According to a recent article in the New York Times, the number of bariatric surgery has reached about 250,000 per year – a more than 800% increase in just the past decade, despite the fact that the surgery can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000, depending on the procedure and the area of the country in which the patient lives (these costs can be much lower abroad.

“It’s the only good treatment for severe obesity, opined Dr. James Mitchell a professor of clinical neuroscience at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine quoted in the article.

But the bill for the surgery is not by any means the last bill a post-bariatric patient faces. Once a patient loses a significant portion of the excess weight, he or she often has a need to spend thousands of dollars on cosmetic surgery, for example to remove excess skin, stubborn pockets of fat resistant to diet and exercise.

Other expenses a patient considering bariatric procedure should keep in mind:

  • nutritional counselor
  • gym membership
  • a new wardrobe, or several new wardrobes, as weight falls off

But the most expensive thing is if the surgery is unsuccessful. As one surgeon points out, if you are not prepared to make the necessary lifestyle changes as well, then surgery is likely to be a waste of your time and money.

One adjustment that patients must learn to make is to think of food in terms of healthy benefits, instead of only calories and fat.

Great Food for a Healthy New Year

Black rice

is a whole grain loaded with iron. It contains the same anthocyanins (antioxidant pigments) found in blueberries and pomegranates.

Brussels sprouts

have high levels of Vitamin C and K, as well as glucosinolates – compounds that rid the body of cancer-causing agents.

Cacao Sweet Nibs

have fewer fat and calories than chocolate, and contain anti-flammatory compounds called epicatechins that enhance blood flow.


are an excellent source of protein as well as rich in choline, vital for healthy brain cells and memory.


contains bacteria that strengthen the immune system.

Real maple syrup

contains manganese and zinc to support your immune system.

Red onions

are rich in the flavonoid quercetin, which helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as anthocyanins which protect artery walls.

Trail mix

is an excellent snack that has a balance of carbs and protein, and delivers high levels of zinc, copper and Vitamin E.

White tea

contains more of the amino acid theanine than green or black tea; theanine reduces blood pressure and has been shown to reduce anxiety.