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May 22, 2014:
In many states, the Affordable Care Act (or ObamaCare) does not cover bariatric surgery. However, some plans and providers may offer the treatment.

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Lap Band Horror Stories:

Everyone has their share of bariatric and lap band horror stories, usually involving improper placement, bleeding, or infections. Unfortunately the alternative could be diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

What Are Lap Band Diet Restrictions? Are They Like Bariatric Diet Guidelines?

Guide to eating when getting a lap band

Your dietician or doctor should be providing you with a list of acceptable foods following surgery. Lap band patients can eventually eat proteins, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains just like anyone else. Because you will be eating smaller portions, there has to be more nutrition in each bite. Avoid swallowing large chunks of salted fat. Lean protein is essential for muscles and tissues. These can include skinless chicken, lean pork, fish, eggs, beans, and beef. You may need supplements with iron, calcium, B-12, and other vitamins.

Lap Band DietLap band diet guidelines are very similar to those for bariatric (stomach stapling) patients in that the stomach's capacity is restricted. Therefore, no matter what lap band patients choose to eat, it is in smaller amounts than the average meal, but the wearer will feel full. The unfortunate consequences of overeating can include vomiting and upper gastric complications. Furthermore, since the FDA has approved lap bands for people with BMI scores below previous obesity levels, more people getting the lap band must now be aware of the restrictions that come with lap band usage. As a general rule, it pays to avoid sugars and fats with no nutritional value. Since it takes less food to feel full, it usually pays to go with flavorful foods from basic food groups and to pick fruits and vegetables over fatty proteins. Since the idea is to lose weight by feeling full, it can help to "fill up" on more healthful foods instead of eating ones that are too fatty. While dairy group foods can still be eaten, indulging on ice cream and shakes may not be the best way to lose the weight expected with lap bands. Note that some people don't lose weight on lap bands if they keep eating.

According to the NIH the best diet for gastric banding is pureed foods for the first 2-3 weeks following the surgery, then soft foods, then regular foods. A couple of bites may make you feel full. Careful attention to dietician and medical instructions is important to prevent stretching your stomach pouch. With weight loss will also come aches, dry skin, mood changes, and hair loss, so plan ahead. Rapid weight loss (because you feel full, and can't eat much) should be expected but fortunately that is you got the band installed.

How you eat is just as important. You need to eat slowly, and chew more thoroughly. You don't want big pieces of food blocking the stomach. Doctors recommend smaller plate sizes, and stopping when you feel full. This precludes big Vegas buffet lines, but means you can enjoy those tapas restaurants without going away hungry. You may want to avoid nuts, celery, and corn. As long as you do a good job chewing, you can handle pasta, rices, vegetables and meat.

Don't forget water! You need 8 cups, and you need to sip, not gulp, or you will wish you had sipped. Some medical professionals say not to use straws since these could add air.

Notes and Special Information

Special note: Any surgical alternatives for weight loss should be considered carefully following advice from a physician, and after attempting other ways of losing weight and modifying your lifestyle. Any surgery has risks of complications.