January 2021

Essential Fats

Essential fats are exactly like they sound!

We are all told to cut out fat and weight loss will be your reward!

But cut out these babies and you’ll know about it! They are vital for healthy body function, reduce inflammation and more...

Omega-3 fatty acids provide a wide range of health benefits, including:

- Reduced triglyceride (blood fat) levels

- Reduced symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, including stiffness and joint pain.

- Lower levels of depression

- Lessened asthma symptoms due to lowered inflammation, a key component in asthma.

- Improved mental focus and reduced symptoms of ADHD

- Protection against Alzheimer’s disease

These health benefits apply to bariatric and non-bariatric patients.

How Do I Get the Omega-3s I Need?

Bariatric patients will be on an all-liquid diet for Phase 1 of their diet, post-surgery. However, once solid foods are introduced, individuals will be able to incorporate most of the foods that provide omega-3 fats, including:

Fish: Anchovies, bluefish, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, sturgeon, lake trout, and tuna.

Nuts and seeds: Walnuts, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.
Some fish have been reported to carry high levels of mercury and other toxins, including mackerel, wild swordfish, tilefish, and shark. You may wish to eat these less frequently than others, like wild salmon, which boasts high levels of omega-3s and low-to-no toxicity.

For patients who are in the early stages of their bariatric diet or for those who do not
eat fish, supplements may assist. There are many omega-3-providing
capsules available on the market today.Patients who choose to consume their omega-3s infood must keep in mind that small portion sizes provide just enough.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found infatty foodsthat must be limited on a bariatric diet. Do make sure you know where your fish oils have come from, and make sure it is high in DHA EPA not just any old supp from the supermarket will cut it.Ask at the health food shop or your practitioner.

Pros and Cons of Supplementation

Consult your doctor before beginning an omega-3 fatty acids regimen. He/She may advise youfor or against certain supplements, depending on your current health condition and any medications you currently take. Individuals with heart disease, for example, may be advised to consume1 gram of DHA and EPA from fish oil daily, while others may be asked to take even more, under the supervision of their physician.

Patients who have bleeding conditions or take medications that can increase bleeding
should consult with their doctor before supplementing with omega-3s – as they help to
prevent blood clotting.

How Much Do I Need?

Eating a source of essential fatty acids two-to-three times a week will give you the nutrients your body craves. If you take supplements, consult the following requirements:

Males over the age of 14 need 1.6 grams per day.
Females ages 14 and over need 1.1 grams per day.

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, in particular, may affect the amount of omega-3s that can be absorbed into the patient’s body, due to surgical changes made to the stomach.

Your dietitian will be able to advise you on how much to take to compensate for any loss due to surgical changes.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for optimal physical functioning.

If you’ve undergone
bariatric surgery and are looking for a way to incorporate them into your diet, consider the
above options, and don’t forget to contact your dietitian to discuss your options!

Jacqui Lewis

BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine