If you are considering bariatric surgery, you’re probably wondering what you can expect to eat after your procedure. The short answer is: many different things.
There are several diet phases after weight-loss surgery, and different phases include foods of different textures. You’ll slowly introduce new types of foods into your diet as your stomach heals.
Each program may have slightly different recommendations, but in general, these are the steps you’ll follow:
Step 1: Clear liquid diet
You’ll begin consuming a clear liquid diet while you’re still in the hospital — within the first 24 hours after surgery. The primary goal of this diet is to keep you hydrated while also avoiding any possible irritants to your stomach.
Clear liquids allowed on this diet include broth, water, and sugar-free gelatin.
Step 2: Full liquid diet
You’ll move on to a full liquid diet between one and three days after your surgery.
Consuming enough protein is very important after weight loss surgery. Protein helps you build and maintain muscle mass and also supplies your body with energy.
This diet phase includes protein shakes and milk products that you’ll drink throughout each day for about 14 days.
Step 3: Puree diet, also known as soft diet
After the full liquid diet, the introduction of solid foods with a pureed texture — think baby food — lets you slowly rebuild your tolerance of solid foods. You’ll eat a soft diet between weeks three and four after surgery.
During this phase, you’ll continue to prioritize protein, but you’ll be able to get the nutrient from foods including scrambled eggs, hummus, and tuna/chicken salad with low fat mayo.
You’ll still consume protein shakes, but they will be used to supplement your intake from food, instead of providing all of your protein.
Five to six weeks after surgery, you’ll continue to consume protein at each meal, but you’ll be able to challenge yourself by slowly incorporating tougher food textures. These denser foods include soft fruits and vegetables, as well as some grains.
Step 4: Regular diet
About seven weeks after your procedure, you’ll be able to begin your regular, post-surgery diet. An important aspect of this phase is to be mindful of your “new full,” as satiety might come earlier than you expect.
You will still prioritize protein at each of your three daily meals, and can also incorporate raw and fibrous fruits and vegetables.
There are some foods and drinks are likely to cause adverse reactions and should be avoided throughout the entire post-op period. How foods affect you will be different than how they affect others, but carbonated beverages, sugar-sweetened beverages, gum, and spicy foods often are not well tolerated. You also should limit caffeine because it can irritate your stomach.