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Post-Bariatric Surgery Nutritional Plan

Immediately after your surgery it is very important to follow the eating and drinking instruction to allow the procedure you underwent time to heal completely at the surgical site. This has been estimated to take a month or more. It is also important, especially in the first weeks after surgery, not to overeat or swallow large bites of food that have not been chewed extremely well. Problems may occur if these instructions are not strictly followed. When vomiting occurs the stomach may rise up about the band placement causing slippage of the band requiring re-operation.


Your nutrition plan is divided into four (4) phases – each phase allowing you to adjust to your new gastric pouch.


Right after surgery, you will be given small sips of water or ice chips to suck on. The day after the operation you will begin taking in fluids, but only drink a small amount at a time. Besides water, you should also choose liquids that have an adequate number of calories. To prevent nausea and vomiting, do not drink too much at any one time.
Clear liquids only (liquids you can see through). These include broth, Jello, juices (apply, cranberry, grape), tea or popsicles. SEE ATTACHED CLEAR LIQUID DIET for more details.

Usually a day or two after surgery, you can advance to the first phase of your nutrition plan.

In addition, you should purchase a fiber supplement like Benefiber of Citrucel or other sugar-free supplement to avoid problems with constipation after the surgery.

Post-Op Nutrition Instructions


Weight Loss: In order to sustain this weight loss long-term, it is critical that one’s behaviors are modified early in the postoperative period. There are 6 cardinal rules that one must follow in order to attain a weight that is close to one’s ideal body weight.

  1. The primary source of nutrition needs to be protein. 55% of all calories consumed should be lean, protein-based (eggs, cheese, yogurt, beans, fish, meat, protein supplement powder, etc.) Carbohydrates (whole grain cereals, whole grain pasta, brown rice, etc.) should make up only 30%. Fats (olive or canola oils, flaxseed oil) should only be 10-15% of the calories that you eat. Hair loss, cracked nails and defective healing and immunity are just some of the side effects of inadequate protein consumption; not to mention difficulty losing weight. Plus protein makes us feel more satisfied for a longer period.
  2. Drink an adequate amount of liquid daily, preferable water. Patients should consume between 64 and 80 ounces (8 to 10, 8-ounce glasses) of non-caloric, de-caffeinated liquid per day. This should be done slowly and throughout the day. Never drink more than 2 oz of liquid in a 15 minute period. This amount should be increased by 10%-20% when the weather is very hot and humid to prevent dehydration.
  3. Always drink liquids separately from the solid foods you eat. Avoid liquids for a period of 15-30 minutes before eating and 30-60 minutes after eating solid foods. If you drink when you’re eating, the liquid flushes solid food out of the pouch. This will prompt you to eat more.
  4. Eat only 3 times per day once you begin Solid Foods, Phase IV (this should correspond to mealtimes). Be sure to chew your food thoroughly, 25-30 times, before swallowing and only take a very small bite of food at a time (less than 1 teaspoon) as you gradually return to eating solid foods. Between meals snacking or “grazing” small amounts of food throughout the day will sabotage your weight loss and result in the inability to lose an adequate amount of weight.
  5. Avoid foods which contain sugar. These foods will slow your weight loss. They contain empty calories.
    • Foods to avoid include:
    • Candy
    • Cookies
    • Ice Cream
    • Sugary soda pop, fruit juices, gelatins, puddings and most desserts
  6. Eat slowly. Chewing is key. Enjoy the taste of the food you are eating. Chew your food 25 times before swallowing. Solid food should be cut up into bite-sized pieces the size of your thumbnail. Make sure you are taking at least 20 minutes to eat. It takes that long for your stomach to tell your brain you’re full. If you eat too fast you may overeat, overfill and end up vomiting.

Stop eating as soon as you begin to feel full. Do not “stuff” yourself, as this may cause your stomach pouch to stretch – or worse, burst – causing long-term problems and complications.

Once you are eating solid foods, do not take in liquid calories. While your diet begins with liquids, it should not include liquid calories once you have progressed to solid foods. Liquids will pass through the restricted stomach, you will not feel full and can cause you not to lose weight.


All successful bariatric surgery patients have 2 things in common: They followed their dietary recommendations closely and they initiated a regular exercise program. Within a few days after surgery, begin walking and start other light physical activity. It is essential that within 4 to 6 weeks after surgery, you begin a regular exercise program. The doctor will give you his consent to begin a more advanced exercise program after your 1 month post-op visit. Initially this may simply be walking around the neighborhood 4 times per week for 40-60 minutes. Later (3-4 months post-op) it will also involve low-impact resistance training (swimming, light weight-lifting, rowing, etc.) This will guarantee not only a good weight loss, but will also improve your stamina, energy level and overall health.

Post-Op Bariatric Surgery Diet Guides

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