Bariatric Weight-Loss Surgery

Will My Doctor Know if I Cheat on My Diet Before Bariatric Surgery?

Dr. Jason F. Moy
Dr. Brian T. Chin
Daniel Roman
Will My Doctor Know if I Cheat on My Diet Before Bariatric Surgery?

Those weeks before your surgery date are some of the most crucial times when prepping for bariatric surgery. This is the period of time when you begin to prime your body for an easy operation. The pre-op diet plan is required for all patients before their procedure.

In most cases, many are told to start their diet at least three weeks in advance. There are a number of reasons why surgeons prescribe a strict diet protocol to their patients pre-op. As bariatric surgery is a major procedure to endure, the preparation must start long before you enter the surgery room. This ensures minimal complications, easy transition post-op, and decreases your BMI before the operation. But - will your doctor really know if you cheat on your pre-op diet? Here’s everything you need to know.

Bariatric Surgery Diet: What Does This Entail?

Long story short - yes, your doctor will know if you fudge your diet. One of the primary reasons patients are asked to undergo bariatric dieting is that it significantly reduces the risk factors.

The pre-surgery diet serves several key purposes:

  • Weight Loss: Bariatric surgery is most effective when you've lost some weight before the procedure. The pre-surgery diet aims to kick-start this process, making the surgery itself safer and more successful.
  • Reducing Liver Size: Many bariatric surgeries involve manipulating the stomach and intestines. A large liver can make this process more challenging. The pre-surgery diet can help shrink the liver, making the surgery safer and more feasible.
  • Minimizing Surgical Risks: By adhering to the pre-surgery diet, you'll be reducing the risks associated with the surgery. It helps lower the chances of complications and ensures a smoother recovery.

So what does a bariatric surgery diet consist of? Generally, it is a low-calorie diet with high protein and low carbs and sugars. It mainly consists of liquids or shakes. It is done in stages and is subject to change depending on your medical background.

Three weeks before your surgery, your bariatric diet plan will look something like this:

  • Supplemental or doctor-prescribed meals. These meals will be high in protein, smaller in portion size, and low in carbohydrates.
  • Liquid-only diet. At one stage during pre-op, you’ll be asked to only ingest liquids such as broths, shakes, or water.
  • 8 hours before surgery you will fast completely.

This will look different depending on your BMI and medical history. You’ll work directly with your doctor to create a pre-op diet that works for you.

Pre-Op Bariatric Surgery Diet & Its Benefits

It’s not a good idea to cheat on your pre-op diet before surgery. Although many patients struggle with this leg of the journey, they’re also grateful for it. The risks associated with cheating on your pre-op diet include:

  • Your surgery could be canceled depending on the discernment of your surgeon.
  • Your doctor will know within minutes if you ate prior to surgery. They will see food in your intestinal tract which can lead to infection.
  • If the size of your liver doesn’t decrease, this will make the surgery very challenging for yourself and your doctor.
  • Healthy habits established BEFORE surgery will impact you AFTER surgery. Adjusting to a new way of living is essential to achieving long-term success.
  • Cheating on your diet can lead to multiple complications before, during, and after your operation.

The benefits of following a pre-op bariatric diet outweigh its challenges. You’ll have a smoother, faster recovery. You’ll have an easy operation. You will have an easier time adjusting to new eating habits post-op. You’ll decrease your BMI and overall body fat percentage.

Not only this, but you will see the long-lasting results you’ve been working for. We strongly discourage cheating on your pre-op diet. If you do have a slip-up, contact your healthcare provider immediately. This way, we can determine the best course of action for you and your health.

If you are struggling with pre-op diet, we have a guide on the tips to help you stay on track which you can check out.

The Best Bariatric Surgeons in California

If you’re ready to change your life and your health forever, contact one of our leading experts at BASS Bariatric Surgery Center today. Our surgeons are equipped with knowledge, expertise, experience, and mastery. We’re here to support you in taking that next step. Reach out and see if bariatric surgery is the next right move for you.

About The Author

Daniel Roman, Content Writer

Daniel Roman is a Digital Content Writer at BASS Medical Group. He received his Masters in Journalism from UC Berkeley in 2021. Daniel has published multiple newspaper articles covering public health issues. His latest was a magazine cover story on pandemics and diseases that he co-wrote with Dr. Elena Conis, a historian of medicine, public health, and the environment.

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