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Once your bariatric procedure is over and the healing process has begun, you will need to adjust to a whole new way of eating. Because your stomach will have changed in shape and size, portion control will play a critical role in your diet. This means you should eat smaller and more frequent meals to ensure you receive a range of vital nutrients.

Typical Post-Bariatric Procedure Diet and Nutrition Schedule

In the initial weeks following surgery, your digestive system can only tolerate liquids, soft foods and pureed foods. Following a staged diet for the first four weeks after surgery will help your stomach heal.

Stages include:

  • Clear liquids (48-64 oz. daily): Water, broth, sugar-free broth and popsicles, decaf tea and coffee, and other sugar-free, non-carbonated beverages
  • Full liquids (64 oz. daily): Strained low-fat cream soup, fat-free milk or sugar-free non-dairy milk, protein shakes, low-fat sugar-free yogurt and pudding
  • Pureed foods (2 oz. per meal): Protein-packed foods pureed to a baby food consistency
  • Soft foods (4 oz. per meal): Foods easily mashed with a fork, such as lean ground meats, poultry and fish; canned tuna or salmon; scrambled eggs; beans; tofu; cooked soft vegetables; fruits canned in natural water or juice
  • Regular diet (4-8 oz. per meal): Healthy, low-fat and low-sugar foods, focusing on protein first

Portion control is key to a healthy diet after surgery. You may have to adjust to eating small meals throughout the day instead of three big meals to limit your portions and avoid weight gain or complications post-surgery.

Note: This is a general guide. Please contact your bariatric coordinator for more specific information on what you should eat after your procedure.

Why is Protein so Important After Bariatric Procedures?

If you don’t incorporate enough protein into your diet after a bariatric procedure, you may experience protein-deficiency symptoms such as weakness or hair loss. Your body cannot store protein for long, which is why it’s key to get enough protein at each meal—at least two ounces at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Protein shakes are a great way to get your required protein in daily. Be sure to choose a sugar-free drink like Carnation® Instant Breakfast or make your own using a protein powder supplement. Steer clear of meal replacement drinks high in sugar, such as Ensure®, Boost® or SlimFast®.

Foods to Avoid After Bariatric Surgery

Those who have had bariatric surgery may be more sensitive to foods high in fat and sugar and can develop “dumping syndrome” if those foods are consumed. Dumping syndrome happens when your stomach rapidly empties its contents into your small intestine and can result in uncomfortable side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, lightheadedness or fatigue after a meal.

In addition, most patients are unable to consume red meats such as beef, pork and lamb in the first six months after surgery, but can eat these foods in small amounts, if tolerated, after six months.

In general, the following foods and drinks should be avoided or limited after a bariatric procedure:

  • Rice, bread and pasta
  • Dry or tough meats
  • High-sugar and high-fat foods
  • Fibrous vegetables like raw celery, asparagus and raw cabbage
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Whole or 2 percent milk
  • Fruit juice
  • Smoothies
  • Energy drinks and caffeinated beverages
  • Alcohol

Nutrition Counseling

As part of the bariatric surgery program, Inspira provides nutrition counseling and support groups to help you grow accustomed to your new diet.

During one-on-one counseling, a registered dietitian will guide you through your post-operative diet progression, monitor your nutrition to prevent early complications and help you implement a vitamin and mineral supplement regimen. Long-term, nutrition counseling serves as another layer of support and education to help you sustain lifestyle and behavior changes to support continued weight loss or maintenance.

Inspira’s nutrition support groups help patients encourage, motivate, educate, validate, celebrate and rededicate their nutrition goals after surgery.

Request a Nutritionist Appointment

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