Some of the more common complications following weight loss surgery are nutrition related. This is due to the fact that many people find it difficult to consume the proper amount of protein and vitamins after surgery, regardless of the type of surgery performed. While many techniques are used, including lap band surgery, gastric sleeve, gastric balloon and gastric bypass, all procedures limit the amount of food that can be consumed and limit the amount of nutrients that are absorbed from food.

People who undergo weight loss surgery have to carefully monitor their nutritional needs to avoid serious, sometimes deadly, malnutrition. Following are four ways to avoid malnutrition after weight loss surgery.

Take Prescribed Vitamins
Patients are prescribed vitamin and mineral supplements after surgery. The supplements are intended to be taken each and every day for the rest of their life. If they don’t take their supplements, they may develop deficiency-related illnesses, such as pellagra, heart failure and dementia. One of the easiest ways to avoid severe complications is to take all vitamins and minerals as prescribed.

Eat Enough Protein
After surgery, patients should consume plenty of protein to avoid nutritional deficiency. Women need between 60 to 80 grams of protein per day, while men need between 70 and 90 grams per day. Consuming a high-protein diet consisting, first and foremost, of plant-based protein, animal protein and protein supplements, like shakes, is recommended. Since plant-based proteins are more complete, they are recommended above all other protein sources.

Avoid Filling Foods
Surgery limits the patient’s ability to consume large amounts of food. Therefore, patients should avoid filling up with foods that don’t offer a great deal of nutrition and protein. Sugary snacks, junk food, bread, pasta and so forth are very filling, leaving very little room for the consumption of high-protein foods. It’s important to keep in mind that someone can develop malnutrition even if they are eating consistently. The key to staying healthy is eating the right foods.

Eat Small Meals
Small, frequent meals are preferred over large, spaced-out meals for weight loss surgery patients. It’s important for the patient to eat small meals that are high in protein every few hours to keep their nutrition and energy levels up.

Gastric surgery patients have to learn to eat differently to avoid malnutrition after surgery. However, if they follow all instructions regarding diet and medication, they should be able to avoid nutrition-related complications after surgery.

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