The golden rules of bariatric nutrition and lifestyle guidelines

Remember there is no painless way to melt the pounds away. But following these post-surgery "Golden Rules" will help make your weight-loss surgery results successful.

Tips for success after bariatric surgery

  1. Eat three meals a day.
  2. Eat protein and a carbohydrate choice at each meal. Eat your protein first.
  3. Take 30 minutes to eat your meal.
  4. Chew your food to a pureed/mush consistency. This takes 20 to 30 chews.
  5. Eat nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and lean meats.
  6. Do not eat calorie-dense foods such as chips, cookies, crackers, ice cream, fried food, candy, hot dogs, brats, and bologna.
  7. Do not eat non-nutrient-dense foods such as pretzels, rice cakes, and animal crackers.
  8. Drink 8 ounces of skim or soy milk for a snack three times a day. You can eat light yogurt or light Greek yogurt instead of drinking milk.
  9. Do not drink carbonated fluids such as pop, juice, or alcohol. Carbonation can stretch out your pouch. These drinks have extra calories and sugar that is not needed.
  10. Drink 6 or more cups of plain water a day. After you drink 6 cups of water you may drink unsweetened coffee or tea. Do not drink anything with citric acid.
  11. Do not drink fluids 30 minutes before meals, with meals, or for 30 minutes after meals. This does not apply during the full liquid stage after surgery.
  12. Do not use tobacco or nicotine. It slows down healing and can lead to complications.
  13. Exercise 30 minutes or more a day.
  14. Keep detailed food and activity records (bubble sheets). Bring them to your next dietitian appointment.
  15. Do not use straws. Air bubbles form in your new pouch and cause stretching and pain.
  16. The first three months after surgery, do not eat acidic or citrus foods such as tomatoes, lemons, oranges, or limes.
Last reviewed: 
June 2018

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