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Bariatric Nutrition: Charting a Healthy Course

January 13, 2021 | Bariatric Diet Healthy Diet

Critical to the success of a bariatric procedure is how patients manage their nutrition going forward. Registered dietitians at Garden State Bariatrics and Wellness Center help patients who have undergone bariatric surgery plan their diets for optimal results.

“I focus on the diet plan. We have general guidelines, but I do try to personalize it,” she explains. Just as procedures differ, and patients have particular needs, a bariatric nutrition plan that’s individualized garners great outcomes.

General Guidelines

Some aspects of bariatric nutrition are a given. Depending on the type of bariatric surgery, meal portions will be much smaller. Since patients are not able to consume as much food as they were prior to surgery, it is necessary to maintain a nutrient-rich, high-protein diet.

Drinking plenty of water is also important. In general, the guideline stresses sugar-free, non-carbonated beverages. Simple carbohydrates—bread, pasta, rice—should also be avoided.

In the second week after most surgeries, protein shakes are recommended. This keeps both protein and liquid intake at sufficient levels. Supplements are also necessary, including a bariatric multivitamin and calcium. Annual blood work should be done to identify any nutritional deficiencies.

Staying Motivated

Although general guidelines lay the foundation for these patients, they are not necessarily one size fits all. An evaluation of the patient’s specific needs and wants must be taken into consideration. The more a diet plan fits into their lives, the easier it will be to stick with the program.

To maintain weight loss, patients need to think long-term and previous routines may need to change. Many patients enjoy a morning beverage at their local coffee chain, without realizing how much sugar is found in those drinks. “Those can easily derail any healthy diet plan,” warns Hoodis, stressing the lack of nutritional value and overabundance of calories.

Aside from sticking to smaller portions and not drinking unnecessary calories, Hoodis warns against mindless eating. “It’s really important to not get back into those habits of snacking and grazing on food throughout the day.”

She also recommends joining a support group. “We have a support group at Barnabas Ambulatory Center once a month, and I encourage our patients to participate in that support group as another tool to stay motivated.”

Success Comes with Commitment

The goal of bariatric surgery is to live an overall healthier life. Adapting a nutritional plan that facilitates that goal is a vital aspect of life post-procedure. Success depends upon the commitment of the patient. “Coming in with a good attitude, feeling good about everything you’re going through and thinking positively can go a long way,” informs Hoodis.

Wynnie Hoodis

**To listen to an interview with Wynnie Hoodis, a registered dietician, follow this link:

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