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  1. Exam Room Podcast

  2. Mar 22, 2018

Vegan After Weight Loss Surgery

Every year tens of thousands of people living with morbid obesity turn to weight loss surgery in hopes of finding a solution to a problem that is not only threatening their quality of life, but life itself.

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Regardless of the type of bariatric procedure they elect to undergo, each patient is tasked with navigating a new nutritional course. Their journey will extend beyond simply making healthier food choices. Most will be tasked with rediscovering their body’s relationship with food—how it is tolerated and more importantly, how it is digested.

Nutrient deficiencies can be a common problem for post-op patients due to the reduced stomach capacity. Additionally, in some procedures such as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), the surgeon will reroute a newly created stomach pouch (often the size of a golf ball) to bypass a portion of the small intestine. It is in the bypassed portion of the small intestine that vitamins and nutrients would have experienced the highest rates of absorption. 

Little research has been done on the effect of countering malabsorption with a nutrient-dense, whole-food, plant-based diet. And that is what we will explore on this episode. 

Chuck Carroll lost 265 pounds after undergoing RYGB in the fall of 2009 and has kept off every pound. It wasn’t until years later that he switched to a plant-based diet after discovering the vast health benefits it provides. The dietary change also led to an additional 15-pound weight loss.

With the assistance of Stephen Neabore, M.D., and Aly Luning, R.D., C.S.O.W.M., from the Barnard Medical Center, Chuck had his nutrient levels thoroughly examined through a series of blood tests. On this episode, the trio explore the results, which you can download below, and examine the effect of a whole-food, plant-based diet on a post-op bariatric patient.

Is it possible to go vegan following weight loss surgery? The answer is a resounding yes, according to Chuck and Dr. Neabore and Luning. Their consensus is shared by bariatric surgeon and plant-based advocate Garth Davis, M.D.

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