Sunday, April 14, 2013

What Your Bariatric Surgeon Forgot to Tell You That Will Cause Weight Gain

A significant number of people who undergo bariatric surgery for weight loss will at some point regain some of the weight they lost initially with surgery. Patients who stray from the high protein diet prescribed by weight loss surgery nutritionists to eat simple processed carbohydrates, called slurry foods, are likely to gain weight. Learn why.

By Kaye Bailey 

This year nearly 250,000 Americans will undergo a bariatric weight loss surgery procedure that will alter the digestive system so significantly it will cause them to lose a dramatic amount of weight rather quickly as they engage in battle against obesity, the leading cause of preventable death in this country. Down the road a startling number of these same people will begin to regain weight and they will naively think the weight loss surgery has failed. In most cases the surgery has not failed: the weight gain can be blamed on excessive consumption of slurry food, something most patients were never warned about before going under the knife.

Slurry food, more commonly described as slider food,is a watery liquid food solution of simple processed carbohydrates containing scant nutritional value. The substance usually comes from crackers, pretzels, cracker snacks, popcorn, cheese snacks, potato chips or tortilla chips, or sugar-free cookies, cakes, and candy. The foods are chewed and washed down with liquids into the surgical stomach pouch where the gastric muscles churn them into slurry which slips directly into the intestine to be quickly processed and stored as body fat. Patients of all bariatric weight loss procedures including gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding (lap-band), and gastric sleeve, are prone to weight gain if copious amounts of slurry food are consumed.

Surgeons instruct patients prior to weight loss surgery about the Four Rules of surgery. In short the Four Rules mandate a high protein diet, drinking lots of water, no snacking and following a daily exercise program. Masked between eating a high protein diet and no snacking is the unstated consequence that eating empty carbohydrate snack foods washed down with liquids results in weight gain. Bariatric surgery works to cause weight loss because it restricts the amount of energy (food) that can be consumed and in many procedures it inhibits the body's ability to absorb nutrients from food therefore disallowing storage of excess body fat. 

After surgery many bariatric patients find the restrictive feeling following eating to be uncomfortable, yet it is the very nature of the surgical gastric pouch to cause a tight restricted feeling after a small amount of solid food has been consumed. This signals the patient to stop eating. Uncomfortable with this restricted feeling, many patients turn to softer processed simple carbohydrates or junk food that can be washed down with liquids creating slurry. The uncomfortable restricted feeling never occurs and patients can eat unmeasured portions without feeling discomfort. Soon the weight loss they were enjoying has stopped and weight regain begins.

Many patients will mistakenly blame their surgical stomach pouch thinking it has stretched out or is no longer working correctly. However, patients who return to a diet of lean protein and avoid drinking liquids with meals will quickly discover the uncomfortable pouch restriction still occurs bringing feelings of fullness with small servings of food. Continued compliance with the high protein diet eventually leads to weight loss once again. 

For weight loss surgery patients protein is not always the most comfortable food choice because of the tightness that results following eating. However, for bariatric surgery to work correctly and sustain long-term weight loss and weight maintenance, a high protein diet void of simple processed carbohydrates must be followed consistently.

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