bariatric diet phase 1 clear liquids

The Bariatric Clear Liquids Phase is the very first dietary step after undergoing bariatric surgery, such as gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy. This phase typically lasts 1-3 days and involves consuming only clear fluids. As you prepare for bariatric surgery and the subsequent bariatric food diet, understanding the clear liquid phase is critical.

Key Details About Bariatric Phase 1 Diet

Duration 1-3 days after surgery
Purpose Allow digestive system to rest and heal
Foods Allowed Clear broth, diluted juice without pulp, popsicles, gelatin, tea, water
Foods to Avoid Solid foods, milk, juice with pulp, alcohol
Sample Menu
  • Breakfast: Flavored water
  • Mid-morning: Chicken broth
  • Lunch: Clear apple juice diluted with water
  • Afternoon: Sugar-free popsicle
  • Dinner: Vegetable or Beef broth
  • Evening: Herbal tea
Serving Tips Sip slowly, use spoon or small cup, avoid straws, stay hydrated
Progression Full liquids & purees, soft, solid foods

Why the Clear Liquids Phase Matters

There are several important reasons why bariatric surgery patients need to adhere to the clear liquids phase:

  • The digestive system is highly sensitive and inflamed after surgery. Clear liquids allow it to rest and heal without having to process solid foods.
  • Introducing solid foods too soon can lead to complications like blockages, pain, vomiting, and damage to the surgical site. Clear liquids prevent this.
  • Patients are at risk of dehydration after surgery. Clear fluids provide hydration without overfilling the stomach pouch.
  • The phase provides some nutrients needed for healing through clear protein drinks, clear broths, and diluted juices.

Following this phase as instructed by your surgeon and dietitian is crucial for minimizing risks and facilitating recovery.

Allowed Clear Liquids

Here are some examples of allowed clear liquids:

  • Water - Stay hydrated with small sips of water throughout the day.

  • Clear broth - Chicken, vegetable, or beef broth provides sodium, protein, and other nutrients.

  • Clear Protein shakes - Whey protein isolate shakes are usually allowed. Check with your dietitian.

  • Clear fruit juices - Apple, white grape, and lemonade juice give carbohydrates and nutrients. Avoid citrus, tomato, and orange juice.

  • Weak tea - Decaffeinated teas like chamomile provide hydration without caffeine.

  • Clear sports drinks - Electrolyte beverages like Gatorade can replace lost salts and minerals.

  • Gelatin - Plain gelatin cups or sugar-free gelatin provide protein.

  • Popsicles - Look for sugar-free varieties to avoid excess sugar.

Beverages should be sipped very slowly at first using a spoon or small cup. No straws allowed!

Phase 1 Clear Protein Fruit Drinks

protein fruit drinks

These phase 1 friendly protein fruit drinks are a popular option during this clear liquid phase. The drinks are free of pulp and particles, going down smooth without discomfort. Flavors like peach, mixed berry, and lemon provide variety. Being packed with protein yet gentle on the healing digestive system makes these fruit protein shakes an ideal choice to include in the clear liquid phase 1 diet after weight loss surgery. Just be sure to sip them slowly and follow your healthcare provider's recommendations on timing and amounts.

Your doctor may recommend diluting these drinks more than the typical amount.

lemon razzy 15g protein bariatric fruit drink

Incorporating AmBari protein fruit drinks into phase 1 can make it easier to get sufficient protein in this recovery period while staying hydrated and avoiding complications.

Diet Progression After Clear Liquids

Once your surgeon clears you to move to the next stage, your diet will slowly progress through different textures:

  • Full Liquids - Adds items like protein shakes, milk, and thin broth soups.

  • Pureed Foods - Allows soft, pureed foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, high protein soups, and applesauce.

  • Soft Foods - Introduces tender, moist, easily chewed foods.

  • Solid Foods - Gradually returns to regular textures with small portions.

Your healthcare team may recommend certain bariatric multivitamins and supplements as you transition to fuller foods.

Tips for Clear Liquid Phase Success

Here are some tips to help you get through the clear liquid phase:

  • Sip liquids slowly. Going too fast can cause pain, nausea, and vomiting.

  • Set reminders to ensure you meet hydration goals each day. Dehydration can cause serious complications.

  • Avoid carbonated beverages. They can introduce gas and air into your pouch.

  • Consume some protein daily through shakes and broth. Protein supports healing.

  • Limit caffeine as it acts as a diuretic and can contribute to dehydration.

  • Stay occupied with activities to prevent focusing too much on hunger.

  • Communicate with your healthcare team about any discomfort, complications, or emotional challenges. They are there to support you.


While challenging, the clear liquid phase is a mandatory first step that sets the stage for lifelong success after bariatric surgery. By diligently following your surgeon's and dietitian's instructions during this recovery phase, you are investing in your long-term health and wellbeing.

Further Reading

For those considering or planning to undergo bariatric surgery, understanding the right diet to follow post-surgery is essential. Check out this comprehensive guide on Bariatric Foods: A Guide to a Healthy Bariatric Diet. It offers valuable insights into the types of foods suitable for each phase of your post-surgery diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I need to follow the clear liquid diet?

The clear liquid phase typically lasts 1-3 days after bariatric surgery. Always follow your surgeon's specific instructions on duration.

What can I drink during this phase?

Water, clear broth, clear protein shakes, diluted juices without pulp, tea, sugar-free gelatin, and popsicles are allowed.

Why can't I use a straw?

Using a straw can potentially introduce too much air into your stomach pouch and cause pain and discomfort.

Author: Carrie H.

Carrie is a passionate health and nutrition writer who transforms complex medical research into accessible, evidence-based content to empower readers to make informed choices about their wellbeing. With a background in science and a dedication to helping others live healthier lives, she provides thoughtful analysis of the latest studies and practical, actionable advice readers can apply to their own lives.

Reviewed By: Dr. Kevin Huffman

Dr. Huffman is an accomplished board-certified bariatric physician with extensive clinical experience and expertise in treating obesity. He has trained countless healthcare providers and founded American Bariatric Consultants to develop highly sought-after protocols, training materials and continuing education used widely by medical societies, hospitals and physicians. Dr. Huffman's impact reaches far beyond direct patient care, as he actively prepares the next generation of physicians to achieve board certification in bariatrics, thereby exponentially expanding access to this vital medical treatment.