Weight loss or bariatric surgery has a diet and lifestyle changes as a significant component of the preparation prior to surgery. The bariatric dietician is pivotal in preparing the bariatric patient for surgery and the lifestyle changes that come with it. The preoperative period is usually intense with the dietician seeing the patient every few weeks; this is reduced postoperatively as the patient starts losing weight.
Dieticians play a vital role and studies have shown that regular nutritional follow-up increases weight reduction postoperatively and reduces the chance of regaining lost weight. The dietician estimates the amount of macronutrients consumed, makes a balanced diet and advises on behavioural changes needed to allow for and preserve weight loss.
The role of the bariatric dietician may be understood as follows
- Preoperative nutritional evaluation, presurgery diet and supplementation
- Postoperative diet progression, modification of eating-related behaviours and nutritional management of common gastrointestinal symptoms
- Lifelong nutritional supplementation and postoperative follow-up
Postoperative follow-up and patient monitoring increase the odds for successful weight loss, and the dietician is a very important part of this journey.