DEAR DR. BLONZ: I am 46 years old and have been terribly overweight for over 10 years. I finally decided to get a gastric bypass, and had the surgery in late June. I quickly recovered, but my body is now in a state of malabsorption. Do you know of anything in a liquid form that would provide megadoses of vitamins and minerals for someone like me? -- P.S., San Jose, Calif.
DEAR P.S.: For those unfamiliar with this procedure, a gastric bypass surgically restricts the volume of food that the stomach can contain. The aim is to assist the individual to be satisfied with eating less food and thereby achieve significant weight loss. The U.S. National Library of Medicine has a page describing various gastric bypass methods and issues: tinyurl.com/5gdlgh
A gastric bypass ushers in a radical change to an individual’s relationship with food, so it is only recommended for a motivated patient whose excess weight represents a serious health threat. After the bypass, a patient has to eat slowly and chew food well because the stomach can no longer operate with the same level of efficiency. Some nutrients may not be as efficiently absorbed following a bypass, which is called malabsorption. If left untreated, vitamin and mineral deficiencies can result. Vitamin and mineral supplements can be recommended, and the physician will usually monitor blood levels of the various nutrients.
I am not a medical doctor and this is not an area in which I specialize, but it certainly makes sense that you search out a high-potency supplement, perhaps one that could be taken in liquid form. You might consider one of the powdered multivitamin/multimineral supplements. Most are well-balanced, containing all the essential vitamins and minerals, and they could be taken as a daily drink or smoothie. Be sure to discuss any products with your physician or a dietitian who specializes in this area.
DEAR DR. BLONZ: The other day, my husband heard that when cooking vegetables in the microwave, you lose the nutrients. Is this just another health rumor, or is it true? I cannot believe that this information is just now coming out after having microwaves around for decades. I would appreciate your take on this. -- A., Concord, Calif.
DEAR A.: This is a rumor -- and unfortunately it is quite widespread. The differences in nutrient composition between fresh and cooked food is based on the level of heat and the time of exposure. The next factor is whether the food is submerged and cooked in water and if the cooking water, which can contain some of the water-soluble nutrients, is then discarded.
There is nothing especially destructive about microwaving, provided you do not overcook your food. In fact, microwaving is similar to steaming -- both are low on the nutrient-destruction spectrum. The most important factor is that you are eating and enjoying the bounty of fresh vegetables for good health.
Send questions to: "On Nutrition," Ed Blonz, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 64106. Send email inquiries to email@example.com. Due to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.