Gastric Lap Band® Diet:
Your Ultimate Guide

Finally, an answer to "what can I eat on my Lap Band® diet?!"

But first, you must know that your diet after weight loss surgery is a journey that will follow 5 distinct phases. What you can eat at any given moment on your Lap Band® diet depends on where you are in the journey of the "5 R's.

How Does the Lap Band® Diet Work?

Having a gastric band is kind of like having a belt fastened around your stomach. Less food food fits in and you feel full faster. 

Everything you eat has to get past the "belt" (band) so it's SUPER important to take little bites and chew your food to applesauce consistency so nothing gets stuck when trying to get past the band. 

More on mindful eating.

lap band diet

Gastric Lap Band® Diet: Before Surgery

What you eat in the weeks leading up to your weight loss surgery is very important!

While you might feel tempted to binge, that "last supper" mentality can actually cause you some harm.

The obvious downside of overeating prior to bariatric surgery is of course, weight gain. But listen to this...

As you gain more weight, more fat may be deposited in your liver. A fatty liver is a big liver, and a big liver is particularly bad news pre-op.

Fatty liver = BIG liver

BIG liver = BAD news


Your stomach and liver are neighbors, and a big liver can actually get in the way during surgery. Your stomach is located under the liver. So a big fat liver makes it harder for your surgeon to see your stomach.

This increases the chance of having your surgery performed as an open procedure rather than a laparoscopic one.

Think, "Big scar." Think, "Longer healing time."

Now, one big meal won't make or break you, but a pattern of overeating pre-op will most certainly lead to weight gain and a bigger liver.

So dump any "last supper," "last hurrah,” “food funeral" thinking and accept your new relationship with food ASAP!

The Food Funeral Before Bariatric Surgery

If you want to enjoy life as a smaller person, you need to change how you think about eating….before you even have surgery! There’s no time like the present to start practicing a new, healthy relationship with food.

How to Follow the PreOp Bariatric Liver Shrinking Diet

Gastric Lap Band® Post Op Diet

The purpose of the Lap Band® diet immediately after surgery is to help you ease back into eating and prevent any diet related complications. The post op diet progression consists of several stages starting with clear liquids and eventually ending with solid foods.

Stage 1 Bariatric Diet

Stage 2 Bariatric Diet

Stage 3 Bariatric Diet

Stage 4 Bariatric Diet

Lap Band® Diet:
High Protein, Low Carb

The the diet after gastric banding is high in protein. This is necessary for healing, preventing hunger, and preventing hair loss and muscle loss.

Carbs winds up being low by default. There's just not enough room for them when you're prioritizing protein!

More answers to FAQs here.

Lap Band® Diet Fills

The way you tighten or loosen a belt is by tightening or loosening the notches on the belt. The way you tighten or loosen the gastric band is by having fluid added or taken out of the band. This is called a "fill" (or de-fill.)

It takes some adjusting in the beginning to find the "sweet spot"...

...enough fluid to make it tight enough, but not soooo much that you can't even drink water without vomiting. 

Each time you have a new fill, you have to ease back into eating like a baby again. For example:

LAP BAND® Diet Restrictions®

Ever had a clogged sink? If so, you know how messy the "back-up" can be.

After getting stomach band surgery, you should think of your new stomach ("pouch") as a sink...

...with a very small "sink hole."

The "sink hole" is the new narrow passage in the stomach created by the stomach band. (It's technically called the "stoma.")

Everything you eat will have to get down that "sink hole" or stoma. If it gets stopped up, you're going to be very uncomfortable and the messy "back-up" could be you, throwing up. Yuck!

Just as onion skins and eggshells can stop up a sink, there are certain foods that can potentially stop up the stoma and may need to be limited/avoided when eating after gastric LAP-BAND®.


  • Bread
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Dry chicken or meat
  • "Stringy" vegetables like celery, asparagus
  • The white, pithy membranes of citrus fruits
  • Vegetable or fruit skin/peel: (apple peel, grape skins, cucumber skin)
  • Greasy or fried, crispy foods

Important Note:

There is a chance you'll tolerate some or all of these foods. The diet after LAP-BAND® adjustable gastric band surgery involves a lot of trial and error until you determine exactly what you can and can't eat.

Try these named foods individually, in small amounts, and chewed very well, in order to determine whether you can tolerate them or not.

Carbonated Beverages

Carbonated water or (diet) soda may cause you discomfort after bariatric banding. Think about all those air bubbles getting trapped in your tiny little new "pouch."

It's ok to drink FLAT (diet) soda if you can't live without the taste! You can even use FLAT diet orange soda as the base for a protein shake. 

These Foods Will Slow Your Weight Loss

Avoid foods that are a concentrated source of calories with little nutritional value:

  • High Sugar Foods: Candy, Cake, Cookies, Ice Cream, Chocolate Pastries, Sweet Rolls, Donuts, Jam, Jelly, Honey, Sugar
  • Foods that list sugar within the first 3 ingredients on the label
  • High Fat Foods: Fried Foods, Fast Food, Potato chips, Full Fat Dairy Products (full fat cheese, whole milk, cream), Fatty Meats (e.g., bacon, sausage, pepperoni, ribs), Excess Butter, Mayonnaise or Gravy, Cream Soups and Sauces
  • White Flour Products: White pasta, White bread, White rice
  • Drinks/Beverages With Calories:** Regular Soda Pop, Juice, Coffee Drinks, Milkshakes, Sweetened Beverages

**Note: Liquids pass through the "sink hole" or stoma, fairly quickly without giving you a feeling of fullness. You can therefore take in a lot of calories without ever feeling full when you drink sweetened beverages.

A band around your stomach can't protect you from the effects of too many liquid calories!!


How many calories?  What are the right portion sizes? What about carbs? What to drink?

Find answers to these questions and more here.

You May be Interested In:

The “5 Rs” of the Bariatric Diet