What should I eat after bariatric surgery?

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Dr. Khoi H. Du, MD
Bariatric Medicine (Obesity Medicine) Specialist

How much food you’ll be able to eat will vary depending on how far away you are from your weight loss surgery. Three months after surgery, for example, a typical patient is able to eat solid food, and should have a plate with about six ounces of food or so. That food should be divided into about three or four ounces of protein and two ounces of vegetable and fiber.

Laura Motosko, MSEd, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Bariatric surgery will affect your diet considerably. It is important to seek psychological, medical and social evaluations prior to having the surgery to be sure that it is the right decision for you. Initially, it is recommended to eat a high protein, low fat, low sugar diet of portions 1/2 to 3/4 cup at a time 4 to 6 times a day. The most frequent complications are bloating, nausea and vomiting. A food record noting your tolerance for specific foods in particular amounts helps to develop a program to avoid these episodes.

Restricted portions and types of food may present to be a challenge for some people post-surgery and cause weight to be regained. Many people gradually introduce larger portions and a wide variety of food into a diet with successful weight loss with bariatric surgery. Remember it’s a lifelong commitment and everyone responds differently so you will need to follow up lifelong with your health care team.

Additional Internet Resources:

  • American Society of Bariatric Surgery: www.asbs.org
  • Weight-control information Network: win.niddk.nih.gov
Patients who have bariatric surgery will need to make drastic changes in their diet. Watch as bariatric surgeon Neil McDevitt, MD, of Trident Medical Center explains more. 

There are food restrictions immediately following bariatric surgery. During this time, your body is still recovering. Your diet will involve high-quality calories, a high-protein diet and nutritional supplements.

Following the post-procedure period, you still have to maintain a healthy diet. However, there is no restriction on what you can eat. It is important to remember that you have had a gastric bypass and you shouldn't eat very much.

A condition called dumping syndrome can occur if you eat too much sugar at once. When a sugary ball enters your intestine, it can cause symptoms like low blood sugar, sweating and a pounding heart beat (palpitations). Avoid concentrated sweets, and also be careful about how much alcohol you drink. Your body breaks down alcohol differently after bariatric surgery. However, as long as you are making healthy choices, you really should be able to eat whatever you like.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.