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Bariatric Surgery

After your surgery: Eating well after bariatric surgery

What will I be able to eat right after surgery?

You’ll need to eat foods in a fluid (watery) form right after your surgery. Foods in a fluid form are easier on your stomach while it heals and recovers.

Your healthcare team will tell you what you can eat and drink after surgery and how long you need to eat foods in a fluid form. Most people will need to eat this way for about 2 weeks.

It’s hard to get all the nutrients you need from food in a fluid form. You’ll need to take nutritional supplements to make sure you get enough energy and protein after surgery.

Talk to your dietitian about the foods to eat in a liquid form and the type and amount of supplement that’s best for you.

Are there any foods or drinks I need to avoid as my stomach heals?

Some foods and drinks may bother your stomach while it heals. Avoid the following right after your surgery:

  • any solid or semi-solid foods
  • carbonated drinks (drinks with bubbles or fizz)
  • higher-fibre foods
  • caffeine
  • alcohol

How will my eating change after bariatric surgery?

After surgery, you’ll need to make changes to what you eat and how you eat. Your dietitian will talk to you about the changes you need to make and how to make sure you get the right amount of nutrients. This includes:

  • eating a balanced meal of small amounts (portions) of solid food (when you no longer need to eat foods in a liquid form)
  • eating foods higher in protein at each meal and snack
  • eating slowly and chewing your food well
  • avoiding drinks with meals and waiting 30 minutes after eating solid food before you have a drink
  • avoiding carbonated drinks
  • limiting foods and drinks higher in sugar
  • avoiding foods that are hard to chew, such as sticky, gummy, stringy, or tough foods

It takes time to learn how different foods and drinks make you feel after surgery. Some foods may cause discomfort because of their texture (how they feel or the form they’re in).

How certain foods make you feel may change over time. Everyone handles food differently. What bothers you may not bother someone else. Your dietitian will talk to you about which foods are best to eat and which ones to avoid after surgery.

Do I need to take vitamins and minerals after bariatric surgery?

Yes, you’ll need to take vitamins and minerals after having bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery puts you at risk for low levels of vitamins and minerals after surgery because you may:

  • be eating less food
  • not be able to eat certain foods or textures (foods that feel a certain way or have a certain form)
  • not be able to absorb as many vitamins and minerals as your body could before surgery
  • have other health problems or take certain medicines

Vitamins and minerals help your body work properly, so you’ll need to take vitamin and mineral supplements every day for the rest of your life.

Talk to your dietitian about the type and amount of supplements that are best for you. Your needs for vitamin and mineral supplements can change over time. This is why it’s important to see a dietitian to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.

How do I know if my vitamin levels are too low?

The best way to check your vitamin levels is by getting a blood test. You may not have signs or symptoms of a low vitamin level until they’re very low. This is why it’s important to go for blood tests that your healthcare provider recommends and go to all of your healthcare appointments.​

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