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Low Carb diet after Bariatric Surgery

Low Carbohydrate Diet

Following A Low Carbohydrate Diet After Surgery

Written by Michelle Pollock, RD, LD

Modifying your diet is crucial to long-term successful weight loss after surgery. As a bariatric dietitian, I stress the importance of getting adequate protein each and every day. As you transition to making protein the most important element on your plate, carbohydrates should become the last food item eaten at each meal. However, just because a low carbohydrate diet is stressed doesn’t mean
you should quit eating them altogether. Carbs should be limited, not excluded.

Carbs are the main energy source used by the brain and act to conserve protein. When you consume too little carbohydrates, the body will use lean body mass for needed energy supply. Therefore, cutting carbs drastically or eating too many can hinder weight loss.

After surgery, reach for 1-1 ½ carbohydrate choices at each meal, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. In other words, this would be about 15-20 grams of carbs in each meal totaling about 75-120 grams of carbs each day.

Which Foods Contain Carbs?

  • Starchy Vegetables (such as peas, corn, lima beans, winter squash, and potatoes)
  • Oats, Barley, Rice, Grains (including bread, crackers, and pasta)
  • All Fruit and Fruit Juice
  • Dairy Products (milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc)
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, and other plant based proteins)
  • All Sweets and Desserts

1 carb or 15 grams looks like:

  • 1 sandwich flat (top and bottom) whole wheat bun or 1 slice (1 oz.) of
  • 1 small corn tortilla (6 inches across)
  • ½ cup of cooked oatmeal, grits, or sugar-coated cereal
  • ½ cup of corn, peas, mashed potato, or sweet potato6 round-butter type or whole wheat crackers
  • ½ cup refried beans
  • ½ cup canned or frozen fruit or 1 small snack size fresh fruit
  • ½ of a large banana
  • 1 cup of skim or 1 % milk or 6 oz. nonfat yogurt

Always choose carbs that are 100% whole grain and fresh or frozen fruits over juices. Doing so will increase your daily fiber intake.




Faria S, Cardeal M, Faria O, et al. Recommended Levels of Carbohydrate After Bariatric Surgery. Bariatric Times.
2013;10(3):16–21. Accessed September 21, 2016. http://bariatrictimes.com/recommended-levels- of-
carbohydrate-after- bariatric-surgery/