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Careful Diet Adherence Improves Success After Bariatric Surgery

By Kim Slater, RN, BSN December 09, 2019 Posted in: Weight Management

Sometimes after surgery, or just in general, someone will follow a clear liquid diet. However, a bariatric clear liquid diet is even more specific than that.

What Makes a Bariatric Clear Liquid Diet Different?

The bariatric clear liquid diet you are required to follow after surgery is essential because it does two important things: aids in your recovery and helps you avoid complications. It’s also very specific in one key way: bariatric clear liquids are sugar-free liquids. That means everything must be sugar-free – including popsicles, Jell-o and fruit juice.

Sugar-Free is Key After Bariatric Surgery

Going sugar-free isn’t just for weight loss. Even small amounts of sugar are difficult for the body to tolerate post-surgery and tend to cause dumping syndrome – the rapid gastric emptying that happens when sugar moves from your stomach into your small bowel too quickly. This is not only uncomfortable for you, it can slow your recovery.

Dietary Options for Bariatric Clear Liquids:

  • Juven protein drink
  • Sugar-free popsicles
  • Sugar-free Jello
  • Sugar-free fruit juice (pulp-free) such as apple, grape or cranberry
  • Chicken broth, clear beef broth, vegetable broth
  • Water
  • Noncarbonated flavored waters
  • Ice chips
  • Decaffeinated tea or coffee

Hydration is Important for Healing After Bariatric Surgery

It is also essential to keep well hydrated after bariatric surgery because dehydration slows healing and can even cause you to be readmitted to the hospital. Staying hydrated can be challenging because you can’t simply down a glass of water when you’re thirsty. Drinking too quickly can lead to sudden vomiting. After surgery, you need to plan to sip water throughout the day.

Post-Surgery Diet and Hydration Tips:

    • Clear liquids are easily digested and leave no undigested residue in your intestinal tract
    • Check to make sure all products served are sugar-free
    • No regular juices
    • At first, you may need to dilute fruit juices to prevent nausea or diarrhea
    • You may take small amounts of sugar-free applesauce with medications if necessary
    • Take small sips constantly
    • Take the whole hour to drink 4 ounces of liquid
    • You should have 48-64 ounces (six to eight 8-ounce cups) of fluids per day
    • Sip fluids and liquid medications
  • Avoid using straws to prevent swallowing extra air

Carefully following the post-surgery diet will help you avoid side effects and complications from surgery. It also helps get you used to consuming the smaller amounts which your stomach can comfortably and safely digest. Gradually, you will be able to advance your diet. Be patient with the process and ask for help if you are having any difficulties. We want to help you progress and succeed!

If you have questions, feel free to reach out to our CHI Health Weight Management Office - (402) 572-3684.

Kim Slater, RN, BSN
Kim Slater, RN, BSN

Kim Slater, RN, BSN is the Supervisor of the Bariatric Surgery Program at CHI Health Immanuel.

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