Bariatric Program

Diet and Nutrition After Bariatric Surgery

Proper nutrition following weight-loss surgery is essential to your health, and will help you heal faster. Your Temple dietitian and surgeon will provide you with a complete nutrition plan to help you understand what you can eat and when. You will also receive guidance on how to supplement your diet with protein, vitamins and minerals.  

  • Clear liquid diet – While in the hospital you will be asked to take small sips of clear liquids. These include water, broth, sugar-free gelatin, sugar free popsicles, decaf tea, decaf coffee, and sugar-free, non-carbonated beverages. You will start drinking 1-2 ounces every hour. Once discharged, you should increase fluid intake to 3-8 ounces every hour to avoid dehydration. The goal is for you to drink 48-64 ounces daily. Straws should be avoided to prevent discomfort.
  • Full liquid diet – After the first week, you will add “full liquids,” such as strained low-fat cream soups, fat free/low-fat milk (or unsweetened non-dairy milk), low-fat yogurt, and sugar-free, fat-free pudding. You will start protein shakes to help meet your daily protein goal (whey protein is typically recommended after surgery). Your goal is to drink 64 oz of fluid daily.
  • Pourable protein– At this stage foods need to be put in a blender to achieve a smooth baby food consistency for 3 weeks. This is necessary to avoid serious complications and to increase your tolerance to new foods. Each meal is about 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of blended protein foods. It is okay if you feel full after a few bites and cannot eat the whole ¼ cup.
  • Mushy/soft diet – This stage includes foods that can be easily mashed with a fork (eg, lean ground meats, poultry, fish, canned tuna/salmon, scrambled eggs, beans, tofu, cooked soft vegetables and fruits canned in water or natural juice). You should eat protein foods first to meet your daily protein goal. Protein shakes are still an important part of your diet. An average meal at this point is about 4 ounces (1/2 cup).
  • Regular diet – Usually patients are able to safely begin a regular, healthy diet at 9 weeks after surgery. You will be encouraged to choose mostly high-protein foods and to avoid foods that are usually not well tolerated. You will continue practicing all the good eating habits you learned as you were preparing for surgery. Meals are about 4-8 ounces (1/2-1 cup). People who had a gastric bypass sometimes can be more sensitive to high fat and high sugar foods. This is called “dumping syndrome”. You will learn how to avoid this uncomfortable side effect.
  • Foods to avoid  rice, bread, pasta, dry/tough meats, high-sugar foods, high-fat foods, and fibrous vegetables (eg, raw celery, asparagus, raw cabbage).
  • Beverages to avoid – carbonated beverages, whole or 2% milk, fruit juice, smoothies, energy drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.

This page is intended to provide tips and guidelines only, and should not be taken as a definitive medical or dietary plan for patients of bariatric surgery. For detailed information about diet and nutrition specific to your needs, consult your doctor or dietitian.