Post-Bariatric Procedure Diet: Liquids

People who undergo bariatric surgery invariably change the amount and type of liquids they consumed. That starts even before the actual procedure. Patients need to commit to following their nutritionist/physician’s guidelines to ensure a successful outcome.

During the first month, in some cases for as long as 5-6 weeks, the typical post-bariatric surgery patient will consume only a liquid diet. That starts before the surgery (sometimes a day, occasionally 2-3 days, depending on the procedure) with a clear liquid diet.

Fortunately, “clear liquid” means more than “water”. It can include things like apple juice, grape juice, cranberry juice, as well as water. There are many tasty and nutritious specialized drinks bariatric specialists can recommend, too. Sports drinks are one option but have to be carefully selected from a recommended list. Many contain tons of sugar, which can produce Bariatric Dumping Syndrome, have too many calories, and may upset the proper nutritional balance.

A few days later, patients typically ‘graduate’ from clear liquids to something in between solid and liquid, like a gelatin dessert. Not only is that usually tastier, but it helps produce that full feeling, decreasing cravings for something solid. Such semi-solids dissolve right away, though, so it fits well into the transition between purely clear liquids and solid food.

Some weeks following surgery, the patient evolves from clear liquids to a wide variety. That can, and usually does, incorporate specialized broths and soups, shakes, and more. Patients should avoid ordinary milk shakes because of the high fat and sugar content.

For most patients, after two months purees are next. These near-liquid mixtures range from fruit juice purees to thickened beef broth. The word “puree” refers to the food’s consistency, not to any specific kind of liquid or gel.

Exactly how fast a given person moves through these stages varies with procedure and patient. Lap-Band recipients often recover sooner and suffer less trauma. They can usually resume normal or their “new normal” habits quicker than others. That’s just one reason for the increasing popularity of this particular procedure, for those who are good candidates. On the other hand, patients usually lose less weight overall and less rapidly. So, for that reason and other medical ones รณ this procedure isn’t for everyone.

In every case, though, plain old-fashioned water is still a vital component of the liquid portion of every bariatric patient’s diet. Surprisingly, it does have to be taken with some degree of caution. It influences digestion and should typically not be taken with food for at least several weeks, sometimes longer, after the surgery.

Drinking water creates that full feeling very fast. If that occurs too soon during meal time nutritional deficiencies may result. Also, drinking water with solids ups the odds of vomiting or BDS (or both). After the first three months most patients will evolve to a new normal food and drink diet.

Last, but certainly not least, liquid protein and vitamin drinks are often part of the post-bariatric surgery diet. Nutritionists often recommend a variety of liquid multivitamin supplements, containing B-complex and more. Most come in a variety of fruit flavors.