We at Beyond Change are pleased to have Julie Parrot MS, RDN join us. I have known Julie for many years and I am honored to not only call her an amazing advocate and educator of bariatric patients but to also call her my friend. Welcome Julie
Below is the first of Julie's articles.
Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, but only a registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) is a food and nutrition expert who meets academic and professional requirements including a bachelor's degree with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery (WLS) involves changes to your daily diet in order to support the newly altered anatomy after WLS. Different WLS require different supplement regimens, since most WLS create an inability to eat and drink as much or as fast as you once did. Specific protein-rich foods will be emphasized early after WLS; whereas carbohydrates and healthy fat should be incorporated once you meet your protein needs and continue to move toward a healthy balanced diet. It is important that you learn key nutrition related changes that you can expect to occur after your WLS and continue to see an RD for progression of your diet and supplements needed for many years after WLS.
Many WLS programs have thorough medical and nutritional evaluations before surgery, however nutrition related care after WLS tends to be inadequate. Do you remember the numerous blood tests or “labs” you had before WLS? Many of those “labs” were performed to determine if you had a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Many of these same labs should be checked periodically after surgery. Some of the more common labs include vitamin B12, folate, iron, and vitamin D. If you have any nutrient deficiencies, you should receive instructions how to change your diet and /supplement regimen. In some cases, deficiencies may be caused by taking too much or too little of a supplement. Over time, you may forget to take your vitamin and mineral supplements. You may not immediately experience symptoms that are associated with missed supplements, but an RD will be able to identify and help determine if you have any vitamin or mineral deficiencies and the changes you will need to make to treat and prevent future nutrient deficiencies. This is one of the many ways an RD can help you feel your best after WLS by ensuring that you are in the driver’s seat and you know what to do and how to do it. Julie Parrot M.S., R.D.N.