Calorie Counting and Bariatric Surgery

Jan 10, 2022

We often get the following question from our patients: “How many calories should I be getting in each day?”  The answer is simple: at SC Obesity, we place a heavy focus on PROTEIN, FLUIDS, and PORTION SIZE…not on a specific number of daily calorie intake.

Above all, you should focus on protein first.  Ensure that you are getting in 60-70 grams of protein from lean (low-fat/fat-free) sources each day.  You may find that a food scale (very inexpensive, FYI) is a helpful tool when calculating your protein intake.  You’ll need to know how many grams of protein is in one ounce of the food you are preparing.  Chicken, for example, has eight grams of protein per ounce.  If you place your chicken on the scale and the weight is three ounces, multiply eight by three to get 24 grams of protein for that piece of chicken. 

Next, turn your focus to portion size.  We recommend a meal size of four ounces, or ½ cup.  Between two and three ounces of your meal should come from protein with the remainder of the meal consisting of produce.  Choose non-starchy vegetables (corn, white potatoes, and sugar peas quickly turn to sugar in your body).  Eating on a salad plate instead of a dinner plate will help you keep your portion size in check.

Finally, get in 64 ounces of fluids each day BETWEEN meals.  Making sure to not drink while eating (30 minutes of not drinking on both sides of your meal) will help to ensure that you can fill your pouch with good, solid protein at mealtime.   This practice will keep you full between meals and should help avoid snacking.

Which brings us back to the calorie counting question.  If you are following the recommendations described above, you will naturally be following a low-calorie diet.  Release the urge to worry over a specific calorie number.  Instead, focus on high-quality lean protein and produce sources in the appropriate portion sizes at each meal.  You’ll be a winner!

Questions or comments?

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