Bariatric Nutrition Evaluation

What To Expect at Your Bariatric Nutrition Evaluation

November 27, 2015

Bariatric Nutrition Evaluation: We know that many of you may be asking yourselves what you should do with the extra weight that you are carrying. You are not alone!  More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are struggling with obesity. You may be nervous and hesitant to discuss surgery as an option. But ask yourself what's scarier - living with the extra pounds on your body and knowing co-morbidities will catch up with you, or making the decision to go through with surgery and change your life.

Obesity-related co-morbidities include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, which are some of the leading causes of preventable death. We know that health care costs are rising, and the estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 and the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. It’s important to think about how this not only impacts quality of life, but how much money you’d be saving in the long run.

Bariatric Nutrition Evaluation: Nutrition and Exercise Are Critical

Surgery is not the easy way out - we know it’s only one component of success. Nutritional management in addition to exercise and behavior change are critical to weight-loss success. After counseling clients who struggle with their weight, I believe it’s important for you to know what to expect when meeting with a dietitian as part of your pre-surgical bariatric nutrition evaluation.

The dietitian will give you several options for weight loss and surgery may be one. The dietitian visit will likely include a review of your weight history, labs, medical history, current eating habits and physical activity. The dietitian will also address areas that you struggle with and provide you with suggestions on how to improve these habits and behaviors. As we know, knowledge is different than application, so these goals will be individualized to you.

Making changes now makes for easier success later

Although every program has different nutritional guidelines some of the changes you may want to consider implementing now include increasing protein intake, eating smaller more frequent meals, engaging in physical activity such as a short walk, finding a protein drink and chewable vitamin regiment. It’s also important to start thinking about how you can limit alcohol, caffeine, and refined and processed carbohydrates. This may sound overwhelming, but remember that the dietitian in addition to the multi-disciplinary team are there to support you. Beginning to work on these changes now will make it easier to adapt to your life after surgery. Don’t strive for perfection, focus on the progress that you are making and realize that the small steps will lead to success.

If surgery is something that you think is right for you, the dietitian will also go over what you should be eating prior to surgery as well as the weeks to follow. After surgery your stomach is healing so a slow reintroduction to foods is typically tolerated better. Meeting your hydration and protein needs is crucial and this is where your protein drink regiment will fit in.

We know that patients who are supported are more successful, so this initial meeting will be one of many. When deciding on a bariatric clinic, make sure your team is not only dynamic but a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence. Connecting with the entire multidisciplinary team and knowing your resources is important in making a lifestyle change!

Jessica Crandall is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator for Denver Wellness and Nutrition

Bariatric Nutrition Evaluation


Jessica Crandall is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator for Denver Wellness and Nutrition-Sodexo GM. She is also a National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Jessica specializes in nutritional counseling in weight management, bariatric education, cardiac diet modification, renal diet guidance, celiac disease, diabetes nutrition counseling, oncology, and also works with children with feeding with special nutritional needs. She is a Certified Diabetes Educator and Aerobics Instructor.