If you’ve looked into bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) or even gone ahead and had surgery, you know some the major benefit of having surgery – these surgeries are intended to limit the amount of food you are able to take in. By doing this, you’ll lose weight, and may do so rapidly. While it seems like a miracle cure for obesity, weight loss surgery doesn’t come without nutrition issues that you need to be aware of and account for.
There are several new eating habits you’ll have to adapt to in order to increase your chances of weight loss success while minimizing any potential complications. These include:
• Eating very small meals (and progressing over time so you can eat about 1 to 1.5 cups of food at a time)
• Eat and drink slowly
• Chew food thoroughly
• Drink liquids between meals not at meals
• Try new foods one at a time
• Take vitamin and mineral supplements especially calcium and vitamin D
Let’s take a closer look at that last recommendation. You will need to take certain vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of your life because your body will have a tough time absorbing certain nutrients. Doctors recommend that you take a multivitamin-mineral supplement and calcium, iron, vitamin B-12 and vitamin D.
Now, given the fact that you will have to progress from a liquid diet to a pureed diet to soft foods and onto more normal foods (all while chewing food thoroughly and not drinking liquids while eating), you can imagine what a task it would be to take a hard vitamin or mineral supplement. And it may be a little more than your body can handle.
For example, when it comes to calcium and vitamin D supplements, these are typically quite big in pill form. By opting for a liquid supplement, you can take them at any time during the day (just a few teaspoons worth at most). Many physicians recommend liquid supplements for these reasons – they are convenient and much easier for your digestive tract to handle.
When choosing a calcium supplement, make sure it has calcium citrate and not calcium carbonate. After weight loss surgery, the body cannot absorb calcium carbonate. Calcium citrate is water soluble and can be easily absorbed, especially in liquid form.
Liquid supplements are easier to swallow and fast absorbing. The stomach does not have to “dissolve” the tablet or pill, making it a perfect choice for anyone who has had weight loss surgery or who has trouble swallowing pills.
The ASMBS Guidelines for Bariatric Nutrition recommends 1500-2000mg of calcium citrate supplement per day in addition to whatever calcium you get from food. Here is a great liquid calcium supplement with 1000 mg of elemental calcium citrate and 1000 IU of vitamin D3. It is best to split up the dosage into 500 each time. The body can only absorb so much at one time.
Tell us about your weight loss journey and experience with weight loss surgery and what steps you have taken to stay healthy.
This is a great resource site as well – www.obesityhelp.com
Gastric bypass diet: What to eat after weight-loss surgery. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/gastric-bypass-diet/WT00007/METHOD=print
Schweitzer DH, Posthuma ED. Prevention. Prevention of vitamin and mineral deficiencies after bariatric surgery: evidence and algorithms. Obesity Surgery 2008 18(11): 1485-1488.