Questions About Nutrition

Do patients meet with a dietitian before or after surgery?

Patients meet with a dietitian before and after surgery. They first meet in a group orientation where the pre- and post-op bariatric meal plan is introduced. The dietitian then visits the patient in the hospital after the surgery and during post-surgery follow-up visits. The dietitian is available for additional nutritional education and support at support group meetings held monthly.

What changes to diet do patients have to make to be successful?

Patients enjoy a new way of eating a balanced meal plan. This balanced plan has 3 small meals and 2 protein supplements daily that include adequate protein, moderate carbohydrate and moderate fat. Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, legumes, low-fat dairy products and small portions of healthy fats are included as part of this healthy way of eating.

How much protein does a person require?

Our recommendations are 60-80 grams of protein daily consumed over 5 small meals. To accomplish this, patients are encouraged to choose protein first and ensure 15-20 grams in that choice.

What are the best sources of protein?

Eggs, low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat cheeses, milk, yogurt, poultry (dark meat is best tolerated), seafood and fishes, pork products and lean beef. Vegetable sources include tofu and soy products, peanut butter, legumes and fortified cereals.

How can patients be sure they are getting enough protein?

Actively read labels and keep an ongoing diet diary. Also choose a low-sugar protein supplement that will provides "protein insurance" when taken as a meal twice a day along with 3 food meals.

How much water or other non-calorie fluids should be consumed?

A daily fluid intake of at least 64 ounces is recommended. Adequate fluid is as necessary as adequate protein to support wound healing and weight loss while it works to hydrate every cell in your body. It even assists the body in transporting waste products out of the body via perspiration, urination, etc. Acceptable fluid are water, beef, vegetable or chicken broth, carrot juice, Crystal Lite, diet non-carbonated Snapple, skim or 1%milk, V-8 juice , herbal teas, sugar-free popsicles or Jell-O.

Do patients have a problem with consumption of dairy products?

Dairy products contain lactose, a natural sugar found in milk. In some patients, lactose sugar is not well digested. When lactose sugar passes through undigested the symptoms of intolerance include gas, cramping and diarrhea. Lactaid supplements found over the counter can be helpful .Choosing Lactaid-treated dairy products or cultured dairy such as yogurt can improve tolerance.

Will I have to take vitamins for the rest of my life?

You will always have to take vitamins. Gastric bypass affects the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. Vitamins help compensate for this change in absorption and all patients are required to take vitamins for life.

Why is activity or exercise important after surgery?

Exercising maximizes your weight loss and will help you to maintain a healthy body. After surgery, you will not only need good nutrition, but you will also need to allow time in your daily routine for regular activity. Walking while you do errands is a good form of exercise. Here are some other reasons why activity is important for you:

  • Exercise increases your metabolism, which can help you lose weight faster.
  • Exercise burns fat.
  • Exercise increases muscle tone and muscle mass which constantly burn calories - even when the body is at rest.
  • Exercise improves your mood and overall sense of well-being by secreting endorphins into your body.
  • Exercise can cause you to feel less hungry.
  • Exercise helps to keep your bowels moving.
  • Exercise can improve sexual activity.
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