By David B. Thomas, M.D.
August 30, 2019
People have many questions about what their life will be like after bariatric surgery. One of the most common questions that we get is, “What will my diet be like after surgery?”
Well, the short answer is that it will consist of many different foods. The longer answer is, well, longer…
We typically place patients on a special diet for the 2 weeks leading up to surgery. This generally consists of a protein shake for breakfast and lunch and a small, reasonable meal for dinner that has a lean meat (baked chicken or fish) and 2 vegetables. This is typically referred to as the pre-operative diet. Different programs will do different pre-operative diets, but the idea is this: You lose some weight up front before surgery, you get familiar with the different protein shakes available, and you shrink the size of your liver some, which makes surgery a bit easier and safer.
0-2 weeks after surgery
Patients are on a liquid diet for the first 2 weeks after surgery. This consists of water, protein shakes, and other low sugar liquids.
2-4 weeks after surgery
Patients are on a soft diet for the 2-4 week period after surgery. This consists of things like scrambled eggs, refried beans, and Greek yogurt.
4 weeks and beyond
As you heal from surgery, your diet will naturally advance as well. The long term vision for your eating habits will be naturally VERY different from before. I always advise my patients to be ready for the big change. Eating is a very social interaction for people, and you will be eating smaller meals than the rest of your friends and family. This may take some adjustment. Your long term diet will be focused on high protein foods with a general avoidance of carbohydrates and sugars. Each person finds they prefer different foods, and tastes can change after surgery! Many patients are surprised to find they no longer prefer a certain food…
BUT, the goal for you is to be able to enjoy eating and all different foods. Even the occasional indulgence!