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Dietitian's Corner

Free recipes, meal plans, & medical nutrition therapy materials.

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery, commonly referred to as "weight loss surgery" is a minimally invasive surgery that alters the stomach and/or intestinal tract to help with weight loss by surgically restricting the amount of food/liquid the stomach can hold. Some surgeries can also cause malabsorption of nutrients in addition to hormonal changes. The two most common being the sleeve gastrectomy & gastric bypass (Roux-en-Y).  To read more click here.

How does it cause weight loss?

Weight loss is achieved when a person burns more calories then consumed over an extended period of time. Surgery aids with feeling fuller on smaller portion sizes as well as hormonal changes causing decreased appetite.  Malabsorption of nutrients may also be a result of bariatric surgery. Before weight loss surgery, bariatric & metabolic surgery centers may require patients to lose weight.  Typically 2 weeks prior to surgery, patients are placed on a modified or liquid diet to allow weight loss and the liver to become more pliable.   

 

After surgery, bariatric patients require a transitional diet that allows texture to progress as the stomach and surgery sites heal. Patients transition from clear liquids to full liquids to pureed to mechanical soft then once 8 weeks after surgery they are  back to regular textured foods.  

During these 8 weeks (and forever) patients have daily goals of fluids, protein, & vitamins/minerals set by their dietitan & bariatric program. These goals are important to avoid dehydration & malnutrition. While healing many patients may only be able to consume 500-1000 calories a day which causes weight loss. Bariatric patients are recommended to stay between 700-1000 calories per day to achieve rapid weight loss. Calories are readjusted with increase in physical activity (exercise) and/or once goal weight is achieve.