Post Bariatric Surgery information can sometimes be overwhelming! Let’s break it down into four simple topics: frequency of meals, protein requirements, dumping syndrome and the importance of sleep.

Trainee dietitian Claire, from @nutritionfoodition on Instagram tells us more about just why fuelling your body with protein is so important for weight loss.


A common symptom following bariatric surgery is feeling early satiety, or full during a meal. It is recommended to consume small frequent meals, aiming for three-six meals each day every few hours, focusing on chewing thoroughly and eating slowly1. The importance of having regular meals throughout the day minimises the risk of feeling extremely hungry at night, leading to undesirable food choices at the end of the day. Forming a regular eating pattern during the day can help to prevent skipping meals, as well as controlling blood glucose levels, hunger levels and meeting your nutritional targets1.


Protein intake plays a vital role in muscle health, and bariatric patients have a higher protein requirement than the general population due to a number of factors. In order to prevent lean body mass loss, which in common during the post-operative period, protein requirements are increased in the diet1-2. During a meal, to allow for maximum nutrition and satiation in each bite, always include protein in your meals and try to prioritise eating the protein first before filling up on fibre-filled carbohydrates (which also make you feel full). Fortifying your meals with a protein source like lean meats, low-fat dairy sources (cream, cheese, skim milk), and continue using a high protein Formulite shakes, can support healing and minimise loss of lean muscle mass2.


Dumping syndrome is a complex gastrointestinal and vasomotor response to the presence of large quantities of high sugar foods and liquids in the small intestine3. Often a common symptom following bariatric surgery, dumping syndrome can lead to the muscle at the bottom of the stomach to have less control over the stomach’s contents, if fluids are consumed with meals. This results in food emptying too quickly from the stomach causing symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and faintness.

Follow these 8 tips to prevent triggering dumping syndrome when enjoying meals:

  1. Limit fluids during meals. Water should be the first choice of beverage, so try to stick to ½ cup during meals. Try to wait at least 30 minutes after a meal to start fluids and avoid overfilling the stomach and triggering dumping syndrome4.
  2. Avoid carbonated and sugary beverages. Gas bubbles from the carbonated drinks may stretch the stomach4and high-sugar liquids can draw fluid and water into the
  3. Limit consuming high sugar beverages and foods (e.g. fruit juices, sweet tea, soft drinks, cakes etc.).
  4. Try to have smaller, more frequent meals across the day rather than large meals that may cause discomfort from over-eating.
  5. Eat slowly and chew foods thoroughly
  6. Avoid eating foods at extreme temperatures
  7. Try to avoid lying down for at least 30 minutes after eating to avoid reflux.
  8. Include a source of protein at each meal and consume it first


There is emerging information surrounding the impact of sleep duration and quality on an individual’s food choice and dietary patterns5. Research has shown under 7 hours of sleep per night can alter your hunger hormones, making you crave high fat high sugar foods, increases appetite and reduces the feeling of satiety during the day5. To improve your sleep hygiene and quality, follow a pre-bed routine that allows you to destress and relax before bed. This may include turning off all devices 30 minutes before sleep, having a warm bath or shower, or sipping on a warm tea. Most importantly, try to follow a consistent sleep schedule with similar sleep and wake up times each night to reset your body clock cycle.


There is some evidence that suggests potential benefits for various sleep-promoting foods. By incorporating sleep-promoting foods such as milk products, fatty fish like salmon and vegetable oils, and fruits and vegetables, may provide positive effects to improve sleep quality5. Other dietary recommendations to improve sleep quality include increasing fruit and vegetable intake, choosing whole grains and favouring vegetable oils low in saturated fat (e.g. olive oil)5. Foods that may decrease your sleep quality include caffeine, and consuming large and spicy meals right before bed. Try to avoid caffeine sources like green tea, energy drinks, black and green tea after 2pm. Time your last meal 1-2 hours before bed, to allow your body to digest your meal and relax.



  1. Handzlik-Orlik G, Holecki M, Orlik B, Wylezol M, Dulawa J. Nutrition management of the post-bariatric surgery patient. Nutr Clin Pract. 2014 Dec 29;30(3):383-392.
  2. Leidy H, et al. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;101(6):1320S-1329S.
  3. Mahan K, Raymond J. Krause’s Food and the Nutrition Care Process. 14th ed. Missouri: Elsevier; 2017.
  4. Richardson WS, Plaisance AM, Periou L, Buquoi J, Tillery D. Long-term management of patients after weight loss surgery. Ochsner J.2019;9(3):154-159.
  5. St-Onge M, Mikic A, Pietrolungo CE. Effects of diet on sleep quality. Adv Nutr. 2016 Sep;7(5):938-949.


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