Answers to Your Questions About a Bariatric Surgery Diet

Some of the most common questions Dr. Luis Benavente receives as a bariatric surgeon here at General and Vascular Surgery (GVS) involve the bariatric surgery diet. Many people are curious as to whether they need to eat certain foods not only after weight-loss surgery—but before as well (the answer is yes to both!).

Adopting a healthy diet—and overall lifestyle—before bariatric surgery helps establish important habits and routines that are essential for optimal recovery and lasting results.

What is a Pre-Bariatric Surgery Diet (and Why is it Necessary?)

Based on your particular circumstances and medical needs, a bariatric surgeon may prescribe:

  • 1200 calorie, pre-bariatric surgery diet or “low-calorie diet (LCD)”
  • 800 calorie “very low-calorie diet (VLCD)”

Research demonstrates that following a pre-bariatric LCD or VLCD diet may also reduce the risk of complications associated with bariatric weight loss

For example, losing weight and decreasing your blood sugar (blood glucose) prior to surgery may lower your risk for surgery-related problems

Not all bariatric surgeons recommend a pre-bariatric diet. A consultation will determine which option (if any) is best.

When Should You Begin Your Pre-Bariatric Diet?

Ultimately, a consultation with your bariatric surgeon will determine how much in advance you should begin your pre-bariatric diet. Some physicians may recommend participating in a three to six-month diet before weight loss surgery

Is a Pre-Bariatric Diet Similar to a Post-Bariatric Diet?

Your pre-bariatric diet may look similar to your post-bariatric surgery diet, depending on whether you are on an LCD or VLCD plan. In addition to low-calorie foods and drinks, you will be asked to abstain from caffeine a month before surgery. At GVS, all bariatric patients are provided with a pre-surgery meal plan.

Beginning Stages to Long-Term Diet After Gastric Bypass Surgery

There are four stages of the post-procedure bariatric surgery diet, beginning with only liquids. When cleared by your surgeon, the next stage involves high-protein pureed and mashed foods (scrambled eggs, oatmeal, mashed/pureed fruits and veggies).

Solid foods are reintroduced into your diet, focussing on high-protein, nutrient-dense foods. By phase four, you can eat:

  • Lean protein
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Low-fat starches
  • Whole grains
  • Fruit and vegetables

You will be advised to continue eating smaller portions, limiting calories and carbohydrates to healthy amounts. Your surgeon will guide you on each phase of the bariatric diet, catering each stage to your personal needs. Typically each phase lasts a few weeks.

If you would like to know more about the bariatric surgery diet before and after surgery, set up a consultation with Dr. Benavente now. Or, call us any time with questions at 574-236-1888.

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