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Post-Bariatric Surgery Nutrition: Stage 1

While in the hospital, you will be given clear liquids immediately after surgery and then full liquids the day after surgery. The priority for the first two weeks post-surgery is to remain hydrated. This is even more important than getting enough protein. Typically, your hydration goal will be 40 – 60 ounces of liquids per day.

Whatever liquid you're consuming, be sure to sip slowly and continuously throughout the day. Don't gulp because drinking too much at one time can cause pain and discomfort. The goal is to drink 1 – 2 ounces of liquids every 15 minutes. Your first drink of the day should be a high protein liquid.

Post Surgery Nutrition Stage 1
Graphic Credit: WakeMed Health

IMPORTANT: For the first two to three months after surgery, do not use straws, drink carbonated beverages, or put anything "chunky," such as fruits or nuts, in your liquids or foods. Straws and carbonation can cause air bubbles and may lead to gas or discomfort. And food particles can get stuck in your incision staple lines and cause irritation or infection. For this reason, you should not consume any smoothies or other blended liquids during this time. You also should not drink alcoholic beverages for one year after surgery.

Hydration Liquids

Calorie free and carbonation free

  • Water
  • Chicken, beef, vegetable broth, or bone broth (be mindful of sodium content)
  • Unsweetened herbal tea
  • Unsweetened coffee
  • Crystal Light added to water
  • MiO or Dasani drops added to water
  • Vitamin Water Zero
  • Powerade Zero or Gatorade Zero
  • Propel or other flavored water with no added sweeteners
  • Clear, sugar-free juice (such as Minute Maid Zero)

Protein Liquids

Per serving: 20 – 30 grams protein, less than 5 grams sugar, under 200 calories
Whey protein or soy protein is the first ingredient

  • Pure Protein
  • Premier Protein
  • Atkins Plus
  • Equate High Performance Protein (Walmart Brand)
  • Elevation High Performance Protein (Aldi Brand)
  • Muscle Milk Light
  • Vega
  • Isopure
  • EAS Advantage
  • Body Fortress
  • Jay Robb

Other Liquids

Reduced fat, strained, or diluted to liquid consistency

  • Skim or 1% milk (Try ultra-filtered milk such as Fairlife or HEB Mootopia)
  • Unsweetened soy milk
  • Cream soups (low fat, strained)
  • Low-fat plain yogurt with less than 10 grams sugar (e.g., no fruit chunks or seeds)
  • Sugar-free Jell-O (gelatin and pudding)
  • Sugar-free popsicles
  • Vegetable juices (strained, diluted)
  • Cream of Wheat or Cream of Rice (diluted)

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