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The Ultimate Pre-Bariatric Surgery Diet Guidelines You Need to Know

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After one qualifies for bariatric surgery, a liquid diet has to be followed for a few days prior to bariatric surgery. The duration for pre-bariatric surgery diet can range from 3 to 10 days depending on your BMI. For people with a higher BMI, a higher number of days are required on the liquid diet.

This diet will help you shed some weight as well as reduce the size of your liver, which will make it easier to perform the surgery.

A low-calorie diet is the preferred way to successfully shrink the size of the liver.1



Importance of Pre-op Gastric Sleeve and Bypass Diet

This will not only help you shed some weight before surgery but our main goal is really to help shrink your liver. By doing this diet, you will hopefully make that liver a little bit smaller and thus, make the surgery easier and safer for your surgeon to perform.

You will also be required to drink several protein drinks during the pre-op diet each day with a total goal of about 60-80 gm of protein per day in those protein shakes.

Aim of Pre Op Weight Loss Surgery Diet

Beverages and foods that you can consume on this diet include:

  • Low fat or non-fat yogurt
  • Low fat or non-fat milk and
  • Decaf coffee or tea
  • Sugar free or diluted juices including vegetable juice or tomato juice and cream of wheat or oatmeal

The night before surgery, you have to stop eating or drinking anything around midnight.

Pre op Bariatric Diet

Sticking to the Pre-op Bariatric Diet

  • As you get closer to your surgery day, it can be tempting to kind of go into the last supper type of mentality with the foods that you are eating. Maybe you are worried about not being able to eat some of your favorite foods again.
  • Some people kind of start overeating during their meals or may even be tempted to binge eat and while it is all extremely understandable, but it is something that you really want to avoid before surgery.

Liver Shrinking Diet Before Weight Loss Surgery

It is important to do the liver-shrinking pre-op diet mainly because when you are having surgery, your liver literally needs to be picked up and pushed out of the way for the surgeon to do the surgery.

Why, you wonder?

  • It kind of gets out of the way so that they use their instruments.
  • It also helps them give a better line of sight as to what they are doing when they are in there.
  • Additionally, weight loss before surgery helps to shrink your liver. If you overeat in meals or eat a lot of high fat, high-calorie foods make your liver large thereby making the weight loss surgery more difficult for your surgeon.

So once again, it is really important to try to lose some weight. This liquid diet before surgery is not forever. It is just temporary. Liver Shrinking Pre-Bariatric Surgery Diet

Looking For Some Pre-Op Motivation?

Are you struggling with the mental side of things? Then reach out to us. We are here to kind of guide you and keep you motivated and if you are really hungry beforehand, let us know. We will give you some ideas as to foods that will help you through this pre-surgical process.

Try the following tricks to stay on track-

  • Meal planning – This way, you know what you will be having at what time and will help you stay focused.
  • Hydrate – Fluid intake is important to avoid dehydration. Water is calorie free and fills the stomach up as well.
  • Maintain a food journal – Keep a note of what you are consuming as it will help you limit your portions.
  • Keep yourself busy – Stay active and plan your day full of activity. This way, you won’t have time to think about food.

If you want to ask us if you can have something or a better alternative, we will help you with that. So, I hope this helps. Let us know if you have any questions. I think anyone who has had surgery can attest that it is definitely worth it and temporary, and after surgery, no one regrets having gone on the pre-op diet.


  1. J. Van Wissen, N. Bakker et al. “Pre-operative Methods to Reduce Liver Volume in Bariatric Surgery: A Systematic ReviewObesity Surgery (2016) 26: 251-256

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Updated on January 3, 2019

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