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Nutrition After Bariatric Surgery

After bariatric surgery, particularly gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery, you will be required to follow specific food guidelines. These guidelines help to ensure that you receive proper nutrition with minimal disruption to healing and weight loss efforts. Because you will be eating smaller portions, it is important to adopt a nutrient-rich, high protein diet to prevent nutrient deficiency. Our program will help you learn techniques and tools that can improve weight loss and prevent weight regain after bariatric surgery.

General Bariatric Nutritional Recommendations

Balanced nutrition is essential for physical and emotional well-being, both before and after weight loss surgery. No matter where you are in your weight loss efforts, following these bariatric surgery nutrition tips can help improve your weight loss and make eating more enjoyable:

• Stay hydrated by sipping water between meals
• Enjoy small, protein packed meals
• Take physician recommended vitamin and mineral supplements every day
• Eat and drink slowly
• Chew food completely before swallowing
• Add new foods to your diet slowly

Before Surgery

Bariatric surgery requires changes in food choices and lifestyle. It is helpful to begin these changes in the few weeks prior to surgery. Your surgeon will encourage and may require pre-operative weight loss. Our program recommends following a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. We also encourage increasing daily activity by taking a 30 minute walk every day. There are many benefits to losing weight before surgery and they include:

• Faster healing and recovery after surgery
• Shrinking the size of the liver, as enlarged livers can make surgery more difficult
• Reducing the risk for any post-operative complications
• Starting your weight loss journey as soon as you make the commitment to change your health

After Surgery

For the first few days after bariatric surgery, you will follow a clear liquid diet to encourage healing. You will add protein shakes and gradually advance the consistency of the foods you eat over the course of several weeks. We will provide you with a very specific diet to follow after surgery and our staff of dietitians will be available to guide you along your weight loss journey.

Here are a few tips to help you with intake of food and liquids:
• Always take your time with eating foods and drinking liquids.
• Drink slowly – SIP SIP SIP.
• Warm and room temperature liquids are often better tolerated than ice cold fluids in the first few weeks after surgery.
• Avoid drinking through a straw. You will swallow more air which can lead to discomfort, bloating and gas. Eating fast can also cause this.
• Chew foods well and eat slowly as food textures change. Cut food into small pieces and take small bites. Try using a salad fork or toddler fork to help you with taking smaller bites.
• Avoid drinking liquids while eating. Drink 30 minutes before you eat or one hour after you eat.

Preventing Nutrient Deficiency

During bariatric surgery, your gastrointestinal tract is altered to reduce the amount of food you can consume in one sitting. This can also affect your body’s ability to fully absorb protein and nutrients from food. Reinforcing your diet with bariatric supplements can help prevent nutritional deficiency. Consuming a diet rich in protein will prevent malnutrition. Lab work is done routinely to detect any protein or vitamin deficiencies. Our staff can provide you with more information on which supplements are best for you. We also offer bariatric vitamins and a variety of protein products at all of our office locations.

We can schedule an appointment for you with a surgeon or nurse practitioner and help guide you on the road to a healthier new you.