After weight loss surgery, the main dietary focus is protein.

Protein at every meal.

Eat your protein first.

Hit your daily protein goal.

But what about carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are often vilified, but they are not ‘bad’ foods. Carbs provide a variety of important nutrients!

  • They are the body’s preferred source of energy, especially for the brain and muscles.
  • They are our main dietary source of fiber. Fiber has a variety of health benefits, from decreasing cancer risk to lowering cholesterol. Adequate fiber also helps promote bowel regularity, which can be an issue for patients after weight loss surgery.
  • They contribute a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to the diet.
  • Some carbohydrates also contribute protein to the diet.

Initially, when food intake is significantly restricted due to healing, there may not be much room for carbohydrates. As we get farther out from surgery, and the amount of food that can be consumed increases, there is opportunity for dietary flexibility to include carbohydrates.

Nutritious sources of carbohydrates include:

  • Fruits*
  • Starchy vegetables, such as peas, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash
  • Grains, such a quinoa and bulgur
  • Legumes, such as beans and lentils
  • Brown or wild rice
  • Whole wheat pastas, breads, and crackers

Though carbohydrates will take up a much smaller percentage of the plate after weight loss surgery, they still play an important role. Don’t count out carbs!

Jennifer Tveitnes, RD, LD

Registered Dietitian, Boone Health Bariatrics


*For individuals who have had gastric bypass: carbohydrates that are high in simple sugars, such as fruit, may contribute to dumping syndrome.