Why Water, Fluids and Protein are Vital After Weight-Loss Surgery - Virtua Articles

Why Water, Fluids and Protein are Vital After Bariatric Surgery

The Importance of Water After Bariatric Surgery

Water is very important for keeping cells, hair and skin hydrated and for eliminating waste.

Follow these guidelines to ensure you stay hydrated after surgery:

  • Drink at least 2 to 3 quarts (64 to 96 ounces) of non-carbonated water/liquid per day.
  • Drink sugar-free beverages (i.e. Crystal Light) or drinks with NO MORE than 5 calories per 8-ounce serving.
  • Do not drink more than a maximum of 8 to 16 ounces of caffeinated beverages per day.
  • If you drink coffee or tea, what you add to it should be sugar-free and fat-free.
  • Stop drinking fluids 15 minutes before a meal.
  • Do not drink fluids with your meal as this quickly flushes food through your stomach.
  • Resume drinking liquids 30 to 60 minutes after your meal.
  • Keep an eye on your urine—if you are properly hydrated, it should be very light.

The Importance of Protein After Bariatric Surgery

Protein should be included in all of your meals after surgery as it provides many important benefits to weight-loss surgery patients, including:

  • Aids in proper wound healing after surgery
  • Helps keep your skin, hair, bones and nails healthy
  • Helps form hormones, enzymes and immune system antibodies that help your body function effectively
  • Helps your body burn fat instead of muscle for healthier weight loss
  • Supports your metabolism so you lose weight quicker
  • Helps curb hunger between meals

Since bariatric surgery reduces the capacity of the stomach to a very small volume, high-protein foods should always be eaten FIRST or you may become too full to eat them.

Liquid Protein Helps You Meet Your Daily Requirements

It’s difficult to consume enough protein from foods alone during the first several months following surgery. Many patients add liquid protein supplements to their diet to meet the daily protein requirements. And, they continue to include them in their ongoing diet as a balanced, convenient protein source.

As you follow the post-surgery nutrition guidelines, keep in mind that plants do not provide “complete” proteins. A complete protein is an essential amino acid that’s found mostly in animal sources. Plant proteins should be used together with animal protein sources to provide you with all of the essential amino acids you need. When choosing animal proteins, choose lower fat, lean meats like skinless chicken or turkey, pork chops or loin, and beef sirloin or round.

Protein Goals After Weight-Loss Surgery

The recommended intake varies depending on your individual needs, your surgery type, and the bariatric diet prescribed by your surgeon or dietitian. However, basic guidelines include an average of 60 to 80 grams a day for women and 70 to 90 grams a day for men. Duodenal switch patients, however, require approximately 100 grams daily.

It’s important to remember that more is not always better. Try not to exceed the range of recommended daily protein, unless instructed to do so by your physician or dietitian. Excess protein intake will result in excess caloric intake, and any excess calories that are not burned are stored as FAT.

Updated January 5, 2017

Nicole Wright, RN, BNC - Virtua’s digestive health clinical navigator

Questions about weight-loss surgery?

Attend one of our FREE Weight-Loss Surgery Information Sessions or email Virtua’s digestive health clinical navigator at VirtuaBariatrics@virtua.org.


1-888-VIRTUA-3

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