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Eating Techniques following Bariatric Surgery

Date issued: August 2023 

Review date: August 2025 

Ref: C-324/Dietetics/CW/Eating Techniques following weight loss surgery v5

PDF:  Eating Techniques following weight loss surgery final August 2023 v5.pdf[pdf] 188KB 

Following bariatric surgery, the way that you eat will need to be adapted. The following recommendations will reduce complications of gastric reflux, regurgitation, pouch dilatation and oesophageal dilatation.

Before you start your meal, ensure you are sitting at a table and avoid distractions toencourage mindfuleating. 

Practice the 20-20-20 technique

  • Bite sizes should be no bigger than a 20 pence piece.

  • Chew each bite size piece of food 20 times before swallowing.

  • Wait for 1 minute before you take your next bite of food.

  • Eat for only 20 minutes.

  • Stop eating before 20 minutes if you start experiencing pain or discomfort in your chest. This is a common sign that you have over-eaten.

  • You may find it helpful to time yourself when eating.

  • If you have any food left on your plate after 20 minutes, dispose of it immediately. Do not save it for a snack later. This will help prevent grazing. 

Leave a gap of at least 30 minutes between eating and drinking 

Drinking during your meal can cause the food to swell, causing discomfort. It can also cause trapped wind or over fill your pouch if you gulp fluids too fast causing regurgitation and pain.

  • Do not drink at least 30 minutes before a meal is due.

  • Wait 30 - 60 minutes after a meal to have a drink. 

 Protein recommendations

  • Aim to get 60-80 grams protein per day.

  • Achieve this by having at least 20g protein at each    meal time.

  • To increase protein further include high protein snacks between meals such as high protein yogurt, a boiled egg or small handful of unsalted nuts. ​​​​​​

Control your portions by using a tea plate or specific bariatric portion plate as below. This helps prevent overeating.

Bariatric Plate:

Common foods that can cause problems after surgery 

Steak, pork, tough or dry meat, white bread, rice & noodles.



  • If you cannot tolerate these foods, it is best to avoid them and find a suitable alternative. For example, minced or casseroled meat, granary bread toasted, cauliflower rice or couscous may be better tolerated.

  • Chewing gum should be avoided as this will stimulate your saliva and feelings of hunger.

  • Carbonated drinks should be avoided lifelong. Your new stomach is much smaller and therefore will struggle to cope with fizzy drinks. This will cause discomfort and pain in your chest, such as heart burn.

  • Remember to take your multivitamin and mineral supplements every day .

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