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  Weight Loss and Metabolic Surgery Program
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Nutrition FAQs

Q: I can't drink the amount of protein shakes I am supposed to. What should I do?

A: Take it slow and take one day at a time. If you can only drink a small amount, that's fine. Eventually your stomach will be able to handle 3-4 protein shakes a day.

Q: I can't get my vitamins in. What should I do?

A: There are other forms of vitamins you can take. Bariatric Advantage and Celebrate make capsules. Check with the dietitian to see how many you will need to take a day. Another option is to crush your multivitamin and put it into your shake or soft meal. Be sure then to drink the entire shake or eat the entire meal.

Q: What if I forgot to take my multivitamin? Should I double my next dose?

A: No. If you double your calcium or take both of your multivitamins at the same time, they won't be well absorbed. It is important that you take your calcium, multivitamin and other supplements as directed by the dietitian.

Q: Can I take over-the-counter supplements like chewy Multi-Vites, Centrum chews, or Flintstones?

A: No. These formulas are incomplete and will not provide you with the micronutrients your body needs. Many over-the-counter supplements are made from synthetic ingredients that the body doesn't recognize nor will absorb. If you have a specific multivitamin or calcium you would like to take, please bring it in so the dietitian can review the label to see if it will meet your needs after surgery.

Q: How much weight will I expect to lose and over what time period?

A: It is estimated that bypass patients will lose 65-90% of their excess weight in the first year and sleeve patients will lose 60-70% of their excess weight in the first year. Band patients will lose 25% of their excess weight in the first year.

Q: What should I do if I get constipated?

A: Water, water, water. You went through a big surgery and your body is trying to re-adapt. You are eating more protein and taking more calcium which can cause constipation. Remember to keep hydrated and always sip on your water or sugar-free beverages. Exercise, such as walking, also helps get things moving.

Q: Will I lose my hair?

A: After weight loss surgery you have two major risk factors for hair loss: major surgery and rapid weight loss. The two minerals that play a role in hair loss are iron and zinc. Iron deficiency is highly related to hair loss more so than a zinc deficiency. It is very important that you take your multivitamin daily and eat your recommended protein amount. If you do experience hair loss, it should subside within the first year of having surgery.

Q: What are the signs/symptoms of dehydration?

A: Dark, smelly urine; dizziness; dry mouth and swollen tongue, weakness, palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding); confusion; sluggishness; fainting; decreased urine output

Q: Can I drink alcohol?

A: No. Alcohol is completely off limits for the first 6-12 months after surgery. Your stomach doesn't have the necessary enzymes to break down alcohol. Without the enzymes, the alcohol goes directly into the bloodstream and to the liver. Plus, you are drinking empty calories (they have no nutritional value whatsoever) which will slow down your weight loss. Plus, alcohol can cause dehydration.

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