Facts a WLS Post Op Needs To Know from a Registered Dietitian 2

10 Facts a WLS Post-Op Needs To Know From a Registered Dietitian

December 26, 2017

Weight loss surgery is a positive step toward improving your health and quality of life. It is important to commit to a healthy lifestyle to ensure the best results from bariatric surgery. From my experience working with bariatric patients, there are things that will make a difference to your health long-term. They are basic but are important facts a WLS post-op needs to know from a Registered Dietitian that has experience in bariatrics.

It is necessary for bariatric patients to focus on the following items to promote success post-surgery.

Facts a WLS Post-Op Needs To Know From a Registered Dietitian

Drink water throughout the day

Drinking enough water and other sugar-free liquids.  It is important that fluid intake is between 48-64 oz a day to prevent dehydration.

Get proper protein

Post-bariatric surgery patients should strive for getting 60-80 gm of high-quality protein to heal faster and preserve muscle mass while losing weight. When portions are small, it is essential to include protein shakes in the diet. Not all protein shakes are equal.  It is necessary to choose protein shakes that include a high-quality protein, such as whey or soy protein isolate as the first ingredient.  This will ensure that the protein is a complete protein and it will be easier to digest.

Make sure your protein is fully blended

Depending on the bariatric facility, the patient will be on a clear liquid diet for the first couple of days post op and will advance to a full liquid/ pureed diet on the third day. This means that foods must be blenderized, without any lumps or chunks.  The patient will remain on this diet for 2 weeks and advance to a soft diet for 1 month.  They will return to regular textured foods at 6 weeks post-op.

Make lifelong healthy food choices

Weight loss surgery patients will need to make lifelong healthy food choices. Bariatric surgery is a tool that will help people lose weight but they still need to choose healthy foods that are low in fat and sugar.  It is recommended that foods should be less than 5 gm fat per serving and less than 10 gm sugar per serving.  Learning to read food labels is important.

Take your vitamins

Because portion sizes are smaller with all bariatric procedures, it is essential that post-bariatric surgery patients take multivitamins and calcium supplements for the rest of their lives. It is especially important for RNY patients due to malabsorption.

Liquids to avoid

Avoidance of any carbonated drinks is also important as they can cause gas and bloating. It is also important to avoid juices and other drinks that contain sugar.  It is also important to avoid caffeine for the first 3 months post-op as it can cause some dehydration.

Track your food consumption

Tracking your food and fluid consumption is also important. It helps to make sure that you are receiving adequate protein and fluids.  It also helps to have an accurate record of the amount of food you are consuming when trying to lose or maintain weight.

Follow up after surgery

Follow up appointments are extremely important following bariatric surgery. Periodic lab work and checkups are essential for the patient.  Periodic visits also help with accountability.  Attendance at support groups also provides interaction with other post-op bariatric patients.

Activity and diet

Exercise in conjunction with healthy eating is also important in losing weight and maintaining weight. Being successful with losing weight and keeping it off requires a balance of activity with diet.

A full lifelong commitment

Patients who have bariatric surgery are making a lifelong commitment to making healthy food choices.


Heidi Keppler is a registered, licensed dietitian at Premier Weight Loss Solutions in Dayton, Ohio. She has over 25 years of experience working in the field of nutrition, 16 years in bariatrics and weight management. She also has experience working in diabetes education and has worked at the US Dept of Agriculture in nutrition label approval.