Dietary Progression

The long-term goal of surgery is for you to reach a healthy weight by eating the right foods and exercising regularly. After surgery you will begin slowly and go through three dietary stages:

  • Bariatric Clear Liquids and Protein Shakes
  • Pureed Food
  • Soft Solid Foods
  • Solid Bariatric Diet

Stage 1

While you’re in the hospital, you will be consuming broth, diluted fruit juice, and sugar-free beverages.

It will be important not to drink too quickly. It is recommended that you consume only 1 ounce every 15 minutes at first. Eventually you will be drinking continuously between meals, with the goal of 6-8 cups of fluid per day.

When you are released from the hospital, your surgeon will advance you to a two-week diet of protein shakes. Acceptable protein shakes after surgery are high in protein and calories and low in sugar.

Carbonated, caffeinated and sugar-sweetened (to include fruit juice) beverages are not recommended. Carbonation can stretch your pouch and irritate your new stomach. Caffeine is a stomach irritant, can make it hard for you to stay hydrated and can lead to ulcers. Beverages high in sugar can lead to weight gain and can trigger dumping syndrome. For those patients with the gastric bypass. Dumping syndrome is when you get sick from too much sugar hitting your intestines at one time.

Stage 2

In approximately two weeks with your doctor's approval, you will advance to pureed foods. Use a blender to achieve the right consistency. From now on, every bite of food you take needs to be chewed to applesauce consistency before you swallow.

At first you will only be eating about 1-2 tablespoons of food at a time. Always eat your "Protein First," vegetables next, fruits, and then starch if you have room. Eating protein first is a very important rule since you need protein to maintain your muscle mass, for healing, to prevent from excess hair loss, and for your immune system. You will be given a protein goal to meet your individualized needs.

Stage 3

With your surgeon’s approval, small amounts of soft solid foods may be started in approximately 4-6 weeks. Only eat 3 times per day with 2 planned, high protein snacks. Drink plenty of sugar-free liquids between meals.

Since you don't have much space in your new stomach, you need to fit as much good nutrition into your diet as possible. Five small servings per day of vegetables and fruits is a good goal. Use fats sparingly, however not eating fats may increase hair loss and skin problems during the weight loss period.

Remember not to drink for 30 minutes before or after eating. Mixing liquids with solids makes the pouch empty too quickly, which means you may eat more food without feeling full.

Stage 4

The rest of your life, you are recommended to eat a variety of foods daily, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, vegetables and fruit. The 1 year post-op mark is when you can begin to incorporate some starchy foods (rice and potatoes) but it is recommended that they are limited since they tend to slow the rate of weight loss. Try to select high quality starches: lentil pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and nothing that has added fats such as deep-fried potatoes. Beverages can be consumed closer to meals (10 minutes before and 10 minutes after) but they are still not recommended during meals or snacks. With this stage being more liberal it can be hard to keep the rate of weight loss going. Be mindful of what you are eating and monitor when you are getting off track.

Vitamins and Minerals

After surgery, start taking bariatric chewable or liquid multivitamins, calcium with Vitamin D, and B12 supplements recommended during your nutrition sessions. After a month, you may switch to bariatric vitamin and calcium pills. You need to take these every day for the rest of your life.