Weight loss surgery is a tool to help you achieve substantial weight loss and live a longer, healthier, and happier life. But just as a hammer can’t perform its function without a nail, surgery is only part of regaining your health.
A calorie is a unit of energy present in all food, including fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Fats contain nine calories per gram, while carbohydrates and proteins contain four calories per gram.
Carbohydrates supply energy to the body, but when consumed in excess, they are stored as fat. Carbohydrates are a group of sugars attached together as a chain. There are two main types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates cause a sharp rise in insulin production. This can lead to insulin resistance, which has been shown to contribute to diabetes. They are easily digested, causing food to empty from the stomach quickly and lead to an increased feeling of hunger soon after they are eaten. Simple carbohydrates include fruit juice, sugar, and processed or enriched white grains, such as white rice or most types of pasta. Complex carbohydrates lead to less insulin production and contain fiber, an essential part of a healthy diet. They require more work for the body to break down, causing a longer-lasting feeling of satiety, or fullness. Examples of complex carbohydrates include high-fiber, whole grain products, beans, vegetables and fruits.
Proteins are the essential building blocks of life – every cell in the body contains protein. These cells make up skin, bones, muscle, organ tissue, blood and hormones. Protein is essential to prevent malnutrition, and the consumption of protein results in very little insulin release. (Insulin regulates blood sugar, and excess insulin has been known to lead to diabetes). Adequate protein intake following surgery is key to preventing malnutrition. Lean sources of protein include low-fat cheeses, low-fat yogurt, eggs, poultry, lean meats, fish, tofu and beans/legumes.
Water is key to all body functions. Body weight is 55-75 percent water – including 70 percent of the brain, 82 percent of blood, and 90 percent of the lungs. We lose water daily from perspiration, exhalation, urination, and defecation. That’s why it’s essential to consume a minimum of 64 ounces of water daily to prevent dehydration. People need even more than this amount during hot summer months and during physical activity. The body cannot survive for more than five days without water, but dehydration sets in much more quickly. Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages can cause rapid dehydration and should be avoided. Symptoms of dehydration include weakness, lethargy, difficulty focusing, dizziness, and headache. Follow the water guidelines daily, since it’s very difficult to make up for a water deficit once dehydration has set in. Carry a water bottle wherever you go and create a plan to help meet your daily water goal. In order to save money and avoid waste, find a reusable bottle you like and fill it from your tap. Slow, consistent sips of water are best, equaling about eight ounces per hour. Remember the 30-20-30 rule:
- Stop drinking 30 minutes before a meal.
- Take no longer than 20 minutes to finish a meal.
- Do not start drinking again for 30 minutes after a meal.
Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy patients: Drinking with meals is not recommended. Because water takes up space in the stomach, you will not be able to eat as much and may receive inadequate nutrition as a result. Water can also wash food through the stomach pouch too quickly, increasing the risk of dumping syndrome, and allowing you to eat more.
Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band patients: Drinking with meals will wash food from the upper-banded portion of the stomach to the lower part of the stomach, allowing you to eat more, and causing you to feel hungry again more quickly.
Fats when, eaten in moderation, are important for growth, as well as development and absorption of fat soluble vitamins. Some dietary fats are more beneficial than others. Because fat is energy dense or has a high amount of calories, all fats need to be eaten in moderation. Monounsaturated fats are “healthy” fats that are good for the heart and have a positive effect on blood cholesterol levels; sources include olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil. Polyunsaturated fats are needed in small amounts. Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids, found in fish, oils and nuts, are two types of polyunsaturated fats that are essential to the body. They are needed to make hormones and they also have a positive effect on blood cholesterol levels. “Unhealthy” saturated fats come from butter, lards, meat fats, full-fat dairy products, and coconut oil; these foods have a negative effect on blood cholesterol. Trans fats are a type of “unhealthy” unsaturated fat. They are found in some margarine, crackers, cookies, snack foods, and any processed food made with partially hydrogenated oils. Trans fats have been shown to increase the amount of “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood and lower the amount of “good” HDL cholesterol. Consuming high amounts of trans fats is believed to increase the risk of coronary heart disease and coronary artery disease.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are present in many different types of food but should be supplemented during any period of weight loss, since food intake is reduced. After gastric bypass surgery the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals is decreased. Vitamin and mineral supplements are essential for your health. We will discuss what to take during your appointments with our dietician.