Bariatric surgery represents both an end and a beginning for patients. It’s the end of life limited by weight and health issues, and it’s the beginning of a life of brand new wellness opportunities. However, the transition doesn’t happen on its own.
Rather, “Surgery with good aftercare and moderate lifestyle changes can give wonderful long-term results for health and weight,” says the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).
Although supplements are an important part of the aforementioned aftercare, supplements alone aren’t enough. Bariatric patients must also commit to lifestyle changes, including following a bariatric diet.
Here’s a closer look at the issue of bariatric surgery supplements, along with how bariatric meal replacements products can help weight loss patients adhere to the post-op guidelines while maximizing their nutritional intake.
Following weight loss surgery, patients must adopt many new habits, including taking daily supplements. This is important for several reasons. For starters, it ensures that patients get adequate vitamins and minerals now that they’re eating less food.
Also, because certain weight loss procedures put patients at increased risk for deficiencies, supplements can help make up the deficit and/or treat nutritional deficiencies if they arise. While different doctors may recommend different vitamins for bariatric patients, the most commonly prescribed supplements include multivitamins, calcium, vitamin B12 and iron.
It’s vital for weight loss patients to take their recommended supplements for one simple reason: If they don’t take them, there’s no way for them to work. Cautions Obesity Action: “Most nutritional deficiencies are easier to prevent than to treat, and once you have had surgery, your risk for developing a problem never goes away. Sticking with your basic nutritional program will help assure both your health and your success.”
But experts are also quick to warn that bariatric supplements are not a “magic bullet” for weight loss or nutrition on their own. Unfortunately, some bariatric patients may be quick to conclude that just because they’re taking supplements, their nutritional needs are automatically met.
This is not the case. By nature (and by name), supplements are entirely supplemental to the bariatric diet. Concludes the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, “If you don’t eat a nutritious variety of foods, some supplements might help you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients. However, supplements can’t take the place of the variety of foods that are important to a healthy diet.”
Learning to eat complete “bariatric meals” that are low in calories, high in protein, and rich in nutrients is also an integral part of the post-op lifestyle. However, this can be much easier said than done in today’s busy world. Sometimes weight loss patients need a bit of help when it comes to eating right, which is what makes meal replacements so paramount.
In discussing the significant growth anticipated within the global meal replacement market between 2017 and 2021, Research and Markets contends: “One driver in the market is health benefits associated with meal replacement products. The modern lifestyle has led to considerable changes in the dietary habits of people across the world. Consumers are becoming more health conscious and seeking food products with more nutritional content. The hectic lifestyle of consumers is also increasing the demand for meal replacement products.”
In other words, when it’s not possible for weight loss patients to prepare the bariatric meals they need to stay on track, bariatric meal replacements can bridge the gap. Again, this is not a role that supplements alone can fulfill.
Of course, not all meal replacement options are equal, which is why it’s imperative to find ones that actually deliver what they promise. Achieve from Rational Foods does exactly that. Made with whole, organic ingredients like real fruits, vegetables, and yogurt, these portable, ready-to-eat meals contain plenty of protein, along with a breadth and depth of other vitamins and minerals specially formulated for optimal health.
The overall takeaway for registered dietitians working with bariatric patients: In addition to reinforcing the necessity of following their doctors’ recommendations regarding supplements, it’s also useful to introduce meal replacement options as an invaluable resource for adherence toward lasting health and wellness.