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Introduction to Diet
In Singapore, we are blessed with easily accessible food choices readily. A healthy diet forms the foundation of a healthy lifestyle and an appropriate amount of nutrients and vitamins prevents onset of diseases and other conditions.
However, we often are hard pressed for time and our busy schedules may often make healthier choices difficult. Furthermore, the over consumption of foods high in fat and sugars, as well as a lack of physical activity due to a sedentary lifestyle, often leads to the development of obesity and its associated problems.

Nutritional Assessment

The purpose of nutritional assessment is to define a patient’s nutritional status, identify areas of inadequate nutrition, and to monitor changes in nutritional status.
We perform some of the main components as required:
  1. Anthropometric measures- Body Mass Index (height and weight)
  2. Biochemical parameters (eg serum albumin levels and hemoglobin)
  3. Clinical evaluation
  4. Dietary history- use of supplements and adequacy of diet
Diet in preparation for a colonoscopy
To allow the endoscopist to look the intestine lining clearly, it is advised to follow a low residue diet for 3 days before the procedure. You may continue to have regular portions at your meal times.

Diet after intestine surgery or acute surgical conditions

It is common to lose weight after surgery or your admission for your condition. It is therefore important to ensure a good diet to avoid losing too much weight which will affect healing. This advice will vary depending on your age group and original nutritional status. Also the condition you may have will require a personalized guide on what is a suitable diet for your recovery. Activity levels also correlate with digestion and we would encourage a balanced amount of physical activity to improve dietary consumption.
A slightly conservative approach is taken after surgery or acute surgical conditions such as an admission for diverticulitis, colitis or intestinal obstruction. The intestine is often swollen and may require a period of time to recover. The diet advise provided is to allow a balance of nutrition and to avoid blockage of the intestines during recovery. In our practice, we often advise a Low Residue diet initially for 1-2 weeks, followed by Low Fibre Diet for 1-2 weeks thereafter.
There are certain factors to bear in mind:
  • Avoid consuming only restricted or limited type of food in your recovery. There are some beliefs that plain fish porridge for example may be the only suitable food for a patient after surgery which is incorrect. Restricting the patient to limited variety of food besides reducing interest in eating, also limits the nutrients required.
  • Avoid consuming leftovers during this period. Our suggestion is to have fresh meals prepared each time to avoid any infections that may occur from improperly stored leftover meals. In our experience, milk or cream containing products should in general be consumed within the same day. Safe practices of food handling and storage apply as well.
  • Avoid large amounts of food during each meal. We have a general guide of small frequent meals (eg. 3 main meals and 2 small snacks in between the meals). This prevents the patient from feeling bloated and eases digestion.
  • Avoid taking unfamiliar nutritional supplements or Traditional herbal medication during the recovery phase. Well-meaning gifts or advice may unfortunately lead to difficulties in digestion. Do check with us on these but a general guide is to only take any of these supplements 4-6 weeks after your condition or surgery.
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