Post-Surgery Nutrition Guidelines
After bariatric surgery, how you eat is just as important as what you eat. You should aim for at least 64 ounces of carbonation-free and sugar-free beverages per day to stay hydrated. You should also try to consume at least 60 grams of protein, which will promote healing and prevent the loss of lean muscle after surgery. Getting adequate protein can also help prevent hair loss.
It's not always easy to know how much protein is enough. Use the following examples as a guide for daily protein intake:
- 50 grams of protein = 3 oz of meat + one egg + 1 cup skim milk + 2 oz of cheese
- 60 grams of protein = 4 oz of meat + one egg + ½ bottle of Premier Protein shake + 2 oz of cheese
- 70 grams of protein = 4 oz of meat + one egg + 1 cup skim milk mixed with protein powder + 1 oz of cheese
After the initial post-surgery liquid diet phase, you should also incorporate the following guidelines when eating to help ensure safety, comfort, and weight loss:
- Eat every three to four hours, which equates to four to six small meals per day.
- Take 20 – 30 minutes to finish your meals. Take small bites and chew thoroughly.
- Don't drink fluids while eating or for 30 minutes after eating a meal or snack.
The feeling of fullness after eating is going to be different after surgery. You'll get full quicker than you used to, and if you eat beyond feeling satisfied, you'll likely experience pain, nausea, and vomiting.
When you feel gentle tightness or pressure near your breastbone, you're comfortably satisfied and should stop eating. You may also experience the hiccups or a runny nose when your post-surgery body is full.
Post-Surgery Diet Stages
After bariatric surgery, you will need to follow a diet that progresses from liquids to solid foods (textures). The specific progression of textures is prescribed to provide a concentrated source of nutrition that will empty the stomach easily and allow for safe healing.
Typically, the stages are as follows:
- Week 1 post-surgery: full liquid diet and protein shakes (anything that pours like a liquid without chunks)
- Weeks 2 & 3 post-surgery: pureed foods
- Weeks 4 & 5 post-surgery: soft foods
- 6 weeks+ post-surgery: regular texture foods