Bariatric Clear Liquids: Phase 1 Post-Op Diet

The phase 1 clear liquids diet after bariatric surgery is the first dietary step following the procedure, typically lasting 1-3 days. This phase is so important for allowing the digestive system to rest and heal. During this time, patients are advised to consume only clear fluids, such as water, clear broth, diluted fruit juices without pulp, weak tea, clear sports drinks, gelatin, and popsicles.

Staying hydrated and consuming some protein daily through shakes and broth is important for supporting healing and preventing dehydration.

The protein drinks that we have listed here Need To Be Diluted more than the product recommendation. Remember, you need to be able to see through the drink!

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Chicken Bouillon Soup
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Cran Grape Fruit Drink
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Ensulate - Fiber
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Fiber Drink - Tropical Fruit
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Grape Drink
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Lemon Razzy Fruit Drink
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Lemonade Fruit Drink
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Peach Mango Fruit Drink
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Pineapple Orange Fruit Drink
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Variety Fruit Drinks
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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 Clear liquidsfull liquids & purees > soft foods > 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 so important for minimizing risks and facilitating recovery. You've made it this far in your bariatric journey so make sure to not ignore this phase of your diet, it only lasts a few days.


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.

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

  • Clear sports drinks - Electrolyte beverages like Gatorade Zero (the sugar free kind) can replace lost salts and minerals. Dilute these with water before drinking.

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

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

  • Clear Protein shakes - Whey protein isolate shakes are usually allowed if extremely diluted. Check with your dietitian. Dilute protein shakes much more than the suggested serving calls for. You want these shakes to be see-through.

  • Clear fruit juices - Apple, white grape, and lemonade juice give carbohydrates and nutrients. But these fruit juices do have a ton of sugar so be sure to Dilute these fruit juices with water!  Sip on the juices, no gulping. Fruit juices should only be a tiny portion of your daily liquids in this phase. Avoid citrus, tomato, and orange juice.

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


Tips for Clear Liquid Phase Success

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

  • Sip liquids slowly, no gulping. 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. Anything with protein powder should be diluted at least twice as much as the shake preparation recommends.

  • 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.


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 regular dilution protein shakes, milk, and thin broth soups.

  • Pureed Foods - Allows soft, pureed foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, high protein soups, and applesauce. Foods that don't need chewing

  • 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.


Clear Protein Fruit-Flavored 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.

lemon razzy 15g protein bariatric fruit drink

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 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.

Incorporating AmBari protein fruit drinks into this first phase of your post-surgery diet can make it easier to get sufficient protein in this recovery period while staying hydrated and avoiding complications.


Conclusion

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.




Writer: Carrie H.


Carrie is a dedicated health and nutrition writer with a strong background in medical and scientific research. She is driven by a passion for helping others lead healthier lives, diving into the latest scientific research. Combining evidence-based knowledge with practical advice, Carrie strives to provide accurate and valuable information on health, nutrition, and wellness. Her ultimate aim is to empower readers, enabling them to make informed choices about their well-being.


Reviewed By: Dr. Kevin Huffman


Dr. Kevin D. Huffman, D.O., is a leading board-certified bariatric physician with extensive expertise in treating obesity. He has trained countless healthcare providers and founded American Bariatric Consultants to develop protocols and training materials sought by medical societies, pharmaceutical companies, patients, and hospitals. Dr. Huffman's impact extends beyond patient care as he prepares physicians for board certification, expanding access to this vital treatment.

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