Bariatric Surgery Diet

Bariatric Surgery Diet Basics

In order to lose weight and keep it off after bariatric surgery, it’s important for patients to stick with a restricted bariatric surgery diet program. When you undergo gastric bypass surgery, gastric banding or other types of bariatric surgery procedures, the size of your stomach will be drastically, and you can only eat a very small amount of food at a time. You'll be limited to a liquid diet for a few weeks after surgery and will then only be able to eat certain types of foods to support your weight loss process. Talk to a bariatric surgeon in your area to see if you're a good candidate for one of the available weight loss procedures.

Bariatric surgery is only successful you're able to follow the recommended diet following your surgery. Check out these bariatric surgery before and after photos to see real people who've had the procedure.

Bariatric Surgery Diet Recommendations

Most bariatric surgery patients will need to maintain a liquid diet for three to four weeks after surgery. You’ll also need to be prepared to make significant menu changes after the first phase of recovery is over and will need to adopt some healthy eating habits to sustain your weight loss. Since you're forced to reduce the amount of food you can eat at any given time, you’ll need to make some very careful decisions about the types of food you eat at each meal. Nutritional deficiencies are a common problem for those who have undergone bariatric surgery and may be preventable with the right bariatric surgery diet.

The typical bariatric surgery diet is broken down into the following phases:

  • Stage 1: All-liquid nutrition. Usually in the form of meal-replacement shakes and meals in very small quantities spaced throughout the day.
  • Stage 2: Modified full liquids. This involves consuming ¼-cup of a high-protein liquid nutrition supplement every hour and drinking two ounces of non-carbonated, no-calorie liquid every 15 minutes after the hour.
  • Stage 3: Soft foods. These will be gradually added to your diet for six to eight weeks and will include foods such as soft fish, low-fat cottage cheese, eggs, tender meats, tofu and oatmeal.
  • Stage 4: Solid foods. Usually introduced 10 to 12 weeks after surgery and should consist of healthy food choices such as low-fat dairy, vegetable proteins, lean meat and low-glycemic, soft carbohydrates. Each meal needs to have at least three ounces of protein.

The bariatric surgery diet is an essential component of any weight loss program after bariatric surgery, and patients need to be especially careful about preventing dehydration.

Take a look at these bariatric surgery before and after photos to see how patients like you managed to lose weight with surgery and by following a recommended bariatric surgery diet program. Read the case studies next to each set of photos to see successful outcomes with various types of bariatric surgery procedures.

Your bariatric surgeon may work with a nutritionist to create a customized bariatric surgery diet that will help you lose weight after surgery. Your diet may be modified as the weeks go by, and you'll need to report any problems right away.