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A healthy diet is an important part of life after surgery. A healthy diet will help prevent malnutrition after surgery and promote good weight loss and weight maintenance. It is our goal at Missouri Bariatric Services to provide you with the best tools and nutrition education to help support your new lifestyle. On this page you can read about lifestyle changes needed to be successful after weight loss surgery, tips to help you get started with these changes, and have access to educational materials provided in our clinic.

Lifestyle changes after weight loss surgery

Many lifestyle changes must be made after weight loss surgery.

  • Fluids must be consumed between meals, but not with meals. After surgery, stop drinking 30 minutes before a meal and wait at least 30 minutes after a meal to start drinking again. Drinking fluid while eating or immediately after eating will cause the food to leave your pouch making it easier to eat more food at one time or creating the desire to snack later. Either way, it can effect your weight loss or weight maintenance because you eat more food.
  • You need to drink at least 64 ounces of low-calorie, sugar-free fluid everyday to stay hydrated..
  • Take small bites and chew food at least 10 to 20 times (or more) before swallowing. Food should be the consistency of toothpaste or applesauce before you swallow. This enables you to eat food more comfortable
  • Give up or reduce caffeine intake for life.
    • Switch to decaffeinated coffee and/or tea.
    • No more than 1 to 2 cups of regular coffee and/or tea per day.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages for at least one year after surgery. Thereafter, alcohol must be consumed in moderation. Alcohol can cause stomach ulcers, drastically increase your calorie intake, and cause alcohol poisoning if drank in excess.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages for life (including, but not limited to, regular soda, diet soda, and beer). Carbonated beverages place air into the pouch which can cause gas, bloating, and discomfort.
  • You may want to avoid using a straw for a couple of months or until you have trained yourself to sip fluids instead of gulp. Straws cause us to drink faster than normal and can also cause air to enter the pouch, which leads to gas, bloating, and discomfort.
  • Eat three meals every day.
    • Do not snack or graze between meals.
    • Do not skip meals.
  • Take the recommended bariatric specific vitamin and mineral supplements for life. See our recommendations in the "Educational Material."

How to eat your meals

Learn to eat your meals in this order:

  1. Eat lean protein first. The best sources of protein are: fish, seafood, poultry, beef, pork, wild game, eggs, cottage cheese, tofu (other vegetarian meat substitute products) and protein supplements.
  2. Eat non-starchy vegetables second (such as leafy greens, green beans, broccoli, carrots, etc.)
  3. Eat fruit third.
  4. Eat whole grains OR starchy vegetables last.

Daily protein goals

You must eat adequate protein every day after surgery to avoid protein malnutrition. You daily goals should be:

  • Women need a minimum of 65 grams of protein every day
  • Men need a minimum of 80 grams of protein every day
  • The best sources of protein are: fish, seafood, poultry, beef, pork, wild game, eggs, cottage cheese, and protein supplements.
  • Some other sources of protein can be: beans, lentils, cheese, and nuts, but the primary source of protein in your diet should come from the previous list of proteins.

Tips to prepare for surgery

  • Practice chewing your food 10 to 20 times before swallowing.
  • Drink fluid between meals, but not with meals.
  • Carry a beverage container (like a water bottle) with you at all times.
  • Start eating more vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.
  • Start to identify "trigger" foods. These are foods that you eat when stressed, sad, bored, lonely, etc. Sometimes these are sweet, salty, or high-fat foods.
  • Keep a food dairy.
  • Practice eating 3 meals each day.
  • Work to reduce your caffeine intake from coffee, tea, and soda.
  • If you do not do so already, start taking a multivitamin plus iron and a calcium plus vitamin D supplement every day.
  • Try protein supplements. A complete list of recommended supplements can be found in the "Educational Material" section.
  • Investigate bariatric specific vitamin and mineral supplements to see which is right for you. These supplements are discussed in-depth in preoperative education classes and it is best to wait and purchase them until after your class. Just be sure to purchase them before your surgery.

Educational Materials


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