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Lap Band Liquid Diet

Lap Band Liquid Diet

Lap band surgery is a form of bariatric surgery. This means it is meant to promote weight loss in individuals. Lap band surgery is where an inflatable silicone band is placed around the stomach. Then, the band constricts the room in the stomach. Which helps you feel full at a quicker rate and reduces the amount of food needed to do so.

A tube from the band is attached to a port under your skin. The tube can be used to inflate and further tighten the band and decrease stomach space or deflate and loosen the band to expand stomach space.

The purpose of bariatric surgery is to help an individual achieve life-changing weight loss. But seeing results is not possible without changing the diet. Both the diet before and after surgery is crucial. This is where your lap band liquid diet comes in.

If you are a candidate for lap band surgery but are unsure what to expect, continue reading this guide.

The Basics

You are generally advised to start your liquid diet for lap band surgery 2 weeks before the scheduled date of surgery.

The basic principle behind following a pre-op liquid diet for lap band is to:

  1. Promote weight loss
  2. Reduce liver size
  3. Increase surgical access to the stomach

To achieve these results before the surgical procedure, a healthy diet high in protein is required. For instance, following a high protein diet before surgery is important because protein protects muscle tissue. It also helps keep your body strong, which can lead to a speedier recovery period. Additionally, the diet before lap band surgery will eliminate highly processed food and drink.

Breads and sugary treats are some of the foods that should be eliminated from your diet post-op.

For example, some of the food and drink that should be eliminated include:

●    Bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes

●    Crackers, chips, pretzels, and any other high carbohydrate snack food

●    Cookies, cakes, pies, candy, or any sugar-sweetened food

●    Sweetened drinks and full-strength juices

●    Processed, fast, fried, breaded, and ladened sauce food

Pre-Op Liquid Diet

You may be wondering what types of drinks can be included in your liquid diet. Generally, protein shakes and other high protein beverages will be the main component of your liquid diet before lap band surgery.

Protein shakes are an excellent addition to the bariatric diet.

Protein shake ideas:

●    Carnation Instant Breakfast (no sugar added)

●    Boost Glucose Control

●    Atkins Shake

●    Slim Fast High Protein

●    Slim Fast Low Carb

●    Muscle Milk Light

●    Glucerna Shake

Protein powders:

●    Bariatric Advantage

●    New Direction

●    Challenge Whey

●    Nutremax Plus

Clear Liquids:

●    Water

●    Diluted juices (fruit or veggies)

●    Broth-based soups

●    Gatorade or Generic version

●    Unsweetened tea

●    Crystal Light

●    Jello

●    Popsicles

Depending on your physician, sugar-free beverages may be consumed throughout the day. These beverages include water, diet soda, diet iced tea, crystal light, diet lemonade, diet Snapple, etc.

On the other hand, restrict coffee and other caffeinated beverages to 2 cups per day. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed because they can affect your liver.

Post-Op Liquid Diet

Your liquid diet after lap band surgery is also essential in moving you towards a safe recovery. Therefore, if a proper diet is not followed after lap band surgery, the lap band's slippage can occur. After lap band surgery, each diet will be different and depend on your bariatric surgeon and dietitian's recommendations to clarify. But, here is an idea of what you may be looking at meal wise the first 10 days after surgery, 11 or more days post-surgery, and when you hit the 3-week mark.

Keeping a journal for your bariatric diet is a good way to help you stay on track.

The first 10 days after surgery will be a liquid diet, similar to your diet before surgery. The overall goal is to consume 6-8 cups of fluid per day, including 2 protein shakes. The protein shakes are needed because they will help increase your energy, promote wound healing, and preserve lean muscle mass.

Sample Menu

Breakfast ideas

●    1 cup of protein shake

●    1 cup tea or coffee

Lunch ideas

●    1 cup protein shake, vegetable juice or water, and tomato soup

Dinner ideas

●    1 cup water flavored with Crystal Light

●    1/2 cup protein shake

●    1 cup broth

●    1 diet soda

10 days after your procedure, you can move on to a puree diet. To puree food:

  1. Cut food into small pieces
  2. Then cook (if necessary)
  3. Place the food in a blender or food processor
  4. Add liquid (broth, low-calorie gravy, skim milk, and any juice produced during the cooking process).
  5. Blend/process until smooth
  6. After that, season to taste

The final consistency of your meal should be smooth, like applesauce. After that, the removal of lumps and chunks in food is essential.

Creating a bariatric diet menu is the best way to ensure you stay on track.

Sample Menu

Breakfast ideas

●    2 tbsp - 1/4 cup scrambled eggs/egg substitute

●    2 tbsp - 1/4 cup cream of wheat

Lunch ideas

●    2 tbsp - 1/4 cup mashed, low-fat cottage cheese

●    2 tbsp - 1/4 cup pureed peaches in their juices

Dinner ideas

●    2 tbsp - 1/4 cup pureed, baked skinless chicken breast

●    2 tbsp - 1/4 cup pureed carrots

Then, 3 weeks after your surgical procedure is when you can begin to consume regular food again. This is the time when you can start eating raw fruits and vegetables.

Sample Menu

Breakfast ideas

●    High fiber cereal (Fiber Ones or oatmeal) and milk

●    Whole wheat/low-calorie toast or crackers with sliced cheese or peanut butter

●    Eggs, turkey bacon, and whole wheat/low-calorie toast

●    Low fat cottage cheese and melon

●    Yogurt and fruit

●    Oatmeal, farina, or grits with milk

●    Whole grain waffle with sugar-free syrup

Lunch and dinner ideas

●    2 slices low calorie toasted bread, with thinly sliced turkey, ham, or cheese

●    Rice and beans, hard taco shell

●    Cooked veggies and baked fish

●    Hamburger or veggie burger without the bun

●    Red potatoes (3 ounces) and a protein (fish, ground meat, or ground veal)

Besides being on a liquid diet pre-and post-op, you will also be instructed on taking multivitamins and other supplements to make certain nutrient deficiencies are avoided.

The outlined meal options for you before and after lap band surgery may seem very limited, but they are only as restrictive as they need to be. Advancing to puree or regular food too soon in the process may come with consequences that could adversely affect your health.

However, the guidelines for your lap band liquid diet will be individualized and varied. Please consult with your bariatric physician for any questions you have about food that is not allowed during your healing process.

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Kaelyn Johnson, MPH, RD


Kaelyn Johnson is a Registered Dietitian who earned her Master of Public Health degree from Loma Linda University. She has worked in both a skilled nursing facility and an outpatient dialysis center.

Gintas Antanavicius, MD, FACS, FASMBS

Medical Reviewer

Dr. G is a co-founder of BariBuilder. A US-based expert surgeon with over 10 years of bariatric experience, he regularly publishes research in medical journals like SOARD, Obesity Surgery, etc.