Calories vs. Macronutrient Counting after Bariatric Surgery

Calories vs. Macronutrient Counting after Bariatric Surgery
Calories vs. Macronutrient Counting after Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery has time-tested, proven results in the management of obesity. This procedure gives patients hope when most if not all, other weight loss “solutions” have failed them. Bariatric surgery can and will undoubtedly kickstart a weight loss journey, but in order to achieve long-term success, a patient's behavior and eating habits must change significantly.

So how does bariatric surgery work? Endocrine function changes due to the physically different pathways that nutrients take after surgery,¹ and patients are unable to eat as much as they could before surgery. Burning more calories than are consumed is one of the primary premises behind the notable weight loss. There are a few ways a patient can hold themselves and their new healthier food/portion-controlled habits accountable, one way is to count their calories and another is to count their macronutrients. But what does that mean? Let’s break it down.

What are Calories?

  • Calories are needed for organs to function.
  • A calorie is considered one unit of energy.
  • The body will store excess calories as fat.
  • Counting calories means measuring the energy gained from that particular food

What are Macronutrients?

  • Macros give the body energy.
  • Macros are the components of food…fat, protein, and carbohydrates.
  • There are 9 calories per gram of fat, 4 calories per gram of protein, and 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates.
  • Counting macros means measuring the percentage breakdown of each food component for that particular day

When a patient is aware of their calorie and/or macronutrient intake they are better equipped to make informed, healthy food choices. There is no scientific evidence putting one tracking method above the other, as each one has its pros and cons. For example, when a patient only counts calories, the nutritional value of the food can be lost. On the other hand, counting macros is very helpful in regard to portion control, but can miss the boat on acknowledging the quality of the food. Once a patient can clearly define their health and weight loss goals, their preferred tracking method will inevitably become clearer.

Dr. Vohra and his team at New York Bariatrics are here to assist patients in taking advantage of all available tools, resources, and support. A weight loss journey is not meant to be taken alone! Our team of registered dietitians is available to help you navigate decisions before and after surgery. Reach out to learn more today!

Dr. Rajeev Vohra is a board-certified Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He specializes in laparoscopic and bariatric procedures and has successfully performed more than 10,000 surgeries over his 30+ year career. Dr. Vohra has dedicated his career to providing patients in New York with the highest quality and most compassionate care.


  • American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery
  • The American Board of Surgery
  • American Medical Association