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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

WLS Myth Busting: After surgery you have to take all those vitamins

MYTH: After gastric bypass you can never be nutritionally healthy and you have to take all those vitamins for the rest of your life.

THE FACTS: It is a mistaken notion that weight loss surgery patients cannot lead a nutritionally sound life. The assumption is due to the restrictive and malabsorptive nature of the surgery it is impossible to eat a nutritionally sound diet. When good food choices are combined with a solid vitamin and mineral supplement program weight loss patients will enjoy good nutritional health. In fact, after surgery, most weight loss patients are more nutritionally balanced than before surgery.

Furthermore, evidence now suggests most Americans should take vitamin and mineral supplements to balance their nutritional wellness. In the 2005 Dietary Guidelines published jointly by the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Health & Human Services the government concedes that dietary supplements are a useful source of nutrients when nutritional needs are not being met through diet. Here’s the quote:
A basic premise of the Dietary Guidelines is that nutrient needs should be met primarily through consuming foods. Foods provide an array of nutrients and other compounds that may have beneficial effects on health. In certain cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful sources of one or more nutrients that otherwise might be consumed in less than recommended amounts. However, dietary supplements, while recommended in some cases, cannot replace a healthful diet.

Check out the person who badgers you about your vitamin habit – I’d bet my bariatric butt they don’t meet their RDI of vitamins, and in fact, in most cases I bet they don’t have a clue what the guidelines are for vitamin and mineral intake. In addition, WLS patients who return annually to their bariatric centers (and remember, that’s part of the long-term commitment we made, right?) have our blood tested and our nutritional health analyzed. We have the opportunity to meet with a nutritionist to assess our vitamin and mineral needs and make adjustments for better health. We are on top of the nutritional game when we follow the program.

Now the Lecture: Bariatric patients who desire optimum health and nutrition will take dietary supplements every day. Taking vitamins is a good thing. Before surgery I did not meet my body’s nutritional needs with my poor eating behavior, I did not take supplements and I did not feel well. Now, dietary supplementation is a habit and I feel great. I do not suffer from colds, anemia or brittle bones. My vascular and respiratory systems are healthy. My skin glows and my hair is lush and healthy. I don’t miss a day taking my vitamin cocktail because I love the way being nutritionally healthy makes me feel. (For easy to use reference charts, see the subscriber incentive.)

Definitions: The Food and Drug Administration considers vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, animal extracts, amino acids, proteins, concentrates, and teas dietary supplements. The FDA governs the labeling and intake recommendations for dietary supplements. The following are FDA terms for describing dietary and nutritional needs:

DVs: Daily Values – Daily values are two sets of references: DRV’s and RDIs.

DRVs: Daily Reference Values - a set of dietary references that applies to fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, carbohydrate, protein, fiber, sodium, and potassium

RDIs: Reference Daily Intakes - a set of dietary references based on the Recommended Dietary Allowances for essential vitamins and minerals and, in selected groups, protein. RDI’s are essential to our health.

RDAs: Recommended Dietary Allowances – a set of estimated nutrient allowances required daily to maintain good health - established by the National Academy of Sciences. It is updated periodically to reflect current scientific knowledge. RDA’s set the minimum intakes of vitamins and minerals and protein needed for the average person to stay healthy – these intakes vary by age and gender.

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