MUSC Bariatric Surgery Program

bariatric surgery PROGRAM

Q & A with the RDs

If you have an nutrition question or concern, ask your registered dietitian (RD) for advice. Below you will see some questions other patients have asked and how our RDs, Nina and Debbie, have responded.

If you have a nutrition question that is not answered below, e-mail our dietitians.

  1. What do I do with dry milk? Do I just sprinkle it in food? Will that make the food too thick?
  2. I couldn't find sugar free applesauce but I found one that says no sugar added. It has 11 grams of sugar per serving. Is that the right applesauce for me to eat?
  3. Are instant mashed potatoes okay or do I have to make real potatoes?
  4. I found a drink mix called Vita Splash. It is sugar and fat free. I bought the one that is fiber enriched. The 1st three ingredients are: inulin (chicory root extract), citric acid, and natural flavors. I don’t know what chicory root is. Can I drink this?    
  5. I found some grape juice that has 40 g of sugar per serving but the labels says it is all natural fruit sugar.  Can I drink this?
  6. Can I drink V-8 juice?
  7. Can I drink Special K protein water?
  8. I don’t like the baby food meats so I have been eating a lot of oatmeal. Can I eat too much oatmeal?
  9. Do you think wheat germ sprinkled on my food will provide me with additional nutrients? Will it add too much texture? The first three ingredients are wheat germ, vitamin E acetate, folic acid.
  10. Carnation instant breakfast packets has 20 grams of sugar. Is that amount of sugar okay?
  11. Is Slim Fast okay in the first few weeks after surgery?
  12. The only calcium supplement I can find is calcium citrate with vitamin D added. Is it okay to take calcium with the vitamin D?
  13. I have been noticing some hair loss. Is there anything extra I can take so I don’t lose my hair?
  14. My weight loss has slowed this week. Is this normal?
  15. What food do you recommend as the best choice for the highest nutritional value in the smallest serving?
  16. Do you have any dietary information on the Sleeve Gastrectomy?
  17. Do you have any dietary information on the StomaphyX procedure?

1. What do I do with dry milk? Do I just sprinkle it in food? Will that make the food too thick?

Yes, you can add dry milk to foods to bump up the protein content. Try adding it to grits, soups, smoothies and even applesauce. If the food gets too thick, you can thin it out with water. You can also add it to skim milk if you find skim milk too thin and watery. This will make milk feel thicker by adding protein without any of the fat. 

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2. I couldn't find sugar free applesauce but I found one that says no sugar added. It has 11 grams of sugar per serving. Is that the right applesauce for me to eat?

Yes. All fruits contain naturally occurring sugar so there will be grams of sugar on the label for any fruit product, such as applesauce, canned peaches, fruit juice. You just want to make sure no sugar has been ADDED, hence the claims "no sugar added" or "unsweetened applesauce".

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3Are instant mashed potatoes okay or do I have to make real potatoes?

Instant are fine. You only want 2 servings per day from this starch group anyway and only after you have eaten your protein, fruits and vegetables.

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4. I found a drink mix called Vita Splash. It is sugar and fat free. I bought the one that is fiber enriched. The 1st three ingredients are: inulin (chicory root extract), citric acid, and natural flavors. I don’t know what chicory root is. Can I drink this?

Yes, this is fine. The chicory root is what is providing the fiber.

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5. I found some grape juice that has 40 g of sugar per serving but the labels says it is all natural fruit sugar.  Can I drink this?

Yes, all fruits contain naturally occurring sugar so there will be grams of sugar on the label for any fruit product, such as applesauce, canned peaches, fruit juice. You just want to make sure no sugar has been ADDED, hence the claims "no sugar added" or "100% fruit juice". All of your juice should not exceed 8 oz per day and once you are able to eat fruit (such as applesauce) you should cut back on the juice you drink.

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6. Can I drink V-8 juice?

Yes. One 4 oz serving counts as one serving of vegetable. It is a good way to get hydrated and get some veggies in your diet, especially while you are on pureed foods. V8 Splash, however, has fruits in it so it counts toward your fruit intake for the day and it is going to be higher in calories than the traditional vegetable juices.

