If you're one of the 250,000 people in North America who had weight-loss surgery last year, it's important to avoid nutritional deficiencies that can take a big toll on your health.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who had gastric lap-band surgery (his stomach was constricted, so less would pass through) in 2013, may not have gotten the message. News reports indicate the Guv - who doesn't like veggies and only eats green beans, lettuce and cucumbers - may not be monitoring his intake of nutrients. Such a nutritional lane closure can damage the digestive thruway. (Sorry, Guv, even if we love you, we couldn't resist.)
Such problems are pretty common. In one recent survey, 50 percent of gastric surgery patients were deficient in 13 essential nutrients, such as protein, vitamin D-3 and calcium, but consumed too much sodium and fat. These imbalances increase an individual's risk for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and weak bones, and may contribute to the development of everything from cancer to kidney stones and, yes, cognitive impairment.
Some post-gastric-surgery tips to make sure you get the nutrition you need:
- Don't drink liquid while eating; you may not have room for important foods.
- Eat plenty of low-fat proteins, like fish and skinless chicken, whole grains, nonfat dairy, and beans.
- Take a multivitamin with iron (half in the morning, half at night) plus supplements of calcium (three doses of 400 mg daily), vitamin B-12 and 900 mg DHA omega-3.
Then you (and Gov. Christie) will be able to keep the bridge between weight-loss surgery and good health open.