Jan 09

The Liquid Diet Before Weight-Loss Surgery

Ok, you’re finishing up your six months of prep for weight-loss-surgery. Don’t blow your progress now by failing to adhere to your medical team’s orders to follow an all-liquid, pre-weight-loss-surgery diet.

Discuss your liquid diet carefully with your surgeon and nutritionist. It is usually recommended for seven to 14 days before surgery, and includes two types of liquids, full and clear liquids.

The liquid diet promotes weight loss but, most important, helps reduce liver size making the surgery easier to perform and thus more successful. If your liver is too large, performing surgery may be unsafe. Your surgery could be cancelled and rescheduled.

Going all liquid means paying attention to proper nutrition. Your doctor/nutritionist will tell you to drink several protein shakes daily to meet a goal of 60- to 80-grams of protein per day. Additionally, most patients also are directed to take supplements prior to surgery.

full liquid diet before weight-loss surgery

Full liquids and clear liquids are different. Make sure you know what you can and can not drink.

A full liquid diet is made up only of fluids and foods that are normally liquid and foods that turn to liquid when they are at room temperature, like ice cream. It also includes strained creamy soups, tea, juice, Jell-O, milkshakes, pudding, and popsicles.

A clear liquid diet consists of clear liquids — such as water, broth and plain gelatin — that are easily digested and leave no undigested residue in your intestinal tract.

If you’re wondering what liquids to eat, here are some generally approved liquids for each phase of the pre-op diet.

Start the Pre-Weight-Loss-Surgery Diet with Full Liquids

  • Hot Cereals (i.e. oatmeal, grits, cream of wheat)
  • Creamed Soups
  • Yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Milk
  • Custard
  • Sherbet
  • Protein Shakes

Finish the Pre-Weight-Loss-Surgery Diet with Clear Liquids

  • Water
  • Diluted Juices (fruit or vegetable)
  • Broth-Based Soups
  • Gatorade or Generic Equivalent
  • Flavored water
  • Unsweetened Tea or Coffee (my physician eliminated all forms of caffeine)
  • Crystal Light
  • Sugar-Free Beverages
  • Sugar-Free Jello
  • Sugar-Free Popsicles

A daily meal plan for the patient’s pre-op liquid diet may look like this:

Pre-operative sample meal plan table.


Recommendations Page from the University of Florida Health: https://ufhealth.org/sites/default/files/media/Weight-loss-center/Liquid_Diet_Before_Bariatric_Surgery.pdf




About the author

Laurie Lee Dovey

LLD is a writer, photographer, marketing and media consultant, hunter, angler, RVer, sports nut, poker player, and wife.

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