5 myths about Bariatric Surgery

5 myths about Bariatric Surgery

Myth 1: Vitamin and Mineral Supplements are unnecessary.

Patients who have undergone bariatric surgery consume fewer calories and, as a consequence, fewer vitamins and minerals. Besides, with the change in digestive transit, common in most surgical techniques, there is a change in the specific site for absorption of vitamins and minerals.

As a result, patients need to consume a greater amount of micronutrients to overcome this partial inability to absorb essential nutrients for maintaining their health. Therefore, the use of polyvitamins and polyminerals becomes routine for the bariatric patient. Contrary to what many people think, multivitamins do not produce fat because they have no caloric value.

Myth 2: Bariatric Patients become weak and lose a lot of Muscle Mass.

Those who undergo regular clinical follow-up and adhere to adequate supplements will not necessarily present nutritional deficiencies.

These deficiencies can be prevented through specific supplements and healthy eating habits. Furthermore, bariatric patients may lose muscle mass in the first postoperative year, when weight loss is more intense. However, this situation can be controlled with the use of specific supplements.

The loss of muscle mass among bariatric patients does not appear to be greater than the similar loss that occurs among patients who lose weight following traditional clinical treatment that includes diets and medications.

Myth 3: Patients undergoing Bariatric Surgery absorb few Calories from their Diet.

Recent studies have shown that there is an impediment to the absorption of micronutrients. However, these patients do not have great difficulties in absorbing calories, carbohydrates and proteins.

Carbohydrates are almost totally absorbed and proteins suffer a reduction of about 5% in their absorption rate, but this does not seem to disrupt the total result, since fats suffer a larger reduction rate, ranging from 25% to 30% after the Gastric Bypass. Something close to 10 or 12 grams of fat is lost daily, on average, through feces.

The absorption of calories is reduced by 10% to 11%, related to the decrease in the absorption of fats. These results show that bariatric surgery seems to have metabolic effects that outweigh the possible difficulty in absorbing calories, meaning that the main effect of this surgery on weight loss is not due to malabsorption of calories.

Myth 4: Protein Supplements are only needed for Patients who practice regular Physical Activity and should be used only on Training Days.

Anyone who undergoes bariatric surgery cannot consume enough protein to maintain muscle mass, if they follow their diet. Therefore, complementing the post-bariatric diet, daily supplementation is important, even if the patient does not practice physical activity. The focus is on lower consumption levels and not just the presence of physical activity.

A recent systematic review of more than 700 bariatric patients has shown that this population does not reach a minimum of 60 grams of protein through their diet, requiring supplemental support to achieve the minimum recommendation.

Myth 5: Bariatric Patients should consume a pasty Diet to avoid the Occurrence of Vomiting.

Patients need to follow a liquid diet shortly after surgery to assist and protect the healing process. This phase occurs during the first 4 weeks post-surgery, depending on the procedure and routine of the healthcare professionals accompanying the patient.

After this phase, a mild diet can be consumed, including foods of normal consistency, softened by cooking, e.g., steamed vegetables, fruits and roasted or cooked meats. After 45 days, patients can include insoluble fibers, e.g., raw salad and fruit skins.

The pasty diet should not be used for too long as it may interfere with weight loss. Pasty foods do not favor satiety, so patients may be at greater risk of slower or insufficient weight loss.

What helps in preventing vomiting are healthy habits, such as eating slowly and chewing food. Putting down the silverware between mouthfuls also helps in reducing the speed of the meal.

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