General Nutrition

Healthy eating habits and a proper approach to nutrition are very important to losing weight. Establishing a healthy lifestyle before bariatric surgery in crucial, and you should begin to follow these guidelines immediately:

  • Drink only calorie-free beverages, and reduce or avoid drinking soda – even diet soda – of any kind
  • Cut back on fried food, food with added fats and high-fat fast food
  • Pay attention to your eating habits and your behavior toward food
  • Eat slowly and take the time to chew food completely before swallowing
  • Some people eat when they are bored. If this is true of you, find other ways to occupy your time

GroceriesBefore bariatric surgery you will attend a class to learn more about the procedure and what impact it will have on your health and lifestyle. You will receive a copy of the Temple Bariatric Informational Handbook, which includes diet information, descriptions of weight loss surgery, information about your hospital stay and what to expect when you go home.

The Temple dietitian will meet with you for a nutritional assessment and to provide diet instruction specific to your individual needs. This will include a review of your weight, diet history and eating patterns. Your body measurements and weight will be recorded. Bring any supplements with you that you are currently taking. Please read the provided handbook before the meeting, and write down any questions you have, because this will be ideal time to ask them.

The time between the initial consultation and the surgery itself usually ranges from one month to several months. You will undergo a thorough evaluation during this waiting period to ensure that bariatric surgery is the right choice for you. Although we always try to expedite the evaluation stage, the process varies depending on the individual and it is critical that we ensure maximum patient safety. During the evaluation process, you will need to work with your insurance company to find out what documents and paperwork they need. Every insurance company has different requirements, so be sure to find out what material your company needs and allow plenty of time for processing.

Nutrition after Surgery

The Temple dietitian will review the Temple Bariatric Informational Handbook with you during your hospital stay, so be sure to bring the handbook with you to the hospital.

Immediately following surgery you will have to adhere to an all-liquid diet, and will need to avoid any liquids – such as soda – containing sugar, carbonation or caffeine. Over time, you will add protein-based liquids to your diet, then pureed foods and eventually foods with texture. The amount of time this progression takes will vary depending on the individual, but most patients begin eating small amounts of soft, non-pureed foods by the fourth or fifth week after surgery. Because weight loss surgery restricts the amount of food you can eat at one time, it is crucial to eat highly nutritious foods following surgery in order to heal properly and maintain your health.

Because you will have a small stomach pouch in place, you should limit yourself to about four ounces – roughly half a cup – of food at regular intervals of three times per day. Begin with high-protein foods, followed by vegetables and fruits. Do not drink liquids with your meals, as this can cause the stomach pouch to empty too quickly and will make you feel hungry too soon. When consuming liquids, drink only water or non-calorie liquids, and avoid carbonated drinks. If you snack between meals, eat only foods that are low in calories.

After surgery, certain foods are very hard to tolerate and may make you sick. As a result, you SHOULD NOT eat the following foods:

  • Foods high in sugar, such as cake, ice cream, candy or syrup
  • Foods high in fat, such as fried foods, sausages, cream soups and sauces, or chips
  • Foods that are high in starch, such as rice, pasta or doughy breads
  • Foods that are fibrous, such as nuts, corn or popcorn

Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

After bariatric surgery, you will need to supplement your diet with sufficient protein, vitamins and minerals. Requirements are different for each patient and should be tailored to meet your individual needs. The Temple dietician will determine which supplements are right for you and will provide you with a list of products from which to choose. You will need to have your blood checked several times during the first year, and once yearly thereafter, to ensure that you are absorbing nutrients adequately.

Rapid Gastric Emptying, or Dumping Syndrome

Dumping syndrome is a condition in which food passes too quickly from the stomach pouch into the small intestine. Symptoms of dumping syndrome include cramping, sweating, dizziness, weakness, headache, nausea and flushed appearance. Dumping syndrome can be caused by eating too much at one meal, drinking fluids with meals, eating sweets, and eating fried, greasy or fatty foods. Following the dietary guidelines outlined above and in the Temple Bariatric Informational Handbook is the best way to avoid dumping syndrome.

Bariatric surgery requires a lifelong commitment to your diet and eating habits. In order to maintain your weight loss, you will have to follow established guidelines, adhere to a program of vitamin and mineral supplements, and make changes in your lifestyle. The Temple weight loss team will work with you every step of the way to help ensure a successful procedure and improved health for the future.

To register for a free informational seminar or to make an appointment for a consultation with a Temple bariatric surgeon, click here or call 1-800-Temple-Med (1-800-836-7536).

This page is intended to provide tips and guidelines only, and should not be taken as a definitive medical or dietary plan for patients of bariatric surgery. For detailed information about diet and nutrition specific to your needs, consult your doctor or dietitian.