Overweight, Yet Malnourished? Not Only Possible but Common.
When patients are overweight, it is easy to assume they are getting the nutrition they need in the form of vitamins and minerals in abundance — in over-abundance even. However, many patients with excess weight are shocked to discover they may be malnourished.
Proper nutrition and calories do not necessarily go together. You can consume thousands of extra calories a week, and they may not contribute one bit to your overall health or nutritional status. For example, empty calories often found in white bread, white rice, processed sugar, and more don’t offer much in vitamins and minerals. Instead, they may only serve to pack on the pounds and set us up for heightened sugar cravings in the future. On the other hand, very low-calorie, nutrition-dense foods such as certain vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins offer many vitamins and minerals that can keep us healthy and reduce excess weight.
How do you know you may be malnourished?
The body has a delicate balance, and when this is thrown off, there are outward signs of these imbalances. Some of the common symptoms of malnourishment can include feeling tired all the time, difficulty concentrating, memory issues, various physical issues from brittle nails to losing hair, cravings for certain foods that contain the minerals in which you may be deficient, and much more. Of course, these symptoms can also manifest due to other health concerns, and as such, periodic visits to your primary care physician for complete bloodwork is appropriate. This bloodwork can give you an idea of your deficiencies, and your doctor can start you on a proper corrective regimen.
One of the most common deficiencies seen in many Americans is low Vitamin D. Common deficiencies in post-surgical bariatric patients are vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and more. Your primary care physician or bariatric surgeon can help you identify these and correct them with appropriate supplementation.
Of course, we do not suggest starting a supplementation regimen without the oversight of your medical team. So be sure to speak to your doctor before starting a new supplementation regimen. That said, bariatric patients will have routine follow-ups after surgery. Blood will be drawn intermittently to check for any vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Patients will also be given guidelines regarding prescribed vitamin and mineral supplements they will take over the entire postoperative life. For more information about the postoperative bariatric surgery diet, nutrition, and staying healthy, we encourage you to watch our online bariatric surgery seminar and schedule a consultation with our office.