while the pyloric sphincter is still intact (the small muscle at the bottom of your stomach that regulates when food leaves to the small intestine) food still empties your stomach pouch more quickly than before you had surgery. Each surgeon performs operations slightly differently and reviewing the difference in gastric emptying with your doctor can give you a better understanding of your surgery. Typically, the rate at which foods leaves your stomach after bariatric surgery is faster.
This is why the post-op pouch is often equated to that of a funnel. Just like you would find in a garage, picture a funnel with the opening at the bottom that allows liquids to pass through. As a child, you may have practiced putting something more liquid through a funnel like water and then watched the different rate it moved through compared to sand or even gravel. The thicker the consistency of what you put through the funnel, the slower it traveled through the funnel.
When we take the visual of the funnel and think of the stomach, it helps in understanding what foods take longer to leave the stomach. Foods that have a high protein content and are thicker in texture such as a turkey burger patty or lean pork tenderloin will take longer to transit through the stomach funnel.
The Definition of Slider Foods
A slider food is a soft textured food that is typically higher in carbohydrates but not always. These are the foods that travel more quickly through the stomach pouch after surgery. Because they leave more quickly, slider foods increase hunger and increase portions which can lead to slower results or weight re-gain.
That much you may have already known. A slider food is just that, food that “slides right through.”
But why is it that the slider foods feel so much better than a solid protein?
Why is it that ‘bad foods’ are so much easier to eat??
Let’s take it a step further as we talk about how food digests in the body. You see, carbohydrates start the digestion process in the mouth. Salivary amylase is an enzyme in your saliva that breaks down carbohydrates the moment they enter the mouth. This is why if you left a cracker on your tongue for long enough it would start to taste sweet. The carbohydrates in the cracker are being broken down into sugar by your saliva.
While you chew a high carb food (mechanical digestion) and the saliva is at work (enzyme digestion) by the time you swallow that food, and it gets to your stomach pouch, it has become very soft and very smooth to travel into your small stomach. The trouble is, for the same reason it went down easily it will also leave easily because it is now a slider food.
Protein and the Digestive Process
Protein, on the other hand, does not start the digestion process until it hits the stomach. While chewing thoroughly is very important (mechanical digestion) a dense protein source such as that turkey burger will hit much harder than a high carbohydrate food that has been pre-prepared for the stomach pouch.
For you to feel your best at eating a solid meat protein, you must take very, very small bites. About the size of a peanut.
Of course, chewing thoroughly and eating slowly are also keys to feeling your best with solid meats but if the bite itself is too big, too much food hitting the small opening into your little stomach pouch will leave you wanting to avoid meat. It’s very tempting to grab a slider food when food is hitting hard, getting stuck or just plain turning you off to meats.
At the end of the day, food choices are key to your hunger control and your weight-loss journey. Keep a close watch on the slider foods and fill up your funnel with lean, solid protein sources. Stay diligent in making your eating behaviors a priority when you eat by taking small bites, eating slowly, chewing well and stopping at the first sign of fullness.
ABOUT THE AUTHORSteph Wagner MS, RD/LD is a Registered Dietitian with over seven years of experience specializing in weight-loss surgery. She loves making healthy food taste good and is very passionate about helping patients finding freedom from weight and food issues. Steph provides online support at BariatricFoodCoach.com/ and has published a bariatric cookbook “Best Fork Forward: Everyday Dinners After Weight-Loss Surgery” Read more articles by Steph!