Accessibility Tools
Call the office at 561 483-8840 for pricing
  • Gastric Sleeve
  • Gastric Bypass
  • Revisional Surgery
  • Please call the office for pricing

The Role of the Dietitian in Eating Disorders and Bariatric Surgery

The Role of the Dietitian in Eating Disorders and Bariatric Surgery
The Role of the Dietitian in Eating Disorders and Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a major component of the weight-loss toolbox that empowers people suffering from obesity to make positive and permanent change. Dr. Kahlil Shillingford is a bariatric surgeon in Florida who prides himself in offering weight loss solutions to men and women across major cities such as Miami, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and Boynton Beach. Part of the success of his patients is their commitment to following a diet and exercise program that keeps their weight off long term. To further support their healthy lifestyle changes, Dr. Shillingford provides all of his post-bariatric surgery patients with access to nutritional support groups led by Susan Peacock M.S. R.D.

Registered Dietitians play an integral role in the treatment of patients with complex eating disorders (EDs) such as Binge Eating Disorder and Emotional Eating Disorder. EDs are marked by extreme disturbances in everyday diet and affect approximately 8 million Americans at any given time. The crucial interjection of the dietitian during assessment and treatment of the patient can identify issues early and be used as a guideline during treatment.

Many areas of nutritional assessment can help the ED patient working with a Registered Dietitian including. A Dietitian supports the bariatric surgery client in the following ways:

Creating a food plan

The client’s diet plan is individualized around his or her specific dietary needs, lifestyle, and emotional eating behaviors.

Addressing deficiencies in diet

Acknowledging deficiencies in a patient’s diet helps to prevent complications before the lab work indicates dangerous inefficiencies. If deficiencies do arise based on lab reports, the dietitian will suggest supplement requirements if needed during the normalization of eating patterns.


The Registered Dietitian educates the client through discussion about the need of fats, proteins and carbohydrates in a balanced diet and their individual effects on the client’s overall health. He or she works with the client to learn how to read food labels to clear up thoughts about “fear foods” and “binge foods”. Additionally, he or she can provide insight on dangerous ED behaviors such as how laxative and diuretic abuse can harm the body.

Assessment of eating habits

Exploring the type and quantity of food the client is eating helps the dietitian works with the client to establish what real hunger is and how to identify fullness signals. This also helps the patient learn how to feel comfortable eating in social settings.

Assessment of eating behaviors

Motivational interviewing is used by the Dietitian to help support behavioral changes in the client. This helps to prevent the poor “readiness to change” aspect which has a direct correlation with body weight.

Review of the client’s basal metabolic rate

Understanding the amount of calories the client requires daily in relation to his or her ED including restricting food, bingeing, purging and dieting.

It has been shown that when a Dietitian is working with the interdisciplinary team of mental health specialists, the patient has the proper knowledge and support for maintaining a balanced diet. It is noted that an RD may be the first to recognize an individual’s ED symptoms or be the first health-care professional consulted by a patient for this condition. Furthermore, the dietitian’s role in the individual with an eating disorder is supported by the American Psychological Association, the Academy for Eating Disorders and American Academy of Pediatrics.

Eating Disorders and their treatment are a complex undertaking and it is important for clients as well as the health care team for Eating Disorders to realize and utilize the invaluable contribution of the Registered Dietitian in the treatment of this serious illness.

- Dr. Kahlil Shillingford is a board certified surgeon who specializes in bariatric or weight loss surgery including the Sleeve Gastrectomy (Gastric Sleeve), Gastric Bypass, and Lap-Band procedures.  His patients come from across the state of Florida including Miami, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and Boynton Beach. To learn more about Dr. Shillingford’s integrative weight loss surgeries and all-inclusive fees please call his office in Boca Raton, Florida at (561) 483-8840.