Immediately after surgery
A patient can start taking low sugar clear liquids 4 hours after surgery. Initially this should be water and ice chips, but any liquid that is not opaque (i.e. can be seen through) and low sugar is allowed. This includes diet iced tea, low calorie sport drinks (e.g. Propel Water), light soups (e.g. broth), sugar free Popsicles, sugar free Jell-O, etc. There is no limit on the volume of clear liquid that is allowed. However, all liquid should be taken slowly. Extremely hot or cold liquid may be less well tolerated than that of medium temperature. Avoid gulping, as this increases the amount of swallowed air (and subsequent belching) which can be uncomfortable.
Post-op Days 1-7
Follow the general guidelines given above. As the first week post-op progresses larger volumes can be consumed. Liquids that are hot or cold may be better tolerated. Read labels and avoid liquids with too many calories.
Post-op Weeks 2-4(Post-op Days 8-28)
If there are no prior problems, the patient may progress to the soft low sugar, low fat diet for weeks 2-4. This does not mean pureed food – a better limit on the consistency of the food is that it should be easily mashed up with a regular fork. Foods that do not pass this test (e.g. chicken or bread) need to be avoided. These meals should also be low in sugar (less than 4-5 grams per meal) and low in fat (less than 6 grams). It is essential to read labels, not only for overall carbohydrate and fat content, but also for specific ingredients. When sugar or high fructose corn syrup is one of the first ingredients, that food product should be avoided. Similarly, saturated and trans-fats should not be consumed. Protein on the other hand should be emphasized with a target of 12-20 grams per meal. Soft foods rich in protein include baked fish, tuna, lean ground beef, and legumes (e.g. beans, lentils).