early post op and clear liquids - phase one

I am always so excited to hear from those of you who have your surgery date...I can remember the excitement and I rejoice along with you.

Weight loss surgery is a life-changing experience and you are on your way to a brand new life.

Until now you have been considering all the facts about the surgery itself...you've been busy making lots of decisions. You have probably been dreaming about how much weight you will lose, how you will look after weight loss, and what you will be able to do after improved health.

But now it's time to switch our focus to taking care of our bodies after surgery, getting familiar with the eating plan and allowing our mindset to become aligned with compliance. So let's clear our mind of all the decisions of the last few months and let's get ready to begin our new life. We will start by reviewing the first phase, clear liquids.

The first stage after weight loss surgery is a clear liquid phase. You will only be on this for a few days. There are two phases to this stage, first clear liquids, then, you will progress to full liquids. After these two phases you will progress through several more such as soft and regular meal stages during your weight loss journey to success.


Compliance is the first key to success. Different surgeons may give their patients different plans, this doesn’t mean it’s wrong, just different. Well-meaning friends, relatives, or yourself, for that matter, may have a different plan, so who should you listen to? The answer is: your surgeon. Support from friends and family is important, but make sure the advice you are given lines up with your surgeon.


There are very specific reasons for eating plans after surgery. Understanding “why” we have rules makes it much easier to be compliant. These time frames, as well as liquids and foods, are given for your safety and are based on the type of surgery you had as well as your unique health situation. These food phases are given to help you safely heal after surgery, lose weight in a balanced and timely manner, and keep the weight off for a lifetime. 


Here are a few things that may help. Below is a list of clear liquids and information that will be helpful for those who are on the clear liquid phase, the first few days after surgery.


What is a clear liquid?

Any thing you can see thru, and NOT carbonated. This plan is intended to maintain vital body fluids, salts, and minerals and will give you energy until you can resume a normal diet. Liquids pass through the stomach quickly and allow your stomach to heal, and it will help you lose weight!


No solid foods, no noodles in soup, no oranges or pulp, no grapefruit or no milk products.



Sip, sip, sip, sip, sip, sip, sip…and sip! Got it? Liquids will empty from the pouch quickly and won’t stretch your new stomach…unless you gulp. Think of your tummy as a funnel. The liquid you put in needs time to go down, or it will overfill. So sip, sip, sip.


Do not use a straw because it can trap air in the stomach pouch and can be very uncomfortable.


Warm drinks are often soothing as the heat relaxes the muscles and tissues in the pouch. “Ice cold' sometimes 'clenches' the pouch and restricts the flow of liquids. Some of us find that drinking water irritates the pouch and is difficult after our bariatric procedure. Some find it helpful to add a little something, such as a packet of sugar substitute or a small amount of low sugar juice, tea, or drink mix.



Your tummy is trying to heal and it is common to experience nausea during the first few weeks. Your tummy has been sutured and is probably not happy about it’s newly tailored appearance, and it wants to rebel! Although nausea can come from anesthesia during surgery after the first day or so, most nausea comes from overfilling your tummy with too much liquid or food.


It is important to get in liquids so you won’t become dehydrated, which may lead to more nausea, so take it slow. Some herbal tea can help with nausea, such as Lemon, Peppermint, and Ginger.

 No ginger ale or “fizzy” stuff, please. Soft drinks can actually cause dehydration, stretch your pouch or disrupt your staples.


Liquids are to be taken in small amounts throughout the day.

Clear liquid choices:

Begin with:

Diluted low sugar pulp free juices- diluted 50 /50 (this is what you will be given while in the hospital)

Portion size: 2 Tablespoons at a time.

Then you will move to broths and gelatins, before leaving the hospital. This is the diet you will stay on for 2 to 3 days.


Portion size: 3 Tablespoons broth and 3 Tablespoons gelatin, or ½ cup per meal

  • Minute Maid light, Tropicana Light, Arizona no carb green tea cranapple, peach, blueberry.
  • Sugar Free Jell-O
  • Sugar Free or no sugar added fruit juice bars and popsicles
  • Fat free chicken or beef broth, consomme or bullion
  • Decaffeinated teas herbal teas and coffees ( no cream or sugar) 
  • Chicken, beef, or ham bouillon, gelatin
  • Sugar Free drinks like Crystal Light, or flavored waters like Fruit O2, sugar free Kool-Aid
  • Non-carbonated bottled water or tap water
  • Diluted apple juice 50/50
  • Clear sports drinks/ low sugar

Protein Intake while on clear liquid phase

Protein during the first few days will be extremely low. You can increase it by adding clear liquid protein products.

  • Isopure Protein Zero carb (clear)
  • Myoplex Carb Sense Fruit flavored drink, with 22gm protein (clear)

Use up to 10 ounces (1 bottle of Myoplex Carb Sense drink, or ½ bottle of Isopure) per day.

Mix each ½ ounce Myoplex or Isopure with ½ oz no cal flavored drink or water.


Measurement helps

2TB = 1/8 cup = 1 fl oz

4 TB = ¼ cup = 2 fl oz

8 TB = ½ cup = 4 fl oz


16 TB = 1 cup = 8 fl oz


Sample Menu


2 TB diluted apple juice

3 TB chicken broth

3 TB diet gelatin



2 TB diluted cranberry juice

3 TB beef broth

3 TB diet gelatin



2 TB grape juice

3 TB chicken broth

3 TB diet gelatin

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 meats, 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

The above guidelines are in compliance with dietitian Heidi Kaufman, MS, RD, LDN, and are given for purposes of support for Gastric Bypass and Lap-Band patients of Dr. David R. Miles, MD, FACS, ASBS,  Miles Surgical (BSCOE) Wilmington, NC.

Posted on Monday, November 17, 2008 at 01:55PM by Registered CommenterJulia Holloman | Comments1 Comment