Diet Progression Stages After Bariatric Surgery

Patients who undergo bariatric surgeries such as gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, lap-band & orbera balloon surgery are not able to eat the same foods that they used to. Instead, they’re given a special diet that they must follow for the first month after bariatric surgery. What’s more is that the diet progresses in stages. This diet starts with a liquid fast and then slowly reintroduces foods based on how readily the body is able to accept them.

What is this post-op diet, and what are the stages of this diet? Let’s discuss.

What Is The Post-Op Bariatric Surgery Diet?

The post-op diet is a special diet specifically formulated for bariatric patients. The purpose of the post-op diet is twofold. The first purpose of the post bariatric surgery diet is to slowly reintroduce foods into a diet as soon as it’s safe to do so. Bariatric surgery changes the way your digestive system works and prevents you from eating nearly as much food as before. As a result, you’re not going to be able to eat the same foods as before.

The second purpose of the post-op diet is to kickstart rapid weight loss in bariatric patients. The post-op diet is very restrictive and has very few calories. Because of this, patients end up burning a lot more calories than they take in. This causes weight loss to happen very quickly.

What Are The Stages Of The Bariatric Surgery Diet?

First, we have to note that not every bariatric surgery clinic has patients following this diet exactly this way. These are just guidelines, and some patients may be given different instructions based on their own situation.

Phase 1: Clear Liquids

This phase lasts from 0-3 days after bariatric surgery. Patients are allowed a short list of clear liquids, including water, light broth, decaffeinated warm beverages, and sugar-free electrolyte beverages.

Patients must go on this liquid fast because the body is not easily able to accept new food right after surgery. The surgery has done a number on the digestive system and the body needs time to adapt.

Phase 2: Pureed Foods

This phase lasts from 3 to 14 days after bariatric surgery. Some patients may be on this phase of the diet for up to a month after surgery.

Patients are allowed certain foods so long as they’re pureed in a blender. These foods include blended fruits, blended vegetables, blended rice, pureed potatoes, soft meats, and yogurt.

Protein supplements will be required in order for patients to meet protein goals. It’s recommended that patients prioritize water and protein consumption when choosing the foods they eat.

It’s mandatory that patients invest in a blender or some other method of pureeing their food.

Phase 3: Soft Foods

This phase lasts about another two weeks after the end of the pureed foods phase. Patients are allowed certain foods that can be chewed to a consistency similar to the pureed foods. These foods include oatmeal, rice, ground meats, scrambled eggs, canned fish, potatoes, yams,and any food that can be easily mashed to a pulp with a fork.

Patients are asked to continue making sure they hit their hydration and protein goals.

Phase 4: Reintroduction

At this stage, foods are slowly introduced at a rate determined by the patient. Patients are still asked to eat very small meals, 5-6 times per day.

It’s important that the patient continue to avoid fatty foods, spicy foods, and alcoholic beverages as they’re likely to cause severe stomach upset.

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