Diet History

Nutrition evaluation through the review of a 24-hour food recall or diet history provides an overview of what and how much food and nutrition education needs to be included. A three-step approach can be used in obtaining a diet history. Step one is to collect general information about food habits that have contributed to weight gain. Step two is questioning the individual about their usual eating pattern, and step three is to cross check the accuracy of information in step two by repeating the questions about the previous day’s meals.

During the assessment, the nutritionist questions the number of meals eaten per day, food likes and dislikes, and any food allergies or sensitivities in an effort to become familiar with the candidate. Estimates of protein intake can be made in an effort to customize the assessment to the required protein and nutrient needs postsurgery. Individuals with recall problems need a spouse or caregiver to be present and/or available to provide appropriate data. Those with impaired vision or hearing may need an interpreter, and those who are reading impaired or have language difficulties need additional technology devices for learning. Food models can be useful in helping estimate portions.

Use of vitamin and mineral supplements and other over-the-counter products can provide an insight into the discussion on nutrition supplementation, which will be needed postsurgery.

An individual’s ability to chew and swallow needs to be assessed in the interview. Natural teeth or dentures that fit well will be needed to provide good mastication postsurgery. Poor-fitting dentures and missing teeth may be critical to their nutrition adequacy postsurgery.

Alcohol use and medications need to be reviewed during the assessment drug-nutrient interactions can have adverse effects on the candidate’s status pre- and postsurgery such as the following:

  • • High alcohol intake = loss of protein + thiamine, niacin, and folate deficiency
  • • Statin drugs = Coenzyme Q10 needs
  • • Antacids = Vitamin B12 loss
  • • Cigarette smoking = Vitamin C and folate insufficency
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