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  • Edy McClure

Navigating Gastric Bypass Surgery

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

Learn about your weight loss options before gastric bypass surgery, as well as your nutritional goals pre and post-surgery.


Gastric bypass surgery is a classification of surgical procedures to reduce the volume of food one can consume in order to lose weight. It is a serious procedure that has risks associated with any surgery plus a caloric ally-restricted meal plan. Prior to the surgery, the candidate must meet with a Registered Dietitian (RD), a mental health professional (psychologist), and be cleared for surgery by a physician. Learn more about the process and what you can expect with this procedure.

  • What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?

  • What are the nutritional goals prior to surgery?

  • What are my Calorie, Protein and Fluid Needs Now?


What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Gastric bypass is a surgery that decreases the size of the stomach by a variety of procedures. The smaller stomach is then reconnected to the small intestine. This surgery can help people who are obese or morbidly obese lose vast amounts of weight in a shorter period of time without feeling uncomfortable due to lack of satiety. After the surgery, the amount of food or drink a person is able to ingest is reduced from approximately one quart to one ounce. Eventually, the new stomach can hold 4-8 ounces per meal. The gastric sphincter is also reduced and therefore, the gastric emptying time is slower. The sphincter allows food to go into the small intestine.


Gastric bypass surgery should be a last resort for weight loss. Even a person, who undergoes this surgery, can gain the weight back due to a lack of behavioral changes.



What are the Nutritional Goals Prior to Surgery?

The nutritional goals prior to gastric bypass surgery include learning about:

  • reduced calorie meal plans based on an adjusted body weight

  • reduced fat meal plans in preparation for the surgery

  • elimination of simple sugars from this meal plan (e.g. cakes, cookies, pies, candy, sugared beverages, etc.)

  • individual fluid needs in order to prevent dehydration

  • what vitamin supplements to take in preparation for the surgery

The restricted meal plan can be one of several different types based on an R.D.’s history and physical. The appropriate meal plan will be outlined for the patient along with current macronutrient and fluid guidelines.

The meal plan is not intended for rapid weight loss or to be followed after the surgery. A Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) consult should be scheduled prior to the actual surgery in order to go over the post-surgical guidelines.


The lower-fat meal plan and the elimination of simple sugars are in preparation for the post-surgical meal plan and possible complications. These complications may include steatorrhea (excess fat in the stool) or dumping syndrome (rapid transit of glucose into the small intestine). It is recommended that all candidates for this surgery take one adult vitamin/mineral supplement or take two chewable children’s vitamin supplements daily. This will insure adequate micronutrient needs before and after the surgery.



What are my Calorie, Protein and Fluid Needs Now?

All of your macronutrient needs will be based on a formula known as the basal energy expenditure (BEE) for weight loss. A separate meal plan will be provided along with a sample menu to help with your goals prior to surgery. Here is a general example of your needs now:


Are you considering Gastric Bypass Surgery but are unsure if you can navigate your nutritional goals alone?

Contact me today to learn more and schedule a consultation.

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