If you’ve been researching weight loss or bariatric surgery, you’re probably learning there’s a lot of pre-op work that has to happen before getting a procedure. You can’t just walk in, get a gastric sleeve or bypass, and be home in time for dinner (so to speak). And there are even more rules after surgery–including the 30-30 rule. But what is the 30-30 rule for bariatric surgery?

For many bariatric procedures, including gastric sleeve and lap band surgeries, your stomach has been made quite a bit smaller. This means it can only hold so much at one time, whether it be in solid or liquid form. So you need to be aware of how much you put into your body and when you do it.

The 30-30 rule for bariatric surgery is just one of the practices you need to follow. It will help you monitor your food intake and protect you from overloading your stomach too soon after a procedure in the weeks and months afterward.

30-30 Rule For Bariatric Surgery

So what is the 30-30 rule for bariatric surgery? Essentially, you shouldn’t drink any liquids 30 minutes before eating or 30 minutes after eating. Consuming liquids before meals can cause the stomach pouch, which is significantly smaller after surgery, to fill up, not leaving any room for the food.

This can be problematic for a couple of reasons. Too much food/liquid in the stomach can cause the stomach to expand ever so slightly. If this is done enough, it can lead to increased hunger and a diminished sense of fullness, ultimately undermining the effectiveness of the surgery.

Following the recommendation to refrain from drinking liquids before meals will help you optimize your meal experience by focusing on nutrient-dense foods and promoting a feeling of satiety with smaller portions. Ultimately, adhering to this guideline enhances the effectiveness of weight loss surgery and supports patients in achieving their health and wellness goals.

In a more immediate issue, filling the stomach pouch too much can lead to discomfort, bloating, and even nausea. This condition is known as dumping syndrome and can happen if you drink while you eat. Even a few sips of water throughout your meal can cause issues.

Drinking While Eating After Bariatric Surgery

A glass of water with cucumbers in it.It is also recommended that you don’t drink while you’re eating, either. At the start, when you’re limited to liquid only, this isn’t as much of a problem. But as more solid foods are introduced into your diet, you’ll need to be cautious not to drink while eating. This can lead to Dumping Syndrome, where food is introduced into the small intestine too quickly.

Drinking while eating can cause the food to move through the stomach too soon, leading to nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and more. There are two types of dumping syndrome–early and late–and both happen after a meal. Not to mention any damage to the surgery itself because the stomach is too full.

Early dumping occurs 10 to 30 minutes after eating and drinking together. The liquid makes the food mass get dumped into the small intestine at the earliest stages of digestion. Because the food didn’t get a chance to break down in the stomach, the intestines release hormones, causing the body to shift more liquid into the intestines.

As you can imagine, this will fill the intestines and make you feel very full and uncomfortable. This may lead to diarrhea shortly thereafter. These hormones may also affect your heart rate and blood pressure, leading to dizziness and fainting in some cases.

With late dumping, the symptoms usually come into play one to three hours after eating. Symptoms are related to reactive hypoglycemia (low blood pressure) and include sweating, hunger, passing out, and more. These symptoms can be intensified if you’ve eaten a lot of starch or sugar.

In either case, you’re not going to be at all comfortable during this time. In time, you may be able to drink water while eating once your body has become completely adapted to the surgery. But until then, limiting liquid while eating is important both for your comfort and the safety of the surgery.

What is the 30-30-30 Rule For Weight Loss?

Although not specifically intended for bariatric surgery patients, the 30-30-30 rule for weight loss refers to how you start your day. Based on the book “The 4-Hour Body,” this routine has burst onto the scene thanks to social media, most notablyfrom podcaster Gary Brecka and viral TikTok videos.

Essentially, this weight-loss method is based on consuming 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning. This is then followed by 30 minutes of light physical activity to get your fat-burning metabolism going. The question is: does this help you lose weight and keep it off in the long term?

On the surface, it seems like a good idea. Incorporating protein-rich foods into a healthy diet and getting consistent exercise are hallmarks of any bariatric procedure. The combination of all three has been scientifically proven to be the best way to lose massive amounts of excess weight and keep it off.

So it sounds like it makes sense, right? However, as with all diets and weight-loss plans, the 30-30-30 rule is only as good as the person putting it into practice. Consistency is key when it comes to any regimen. And because this is a relatively new phenomenon, there isn’t much clinical practice to back it up.

According to the Today Show, “It’s difficult to say definitively if the 30-30-30 method works and whether it can lead to weight loss because it has not been studied rigorously.”

30-30-30 Rule for bariatric patients

For weight loss surgery patients, however, there are already relatively strict diet requirements in the days and weeks after a procedure. During the first two weeks after a gastric sleeve, duodenal switch, or other surgeries, you will be required to follow a strict all-liquid diet (including protein supplements). This helps your body adapt to the physical and hormonal changes your body will be going through.

After that, softer foods can be introduced into the diet, and this is where you’ll start introducing protein-rich, low-fat foods. Incorporating protein-rich foods into your morning meal helps kickstart your metabolism, keeps you feeling full and satisfied, and provides the necessary nutrients to keep your body going.

Opt for sources like scrambled eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, tofu, or lean meats such as turkey or chicken sausage when solid food is introduced after two to four weeks. Your protein intake will be relatively consistent and will not only support your weight loss goals but also help regulate blood sugar levels, preventing energy crashes later in the day.

As a bariatric patient, it’s always best to consult with your primary doctor or your surgeon before trying any new diet or trend. At WeightWise, we’ll pair you with a registered dietitian and exercise physiologist who will give you guidelines to follow in the days, months, and even years after a procedure.

It’s all part of a holistic weight-loss system we provide to give you the best possible opportunity to lose much of your excess weight and keep it off. Want to learn more about how diet and exercise are incorporated into your post-op life? Watch our free online seminar and then take our assessment to see if you’re a candidate for bariatric surgery. See how we can help you lead a healthier, leaner life.

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