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What Foods and Drinks Should You Avoid After Bariatric Surgery?


By Dr. Dieter Pohl

A new diet is a huge commitment both physically and emotionally.  After bariatric surgery, you will be required to follow a strict diet since your body will need time to get accustomed to its smaller stomach pouch. Do you know what foods and drinks you should avoid after bariatric surgery? Continue reading to find out.

Intake Guidelines After Surgery

Here are some general intake guidelines to follow after having bariatric surgery:

  • Do NOT use straws with liquids
  • Chew slowly and to a ground consistency
  • Consume protein at every meal
  • Do NOT consume liquids with meals (consume liquids 30 minutes before meals and from 30 minutes to 1 hour after meals, once you eat real food)
  • Liquids – consume ¼ cup every 15 minutes or 1 cup an hour)

Foods to Avoid

Food with Empty Calories

Empty calories come from food you eat that provide little or no nutritional value. Now that you have a smaller stomach following bariatric surgery, foods with empty calories should be avoided at all costs. Many types of snack food like pretzels, crackers, and chips have carbohydrates, but don’t have much nutritional value. It’s important to know if you are someone who can have 1 or 2 pretzels, or if you are someone who can’t stop with just one handful.

Dry Foods

After surgery, the dietary guidelines will most likely require you to consume liquids and solids separately. If a food is too dry, it may be difficult to swallow or after eating it, it may feel stuck in your “food pipe” or esophagus. Try to choose moist foods and chew thoroughly before swallowing.

Bread, Rice, and Pasta

Similar to dry foods, many types of bread, rice, and pasta may be difficult to swallow in the first few weeks and months after surgery. If adding these foods back into your diet, be sure to eat them in small amounts to test to see how you tolerate them. 

Sugary Foods

Sugary foods should be avoided after having bariatric surgery. Eating sugar is extra calories you don’t need and can actually increase hunger in some people. If you have prediabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome or fatty liver, it’s best to avoid eating sugary foods altogether.

High-Fat Foods

Foods that have a high-fat content should be avoided during your recovery from bariatric surgery. These foods may be more difficult to digest. Choose leaner cuts of meat, eat fish, and avoid cream sauces and too much cheese. Many snack foods and desserts are high in fat too. It’s best to avoid these foods. Avoid eating foods that are high in fat such as bacon and sausage during your recovery process.

Beverages to Avoid


Drinking alcohol after bariatric surgery is not recommended. Alcohol dehydrates your body and is high in calories, making it one of the worst drinks for someone who has had bariatric surgery. After bariatric surgery, your body may respond to the alcohol more quickly and you could become drunk more easily. Many patients find themselves having a lower tolerance to alcohol after surgery. Be careful!

Sugary Juice and Soda

Any drink that contains sugar should be avoided after bariatric surgery. Soda and sugary fruit juices are quickly absorbed and will add calories and affect your blood sugar. Carbonated beverages are not recommended in the first 2-3 weeks after surgery but can be introduced later if tolerated. However, beverages should all be 0 calories. Try to get most of your hydration from water and other 0 calorie beverages. 


For help with which foods are best for you after weight loss surgery, please talk to your dietitian or doctor.


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