Facebook Pixel

WakeMed All Access App

Find Doctors, Wait Times, and Your Way

Download Now

Frequently Asked Questions About Nutrition

Frequently Asked Questions About Nutrition


Taste changes and alterations are not uncommon after surgery. Don’t be surprised if the protein drink you chose before surgery does not taste as good now. No worries, just try some alternatives until you find one that you like.


You may experience bad breath as a result of rapid weight loss and your body’s use of fat as an energy source. To help avoid this, increase your intake of fluid to help flush these byproducts out of your system.


Pain, pressure or discomfort just below the breastbone after drinking or eating is usually due to eating or drinking too much too fast. To help, wait about 30 to 60 minutes, or until the sensation resolves. Sip and chew more slowly, take very small sips and bites and avoid extremes in temperatures. Pain or discomfort that does not resolve is not normal and you should call the clinic.


Carbonated drinks or drinks with fizz contain carbon dioxide gas. This gas expands when it reaches your stomach and can cause pain or discomfort.

Why is caffeine limited after surgery?
Caffeine is a diuretic which means that it will encourage your body to lose water. Since dehydration is the primary complication of any weight loss surgery, we don’t want any additional challenges to staying well hydrated.


Lactose intolerance is your body’s inability to digest the naturally occurring sugar, or lactose found in milk and dairy products. If you don’t tolerate lactose after your surgery, look for a soy-based protein drink or try Lactaid®.


Remember that staying hydrated is your primary concern. Focus on taking non-carbonated, non-caffeinated, and low or no calorie fluids frequently to prevent dehydration. If you are not able to drink a protein supplement, you may want to try fortifying broth or soup with a protein powder or non-fat dry milk powder (two tablespoons of powdered milk provide approximately five grams of protein).

Important: The soup must be smooth liquid consistency and without chunks. For safety, run the soup through a fine mesh strainer to remove any chunks or particles.


At the end of your three weeks on a mostly liquid diet you should be scheduled to follow up with the dietitian to review how to safely and successfully reintroduce soft foods. We recommend that you not start on soft foods until you have received instruction from the dietitian.


Alcohol has a much more pronounced effect after surgery. Most people feel the effects of alcohol after just a few sips. In addition, alcohol provides empty calories that can sabotage your weight loss goal. For this reason, we recommend that patients avoid alcohol for at least one year after surgery. After that alcohol should be used rarely and in small amounts in a safe environment.


Nausea is not uncommon after weight loss surgery. Try to increase your fluid intake. Dehydration is a common cause of nausea. If your nausea persists with at least 64 ounces of fluid each day we recommend that you call your bariatric team to discuss your symptoms.


Vomiting is usually related to eating or drinking too much too quickly, swallowing too big of a bite or not chewing well. Vomiting that is not associated with eating or drinking is not common. If you are experiencing nausea and vomiting on a daily basis we recommend that you call your bariatric team to discuss your symptoms.


How do I find a bariatric surgery support group?
Learn about our support group, or try using a web search to locate a support group that may be more convenient for you.You do not have to register to attend. Attendance is free.

Nutrition and Bariatric Surgery

We have guidelines, recipes, and valuable information to help you make the right nutritional choices both before and after surgery. Check out our nutritional resources