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The 3 most important food tips for short and long term bariatric success are
1. Protein first 2. Protein first 3. Protein first
For many people, the actual bariatric surgery isn’t even the hardest part of the process; it’s being able to successfully adapt to the radical change in eating habits. It requires a complete overhaul of habits, and modifying your lifestyle. ‘Protein first’ is the most important tip to remember moving forward in post op life. Protein first followed by colorful lower carb vegetables and fruits is the bariatric mantra.
Immediately following the surgery, bariatric patients have to first partake in stages of liquid and soft food diets and then slowly graduate to more solid, healthy food over the course of several months. Throughout the recovery process, and for the rest of their life, a comparatively drastic reduction in food portions is required to reap the benefits of bariatric surgery. With such a small amount of food consumed, ensuring those foods are nutrient rich and derived from the appropriate sources is essential to maintaining good health and preventing malnutrition.
The Importance of Protein
One of the most important macronutrients needed for bariatric patients is protein. It maintains proper muscle and organ function, and is a vehicle for a plethora of bodily processes like metabolism, DNA replication, digestion and proper immune system function. If dietary protein falls below what is needed, a deficiency may occur. Protein deficiency can lead to muscle mass wasting, hair loss, poor skin, weakness, fatigue, and eventually poor systemic function.
Patients who’ve undergone bariatric surgery can have a difficult time getting adequate protein from food alone. Thankfully, many different varieties of high quality protein supplements are available, such as powders, ready-to-drink shakes and protein bars.
Remember, with bariatric surgery the key is to get the highest nutrient intake in the smallest volume amount possible. That’s why the protein products selected for post-bariatric surgery patients are chosen and created to provide high-quality, concentrated protein with a minimum amount of filler or bulking ingredients. This means the sugars and fats have been minimized. Many are also supplemented with various vitamins and minerals to aid in protein absorption and effectiveness. Also, don’t worry about bland, unappetizing protein! Many delicious flavors are available, which range from melon, to caramel, to coffee.