Lately, as I’ve been having discussions with you all, I’ve been trying to explain the nutrient priorities of a bariatric patient. Most of us understand that protein is necessary and is a top priority following surgery. However, we often forget how we should be prioritizing other foods as well. I searched to see if anyone had ever devised a bariatric pyramid and low and behold it exists! Dr. Sharma created this pyramid, which I think does a decent job showing how we want to eat.
The bottom of the pyramid is the things we should focus on at meals and as the pyramid moves towards the top we eat less. Dr. Sharma’s pyramid does have exercise and supplementation at the very bottom, which is very important post-surgery (remember supplementation differs based on procedure). Next, protein is the most important nutrient to be consuming after surgery. Lean protein should be included at each meal. After protein, we have fruits and vegetables. We should look to have a variety of different colors in our fruits and vegetables. If we still have room after protein, fruits and vegetables, then breads and grains come into play. We want to look for more whole grain and whole wheat foods and options. Finally, high fat/high sugar options and alcohol are at the top of the pyramid. These foods and drinks should be consumed sparingly.
Does your current intake match this pyramid? Make sure you are prioritizing your meals and getting in the important nutrients on a regular basis.
*See the full pyramid here!
Katherine Horner, MS, RD, LD, NASM-CPT, CES
Surgical Weight Loss Dietitian & Exercise Specialist