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Diet Before Bariatric Surgery

By Jacqueline Osuna, MD on January 30, 2018

Bariatric surgery is an effecSalmon, vegetables, and other healthy foodstive tool for helping those who struggle with obesity lose weight and keep the weight off. In order to be successful after bariatric surgery, it is important to follow dietary guidelines before surgery and throughout your recovery. During patient consultations, Dr. Jacqueline Osuna provides detailed instructions on how to prepare for bariatric surgery, including which foods to eat and which to avoid. Today, we will focus on the importance of diet before bariatric surgery and the special diet patients should follow. For more information about diet before bariatric surgery, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Osuna.

The Importance of Diet Before Bariatric Surgery

When preparing for bariatric surgery, it is important for patients to commit to dietary changes prior to the procedure, and not just after. Losing weight before surgery is essential for reducing fat around the liver. If the liver is too large, it may be difficult or impossible to access certain anatomy during surgery, which may make it necessary to delay or cancel the procedure. 

Following a preoperative diet can also help reduce fat around the abdomen. If enough weight is lost, a laparoscopic approach may be an option for performing bariatric surgery. A laparoscopic approach allows for a smaller incision and faster recovery from the procedure.

Another reason it is important to commit to dietary changes before surgery is to help patients prepare to change their eating habits after surgery when patients are not physically able to eat in the manner that they have been accustomed to.

Preoperative Bariatric Diet

Some patients may be required to start dieting several weeks or months before they are cleared to undergo bariatric surgery. If so, a personalized diet plan can be created to help patients reach their pre-surgery weight loss goals. Once patients are cleared for surgery, they will need to follow a liquid, or mostly liquid, diet for about 7 to 14 days before the date of their bariatric procedure. The liquid diet should consist of the following foods:

  • Vegetable, chicken, or beef broth
  • Protein shakes or meal replacement shakes
  • Vegetable juice
  • Very thin cream of wheat
  • Sugar-free Jello
  • Sugar-free beverages
  • Non-carbonated beverages
  • No caffeine

Foods to Avoid

It is important to begin making healthy dietary changes as far in advance of bariatric surgery as possible and not just two weeks before the procedure. However, as surgery approaches, patients should work to reduce or eliminate the following types of foods from their diet:

  • Foods high in carbohydrates, including pasta, potatoes, sugary foods, and bread
  • Foods high in saturated fats, such as fried foods, whole milk products, and red meat
  • Sugary sodas, juices, and coffee drinks

Other Tips to Help Maintain a Healthy Diet Before Bariatric Surgery

Along with sticking to a preoperative bariatric diet and eliminating unhealthy foods, these tips can help patients through their preoperative diet:

  • Drink beverages and liquids slowly
  • Don't drink beverages with meals
  • Avoid binge eating
  • Take a daily multivitamin
  • Practice portion control

Schedule a Consultation

For more information about bariatric surgery, or to receive your personalized diet plan, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Osuna.

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