Walk Talk Nutrition: Bariatric Surgery


In this episode of Walk Talk Nutrition, we discuss bariatric surgery.  Lately, the main stream media has been full of cheery stories about the bariatric surgery.  It looks like a PR effort to make this look like a weight loss option for more people.  In fact, not everyone qualifies for the surgery, and there are some very serious lifelong effects that patients need to consider.  No coffee?!

Would either of us choose that route, if we were morbidly obese?  A split decision.

Costs just for the surgery range from $20,000 to $25,000.  Insurance coverage may apply.

After surgery, patients need to follow life-long diet restrictions:

  1. 800-1000 calories per day
  2. at least 60 grams of protein
  3. high protein foods at all meals
  4. no fluids at meals
  5. 64 oz of fluids every day, between meals
  6. 3 small meals of 1/2 cup to 1 cup total volume/day
  7. no snacking
  8. strict limits on consumption of high fiber fruit, vegetables and grain foods (fiber supplements typically necessary)
  9. no caffeine, alcohol or carbonated beverages
  10. no use of straws
  11. mandatory vitamin and mineral supplements daily
  12. after recovery, exercise is recommended as part of the weight loss process


  1. If you follow the diet guidelines, you may lose 1/3 of your starting body weight after 1 year.  Some patients eventually lose enough weight to achieve a normal BMI (20-25).
  2. If you push the food limits and start eating around the surgery (ex: constant snacking), you could regain lost weight.
  3. If you fail to stick to fluid and supplement criteria, you could end up with nutritional deficiencies, dehydration or other medical problems.
  4. If you overeat, or eat too much fat/sugar at a meal, you could experience unpleasant or painful digestive side effects.

For more information on bariatric surgery:

Details and pictures of common bariatric surgeries from the NIH Weight Control Information Network.

Information on bariatric surgery from The Cleveland Clinic.

American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery website.

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