Clear Liquid Bariatric Diet

Karen Frazier
Two cups of tea

If you plan on having bariatric surgery, there's a high likelihood you will spend at least a small amount of post surgical time on a clear liquid bariatric diet. Most doctors prescribe a clear liquid bariatric diet for their patients in the immediate few days following bariatric surgery. What does it mean if your doctor prescribes a clear liquid diet?

Bariatric Surgery

This type of diet is prescribed following bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery is a term for weight loss surgery. Because it is highly invasive, bariatric surgery is usually only performed on people who are morbidly obese, and whose health is at risk because of the obesity. There are many different types of weight loss surgery - some more invasive than others. Different types of bariatric surgery include gastric bypass (stomach stapling) and lap band surgery.

Clear Liquid Bariatric Diet

A clear liquid bariatric diet is the first phase of the bariatric diet your doctor will prescribe following your weight loss surgery. Usually, this type of diet is prescribed for just a few days before bariatric surgery patients progress into the other phases of the diet, which include, in turn, modified liquids, soft foods and a high protein maintenance diet.

The clear liquid diet will only last for a few days, and almost never longer than a week. Because clear liquid diets are lacking in nutrition, they are never recommended for extended periods of time; however, when used in the immediate period following weight loss surgery, a clear liquid diet can help the body begin to recover from invasive surgical procedures. Clear liquid diets are mild and unlikely to upset a very tender stomach which may be present following weight loss surgery. The diet also helps to prevent dehydration, which can complicate surgical recovery. Clear liquid diets provide minimal nutrients, a little bit of salt and some fluids.

Rules for a Clear Liquid Diet

When eating a clear liquid diet following bariatric surgery, there are a few rules patients must follow.

  1. Ingested only clear liquids.
  2. Liquids must be at or close to room temperature.
  3. Only a small amount of liquids can be ingested at any one time.
  4. A clear liquid diet should be followed only for the small amount of time recommended by your physician. It is not intended as a weight loss diet.

Foods for a Clear Liquid Diet

Clear liquid diets are very limited in their scope. Below are a list of foods you can eat on a clear liquid diet. Remember all foods need to be taken in small amounts at room temperature.

  • Broth, consomme or bullion
  • Herbal tea (no cream or sugar)
  • Water
  • Apple juice or other clear juices
  • Strained citrus juice
  • Jell-o or other gelatins
  • Clear sports drinks
  • Flat, light colored soft drinks (no cola, no carbonation)

Foods to Avoid

With the exception of the foods listed above, you should avoid most foods on a clear liquid diet. Here is a partial list of foods to avoid.

  • Solid foods
  • Soda with any carbonation
  • Cola and other dark colored sodas like root beer
  • Unstrained citrus juice
  • Cream soups or soups with vegetables/pasta, etc.
  • Extremely hot or extremely cold foods
  • Dairy foods like ice cream, milk or pudding
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Any juice containing pulp
  • Tomato soup/tomato or vegetable juice
  • Chowder
  • Pureed foods
  • Baby food
  • Coffee

Follow Doctor's Orders

It is very important during this time immediately following your surgery that you follow your doctor's instructions exactly. Failure to do so may result in slowed recovery, nausea and vomiting or an increased risk of surgical complications. Your doctor will tell you exactly what you can and can't have and the amounts in which you can ingest the liquids available to you on your clear liquid diet. Never continue on the clear liquid diet beyond the time limit your doctor recommends or you are at risk for nutritional deficiencies. Work with your doctor on progressing through the stages of your bariatric diet.A clear liquid diet following bariatric surgery is just the first stage of dieting. It is not intended as a weight loss diet, but rather as a recovery diet to get you through the initial phase of recovery following your surgery. After your first few days of recovery, you can get down to the business of dieting to lose weight. Until then, care for your health with a clear liquid diet as recommended by your doctor so you start your weight loss from the healthiest place possible.

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Clear Liquid Bariatric Diet