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Decoding Nutrition Labels: A Bariatric Guide to Informed Eating – Bariatric Edition

If you need any assistance with bariatric recipes or food plans, download the App “Bariatric Expert”. I’ve uploaded free recipes and menus to help you along your journey with all the macronutrient breakdowns there to support you and your goals.


Navigating the path of bariatric surgery involves making conscious choices that support your health and well-being. A crucial tool in this journey is the nutrition label, providing a wealth of information about the foods you consume. Understanding how to decipher these labels empowers you to make informed choices that align with your post-surgery goals. In this blog, we’ll unravel the mysteries of nutrition labels, helping you take charge of your diet and nourish your body effectively.


Reading the Serving Size and Servings Per Container: The foundation of decoding a nutrition label begins with the serving size and servings per container. This information sets the stage for accurate nutrient evaluation. Adjusting portions to your bariatric needs ensures you’re consuming an appropriate amount of nutrients while preventing overconsumption. Remember, your portion sizes may differ from those stated on the label, so use this as a guide for adaptation.


Calories: Understanding calorie content is vital in your weight management journey. The number of calories per serving indicates the energy you’re consuming. For bariatric patients, it’s essential to prioritize nutrient-dense options that offer maximum nourishment for the calories consumed. This knowledge enables you to make choices that align with your calorie goals and promote steady weight loss.


Protein Content: Protein is the cornerstone of the bariatric diet. When analyzing nutrition labels, focus on the protein content per serving. Adequate protein intake supports muscle preservation, boosts metabolism, and promotes a feeling of fullness. Look for foods that provide a substantial amount of protein while keeping an eye on other nutrients.


Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates play a role in blood sugar management and overall health. Pay attention to the breakdown of carbohydrates into sugar, fiber, and total carbs. For bariatric patients, opting for foods higher in fiber and lower in sugar can help prevent rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, supporting balanced energy and stable hunger.


Fats: The types of fats in your diet matter greatly. Evaluate the saturated, unsaturated, and trans fat content on the label. Bariatric patients should prioritize unsaturated fats while minimizing saturated and trans fats. Incorporating healthy fats supports heart health, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and overall well-being.


Sodium (Salt): Monitoring sodium intake is crucial, particularly post-surgery. Excessive sodium can lead to water retention and impact blood pressure. Check the sodium content per serving and choose options that are lower in sodium. This practice aligns with your goal of maintaining balanced fluid levels and overall cardiovascular health.


Vitamins and Minerals: While many nutrition labels don’t provide a comprehensive breakdown of vitamins and minerals, they may highlight certain essential nutrients. Keep an eye out for nutrients like calcium, iron, and vitamins, especially those you need to prioritize in your bariatric journey. Supplementing wisely can help bridge nutritional gaps.


Decoding nutrition labels empowers you to make choices that reflect your bariatric goals. Armed with this knowledge, you can navigate the supermarket aisles with confidence, selecting foods that nourish your body while aligning with your post-surgery needs. Embrace the information on nutrition labels as your ally in achieving optimal health and a successful bariatric journey. Remember, every choice you make is a step toward a healthier you.  


If you need any assistance with bariatric recipes or food plans, download the App “Bariatric Expert”. I’ve uploaded free recipes and menus to help you along your journey with all the macronutrient breakdowns there to support you and your goals.


Healthy Hugs,


About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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