Fats are a condensed form of calories. Fat contains 9 calories for every gram of fat, which is twice as much as carbohydrates or protein (4 calories per gram) and more than alcohol (7 calories per gram).
Butter is essentially all fat. To show how condensed fat is—consider this: one pat of butter is 46 calories. For sugar (which is all carbohydrate) three teaspoons equals 46 calories!
There is a difference in the types of fat that we eat. Some fats are better for you than others. Fish fat is made up of Omega-3-fatty acids—which are found to decrease the risk of heart disease. Compare that with fat from chicken or beef, which is called trans-fatty-acids, and is found to be a major contributing factor to heart disease.
Decreasing the amount of fat intake will decrease a major source of calories. Do not be fooled—fat does count as calories, in spite of what some have written, and fat is found in everything from donuts, to meat, to many popular items.
To improve your overall health, make fish a part of your meal plan for seven meals a week (tuna fish, salmon, shrimp). Some cannot do this because of allergies. But for all, reducing the amount of fat you eat in your diet is one fast way to reduce calories.
Alcohol is a hidden Calorie for bariatric surgery patients
A very common question after bariatric surgery is “Will I be able to have a drink again?” The answer is yes you will, however you need to be very careful when it comes to consuming alcohol for several reasons.
Unlike protein, carbs, and fats, alcohol is absorbed 100 percent by your body. Therefore, every calorie contained in a glass of wine or a beer will be completely absorbed. For a small 4-oz glass of wine, that is about 90 calories. For a 12-oz beer, that is about 100 (light beer) to 150 (regular beer) calories. Most people actually drink two to three large glasses of wine, making the calorie consumption about 300 or more calories. Most people drink two or three beers, making the calorie consumption about 300 to 450 calories. Since every calorie is absorbed by your body, calories can quickly add up and cause weight gain.
Second, most weight loss surgery patients will tell you that alcohol affects them very quickly, which may cause you to overindulge without realizing you are doing so. Patients often joke that they become “cheap dates”—one glass of wine and an appetizer is all it takes.
Third, patients often find that drinking will fill up their pouch, leaving little room or desire for food. This results in consuming empty calories without benefits of much-needed protein.
One patient, after getting to goal and successfully maintaining her weight for three years, decided to begin drinking beer when she went out on the weekends. She drank “low-carb” beer, thinking she was being careful. However, the weight quickly crept up and she found herself 15 pounds heavier. She had no idea that100 percent of the calories in alcohol were absorbed by her body.
After discussing the weight gain with her doctor and realizing that the alcohol is what contributed to the problem, she adjusted her diet and eliminated the beer completely. She then decided to continue to occasionally have a small glass or two of wine with dinner.
When making decisions about what to eat and drink, keep the hidden calories in alcohol in mind so that you can plan your meals. Keep in mind, also, that if you add those extra calories you will need to do some more exercise to burn them off.
As with everything, moderation is the key to successfully managing your weight and still enjoying life after surgery.
Often servings of an alcoholic beverage are underestimated. Wine, for example, is often listed with a serving size of 4-ounces, where most people drink 6 ounces of wine at a time. Drinks poured in bars and at homes are often not based on a one-ounce shot. Again, portion control applies to alcohol as well.