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7.Can I drink Special K protein water?

Yes. One 16 oz bottle supplies you with 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. (Compared to milk which gives you 8 g protein per 8 oz.) Most importantly, it helps to keep you hydrated. It does have some sugar but it is low enough that you should tolerate it. Keep in mind it has 50 calories per bottle too. Vitamin water is not recommended because it is too high in sugar and calories.

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8. I don’t like the baby food meats so I have been eating a lot of oatmeal. Can I eat too much oatmeal?

Oatmeal is a great way to get in some fiber, especially when you are on purred foods. Thin it out with milk or water as much as you need to. Keep in mind that it is a starch which is not very high up on our list of important foods. Protein foods, fruits and vegetables are more nutritious choices. Limit your starch servings to not more than 2 per day.

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9. Do you think wheat germ sprinkled on my food will provide me with additional nutrients? Will it add too much texture? The first three ingredients are wheat germ, vitamin E acetate, folic acid.

Yes, wheat germ is a great nutrient booster. It provides some additional vitamins and protein and a nice, nutty taste. Using whole grains in your diet will also do this. How thick you can tolerate your foods is personal preference.

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10. Carnation instant breakfast packets has 20 grams of sugar. Is that amount of sugar okay?

You want the carnation instant breakfast with NO ADDED SUGAR (marketed as "carb smart") It will still have 11 grams of sugar or so listed but this is from the milk from which the carnation instant breakfast is made. Because those 11 grams are natural sugar (from the milk) you will tolerate it fine.  Keep in mind that powdered milk provides you with 8 g of protein per 1/3 cup.

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11. Is Slim Fast okay in the first few weeks after surgery?

Yes, Slim Fast Optima is a good choice. It has 10 grams of protein and 190 calories in 1 can (11 oz). The Ultra Slim Fast (the older version of Slim Fast) is too high in sugar. Glucerna is another good option.

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12. The only calcium supplement I can find is calcium citrate with vitamin D added. Is it okay to take calcium with the vitamin D?

Yes, added vitamin D is desirable. It helps you absorb the calcium better.

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13. I have been noticing some hair loss. Is there anything extra I can take so I don’t lose my hair?

Some hair loss after surgery is normal. We don’t know why some people lose their hair and others don’t but a quick drop in weight, abrupt changes in diet and increased nutrient needs from the physical stresses of surgery are all likely to play a role. Hair loss usually peaks within three to six months.  The best thing to do is make sure you are getting at least 60 grams of protein per day and taking your multivitamin as directed. Don’t worry - since the hair follicle is not damaged, it will grow back.

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14. My weight loss has slowed this week. Is this normal?

Sometimes weight loss may slow for a week or so then pick back up. This is called a “plateau”. If you think you have hit a plateau, consider these suggestions:

  • Keep a food diary to keep track of how many calories you are taking in. Sometimes the little nibbling or snacking can get away from us. If you are eating larger portions at a meal, you may not need to eat more than 3 times per day.
  • Make sure you are getting plenty of calorie-free  fluids, aim for 8 cups each day.
  • Make sure you are exercising every day. One of the best things you can do when you hit a plateau is to change your exercise routine – go harder, longer and/or more often. Also, if you haven’t started resistance training yet (with resistance bands, free weights or weight machines) starting this will re-start weight loss.

Plateaus are normal but if your weight is the same for longer than 2 weeks and you are less than 18 months from surgery, contact the dietitian for more help.

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15. What food do you recommend as the best choice for the highest nutritional value in the smallest serving?

This is a trick question because there is no ONE perfect food. That is why you need variety in your diet. But high quality proteins (especially lean meats, eggs, beans and low fat dairy) and fruits and vegetables are always a good bet!

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16. Do you have any dietary information on Sleeve Gastrectomy?

Basics on the diet after Sleeve Gastrectomy.

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17. Do you have any dietary information on the StomaphyX procedure?

Basics on the diet after StomaphyX procedure.

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