Bariatric surgery patients are required to adhere to a very specialized diet before and immediately after surgery, and the first three weeks after surgery require the consumption of a very high-protein, liquid diet so that the body can heal.
Weight loss surgery, whether it’s a gastric banding procedure, gastric bypass surgery or another bariatric procedure, can trigger weight loss within a week after surgery but the body will need some time to adapt to the drastic changes. Duke Medicine, a part of the Duke University Health System, recommends the following dietary program for patients who have been discharged from their procedure:
Liquid Diet Schedule for First Three Weeks After Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery patients are advised to drink at least two ounces of a high protein beverage every hour, and to drink about 24 to 32 fluid ounces of a high-protein beverage each day to meet their protein goal. Low-sugar protein drinks are recommended because too much sugar can cause a stomach upset and indigestion.
For the first three weeks, the recommended liquid diet schedule over the course of an hour may consist of two ounces of high protein liquid, two ounces of water, two ounces of non-caloric liquid, two ounces of water, and another two ounces of a high protein liquid. Consumption may be spaced out over the course of an hour so that the body can absorb the liquids completely.
Protein Supplementation After Bariatric Surgery
Since bariatric surgery patients are unable to eat solid protein such as chicken, turkey, fish, eggs and tofu, they are limited to liquid protein shakes and high protein drinks. These include protein shakes such as Boost or Ensure High Protein beverages, Glucerna (low sugar), EAS high protein shakes and Isopure protein powders.
Nutritional Supplements After Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery alters the size and shape of the stomach, and also limits the amount of food the patient can eat at any given time. Because of these factors, many patients can suffer from malnutrition because they simply cannot eat a variety of foods over the course of the day. Bariatric surgeons typically recommend taking a multivitamin or calcium supplement to make sure that the patient is getting enough nutrients, and may also recommend taking a multivitamin with a higher-than average folic acid or zinc content.
For the first three weeks after surgery, bariatric surgery patients must increase their calcium intake to about 1,000 milligrams per day. Calcium citrate is readily absorbed in the stomach and can be taken in two doses over the course of the day.
Recommended Beverages After Bariatric Surgery
Since dehydration is a common side effect of bariatric surgery, patients who have undergone a weight loss procedure are advised to drink about two ounces of a high protein fluid every hour. Patients need to try and consume at least 64 fluid ounces per day and can space out fluid consumption over a period of 12 to 15 hours to reach their goal.
Duke Medicine recommends consuming calorie-free, non-carbonated beverages to ensure that the patient can easily keep track of their daily caloric intake. Some recommended beverages during the discharge diet phase include:
Decaffeinated tea (unsweetened)
Propel Fitness Water
Learn more about dietary recommendations for bariatric surgery patients in our nutritional counseling information guide, or consult with a bariatric surgeon in your area to learn about different dietary recommendations after your procedure.