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Nutrition
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Learning more about nutrition in Raleigh is a vital component of patients’ post-bariatric-surgery health. Bariatric surgery results in changes in the volume of food intake. While this positively affects weight, it can also lead to a decrease in nutrient intake.

To address this, the patient must adopt a new diet that provides the essential nutrition the body needs to stay healthy and function properly.

At Rex UNC Health Care Bariatric Specialists, we provide comprehensive nutrition plans for our patients. This allows us to ensure patient health and safety and long-lasting results long after the surgery itself is complete.

Our dedicated staff of registered dietitians are ready to assist you with:

  • Pre-surgery diets
  • Post-surgery diets
  • Meal planning
  • Grocery store tours
  • Post-surgery vitamins
  • Post-surgery protein

Combine REX Bariatric Specialists’ staged bariatric eating nutrition plan with a suitable exercise regimen to keep your weight loss on track after bariatric surgery. You’ll start with clear liquids for the first two days after your procedure, and add bariatric vitamins and broth or bouillon on your third day. Begin eating pureed food after 10 to 14 days; advance to a soft diet within a few more weeks, and then gradually reintroduce solid foods.

Bariatric Surgery Diet

Gain the most from your surgery, and head off complications such as nausea, by learning to:
  • Eat slowly (30-45 minutes for a full meal).
  • Chew fully (at least 30 times per bite).
  • Take smaller bites.
  • Avoid drinking for 30 minutes before or after eating.

Pay attention to signs of fullness, such as pressure just below your ribs or heartburn. Overeating even a little can trigger vomiting. Get used to measuring your food, and wait a few minutes before you finish eating to decide whether you’re satisfied. Turn to our registered dietitians for ongoing nutrition counseling.

Avoid Certain Foods

Eat foods high in protein and nutrients—especially foods included in our bariatric recipes. Stay away from foods that may be hard to tolerate, including:

  • Bran
  • Bread
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Coconut
  • Corn and legumes
  • Dairy
  • Dried fruit
  • Fried foods
  • Pasta
  • Skins from fresh fruit
  • Sugary foods

Replace desserts with fresh fruit or sorbet, and give up alcohol.

Sugary desserts create glucose spikes in the blood. In response, the body creates more insulin, which causes fat cells to take in more calories, causing weight gain. High sugar intake also results in a resistance to the hormone that signals the feeling of fullness.

This is self-perpetuating, because eating desserts creates a higher tolerance over time, resulting in the need for more of a sugar hit every time.

Alcohol contains a lot of empty calories. It also causes the body to concentrate its energy on trying to burn those calories instead of fat and sugar calories.

And because alcohol activates neurons associated with the feeling of starving, it causes increased food intake, particularly high-fat high-salt foods. Alcohol increases galanin, a neuropeptide that also encourages food intake. Additionally, the cortisol spikes from alcohol cause the body to store more fat.

When possible, choose foods that are broiled, grilled, baked, steamed or poached, rather than fried. Try to avoid vegetables and meats cooked with fats. Fried food can add a lot of calories, which can cause a nutritional imbalance.

Bariatric Vitamins

Follow your care team’s instructions on taking vitamin and mineral supplements. You’ll need these for the rest of your life to help your altered stomach absorb all the nutrients your body needs.

Patients primarily need to take multivitamins, calcium, vitamin D3, and vitamin B12. These are essential for prevention of common health complications after bariatric surgery.

These health risks include anemia (B12 and iron deficiency), neurological complications (lack of B12 can make a person irritable and prone to memory loss), compromised bone integrity (lack of calcium), and kidney issues (due to changes in vitamin D absorption).

Dining Out

Feel comfortable eating out with friends and family, but take charge of what you order.

Plan ahead and research restaurants’ menus whenever possible. This will allow you to ensure that healthy options are available, giving you the chance to search for those options at your own pace.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request exceptions that are not on the menu, including:

  • Smaller portions, shared entrees or children’s menu sizes
  • Sauces or dressings on the side, added sparingly or not at all
  • Non-fat or low-fat options

Holiday Eating Choices

Stay focused on your meal plan during the holiday season, when more food options (especially less-healthy choices) are available at social events, parties and celebrations. Eat before you attend a holiday gathering to protect yourself against overeating once you get there. Enjoy the company of your family and friends away from the food buffet.

Choosing the Right Snacks
 

CONTACT US TO LEARN MORE

If you’ve gotten bariatric surgery or are planning to come in for it, contact us at Rex UNC Health Care Bariatric Specialists to learn more about nutrition in Raleigh. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!

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