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Our Nutrition Program

Our Nutrition Program for bariatric surgery patients is composed of a multifaceted team of healthcare professionals that understand there is more to sustained weight loss than just the surgical procedure.  Indeed, long-term weight loss involves behavior modification through lifestyle changes including diet and exercise. Further, support from our nutritionists and more is key to losing weight and keeping it off. It is the support that our program offers that differentiates us from many other weight loss programs. From medically supervised low calorie diets to education and long-term follow-up, bariatric patients develop the tools they need to maintain a new, lower weight and achieve their goals.  Please take time to read our nutrition blog and find healthy recipes posted monthly.

Pre-Op Nutrition Class Schedule

Our in-person Nutrition Classes have been suspended at this time.  Per NYU Langone Health Systems precautions, we wish to avoid large congregations of patients together when remote access is available.

In order to keep the pre-op work up process moving forward, we will be moving to a WebEx program for the pre-op Nutrition classes until further notice.

Click here to view our 2021 pre-surgery WebEx Nutrition Class Schedule

If you would like to be added to the nutrition classes please send an email to and you will be added on the class invite.

Please continually check the website to see when the Support Groups, Pre-op Educational class, and Post-op Nutrition classes will resume.

This is not due to any threat, only due to an abundance of caution.  Thank you for your cooperation.


Do I need to lose weight before surgery?  There is no weight loss requirement before surgery, but do not gain weight because some insurance companies may turn you down. Instead of “dieting” before surgery focus on making changes in your food choices and habits before surgery to be adequately prepared for surgery.

After surgery do I need to change my food choices or can I just eat the same foods in smaller amounts? No! You must eat nutritious food choices at least 90% of the time after surgery with a focus on naturally low calorie food choices (like lean protein foods and vegetables). This is important for a few reasons: You will be eating very few calories after surgery, so make them count.  If you have gastric bypass you will have malabsorption (you absorb less nutrients), making healthy choices very important. When you lose weight, your metabolism will slow down.  Because of this, your food choices need to be low in calories to keep your daily calorie level down to not only lose weight but to maintain the weight loss as well.

Do I need to give up coffee? We recommend you wean off of any beverages that contain caffeine to avoid a withdrawal headache while in the hospital. After surgery, you need to protect your stomach lining to avoid inflammation, irritation or ulcers.  Coffee and tea have acids that can irritate your stomach lining. If you decide to go back to your morning cup, wait at least a few months and make sure you don’t add too many calories (eg creamer) or sugar to your drink.

Before-surgery liquid diet

Why do I need to follow a liquid diet before surgery?  If you have a fatty liver, losing weight will shrink your liver and make surgery safer.  You will also get a jump start on your weight loss.

Can I eat any solid foods or add fruit to my meal replacement drink during the 2 week liquid diet? No, the pre-surgery diet should include: meal replacement drinks, water, broth, sugar free ice pops and sugar free jell-O.

Do I have to drink all of my meal replacement drinks if I feel full?  No, as long as you are losing weight.

What is the difference between meal replacements and protein drinks/shakes?  Meal replacement drinks should be very low sugar (about 1-4 g/serving), high protein (15-30 g/serving) and have 20 or more vitamins and minerals.  Protein drinks should also be low sugar, high protein but do not contain the vitamins and minerals.

After Surgery

I don’t feel like drinking after surgery.  Is that okay? Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do for yourself after surgery. Sip clear fluids and protein drinks all day long even if you don’t “feel like it.”

I’m dying to eat solid foods. Can I start solids right away? No! Follow the diet progression.  Eating solids too soon can cause problems like blockages and vomiting.

I don’t like clear protein drinks (like Isopure).  What else can I drink to get protein right after surgery? You can choose a low-sugar protein powder (eg whey protein isolate) and mix it with water during Stage 1 of the diet progression. Make sure the drink has a water, thin consistency.

What if I can’t drink the recommended 60-80 g of protein right after surgery? It can be difficult to take in a lot of protein during your first few weeks. Do your best and sip drinks throughout the day.

When can I add in vegetables and fruit to my diet after surgery? Stage 3 (week 3 after surgery) of the Diet Progression: vegetables and fruit can be cooked and pureed. Stage 4: vegetables and fruit should be cooked to a soft consistency

When can I add in raw fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds?  Depending on tolerance, some patients can start to slowly add in after 2 months after surgery.  Others may have to wait longer if they have food intolerances.

Which vitamin/mineral supplements should I take after surgery?  Multivitamin/mineral supplement and calcium citrate with vitamin D. We recommend bariatric supplements which you can purchase on-line.  Bariatric websites include:,,, You will need to take a chewable tablet or liquid supplements for 3 months after surgery.

How long will I need to take vitamin supplements? Vitamin and mineral supplements will be a lifelong requirement.

Do you recommend Vitamin Patches?  At this point in time, there is no research available to determine if these supplements are adequately absorbed.

When can I add in starchy carbohydrates like bread, rice, pasta, potatoes?  Since these foods are high in carbohydrates and calories and will fill you quickly, avoid them for several months to one year for maximum weight loss.  If these were “problem/trigger” foods before surgery, do not include them in your diet.

How long do I have to continue drinking protein drinks and meal replacement drinks?Since these drinks are meant to be supplements, continue to drink them in-between meals until you can get enough protein from foods.

How many grams of protein should I eat every day?  > 60 grams for women and > 80 grams for men. 1 oz. of most high protein foods have about 7 grams of protein.

After surgery if I don’t feel hungry is it okay to skip meals?  It’s important to eat regularly throughout the day so you can control your appetite and get enough nutrients.  You should be eating every 3-4 hours each day.  Set your phone alarm to remind yourself when to eat.

If I am lactose intolerant, what protein drinks and powders can I have?  whey protein isolate, soy protein, egg white protein or  pea protein are all lactose free.

I am allergic to dairy and eggs.  What kind of protein drinks and powders can I have? Vegetarian protein options include soy protein, pea protein, hemp protein and rice protein.

I can’t have artificial sweeteners, what are my protein drink options?  Unflavored protein powders have no artificial sweeteners. You can use these powders and make your own protein drink with vegetables and fruit blended in.  If you can have Stevia, there are several options available such as Orgain, Vega One, Svelte and BiPro.

Our Surgical Weight Loss Program and Bariatric Surgery Center's mission is to deliver safe and effective surgical solutions with a compassionate touch. Our bariatric program is operated by NYU Langone Long Island Surgical Associates, P.C., a network of leading physicians and surgeons that provide comprehensive care for patients.

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