Go Additive Free and See How Your Body Responds

Exercise along with losing weight, and maintaining a healthy weight is very important to our long term quality of life.

Houston weight loss surgery


It makes us fit. Fit to enjoy life more fully. It improves our mental well-being and is excellent at relieving stress. Exercise is all about developing a habit.

I think it takes one to two years to develop a habit to the point that you no longer have to talk yourself into exercising.

Visualize yourself signing up for an expensive gym membership, then driving to the gym and then sitting in the car trying to talk yourself out of going in. Suddenly everything seems more important.

The same is true when we try to develop good eating habits. Visualize and remind yourself over and over the things you notice about yourself when you are exercising on a regular basis. Use that visualization to help you give up the resistance of doing the simple do-able thing like getting out of your car and walking into the gym. And give up equating sweating and intensity of exercise with weight loss.

If not, you will be disappointed and quit. Do not quit. Develop the habit and the intensity can come later.

The two most important tools for success is to find the time of day that is least likely to be interrupted and to build in some method of accountability. For some, doing a form of exercise first thing in the morning before the hectic day starts works. For others, finding a partner and agreeing to make each other accountable works. If they have an excuse to not show up, give them a hard time, every time.

How about those bathroom scales? I think they give more bad information than good. In a hospital setting we weigh patients often daily. It is not because we think they are metabolizing fat and muscle or gaining fat and muscle. It is because we want to know what their water balance is. If the weight increases over night we know they are retaining fluid/water for some reason, and the reverse is true as well.

They are useful at home however for the same reason. It tells us what our water balance is. I recommend only weighing if you feel as though you are retaining fluid. If your weight goes up overnight, you are. You did not grow fat, or muscle, or bone. It could be for hormonal reasons such as menstrual periods, some medical problem, or side effects of some medicine. Most likely it is because you have been eating salty food.

Most people are salt sensitive and will retain water after eating salty food They will gain water weight that can be seen on the scale and felt in the puffiness of their fingers.

Prove it to yourself, do the trial above. Eat salt free Monday to Friday, then eat salty food Friday and Saturday, and wake up Sunday and see how you feel. Then visualize how it felt Monday to Friday, and remember that feeling when thinking about eating salty food and ask yourself, is it worth it?

Learning the nutritional value of food, learning to count calories, learning about metabolic rates and glycemic indexes all are very good.

There are many books on the subject and I highly recommend one from a friend of mine, Robert Moore, called The Body of Knowledge System.

To learn more about Houston weight loss surgery options and how to know if you’re choosing the right surgeon check out our page on How to Chose a Surgeon That’s Right For You.

Sleeve, Bypass, Band or Duodenal Switch – How Do i Choose Which is The Right Procedure for Me?

Houston weight loss surgeryBarry Swartz, the author of The Paradox of Choice, points out that we live in a time of abundant choices, which often causes anxiety. He says one way to reduce anxiety is to have a clear picture of your goal and what you need to do in order to achieve your goal. He also says to be careful on choosing based on emotion.

I would add to also have a clear picture of the amount of risk you are willing to take to achieve your goal. First off, dieting has never been proven by any long-term study to help a person lose 50 or more pounds long-term. It’s clear that diets are not the path for almost everyone carrying that much or more excess weight.

So which is the right surgical procedure for you?

It is the procedure that will give you long-term weight loss success with the least possible risk. One must also consider the risk of failing to achieve success. In other words, all those serious medical problems and day-to-day difficulties will not go away if you fail. And that has serious consequences.

The gastric bypass and duodenal switch are complex operations. The sleeve gastrectomy and the lap band are much less complex. The more complex, the more risk of complications. This is true even among the greatest of surgeons.

I will share the pros and cons of each of these procedures, but first I would like to share my story of why I now only perform the sleeve gastrectomy. I had to revise this chapter because in the first edition of this book, I was still performing all three procedures. I would educate the patient and then ask them to choose. Now I can’t justify the extra risk, including the risk of failure, from the other procedures.

It’s my belief that everyone is a genius in some way. They have a particular skill set that makes them good at something. Laparoscopic surgery started big time in 1990 with gallbladder surgery. I quickly found that laparoscopy fit my skill set and began doing advanced procedures much earlier than most. I attended a live tel-seminar where Dr. Kelvin Higa did a laparoscopic gastric bypass. I knew immediately that this was for me.

It fit my skill set, background and educational, as well as my love for GI surgery. So I traveled to Dr. Higa to learn from the master. I also did a mini fellowship at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas. I performed my first laparoscopic gastric bypass in January 2000.

I was amazed that patients would come in with this huge list of medications and almost immediately after surgery would no longer need them. There were a few complications along the way and they were challenging to treat. Regardless, it was clear that the benefits of the gastric bypass tremendously outweighed the risk of complications. So, I became a big fan of the laparoscopic gastric bypass. Around the beginning of 2002, I attended a masters conference on weight loss surgery. The room was full of the most experienced surgeons. After going over the pros and cons of bypass versus lap band, a question was asked of the audience,“Which procedure would you choose for yourself if you were the patient?”

One after another approached the microphone and said they would choose the lap band for themselves because it was least likely to have a complication and they could not afford to have a complication. I was amazed. To me, the band was just another version of past procedures that had too high of a failure rate. However, during the conference a light bulb went off. Patients, like these surgeons, should have a choice of how much risk they are willing to take. So I immediately started the training process, and became one of the first five in Texas to be approved by the FDA for the procedure. I performed my first lap band procedure in November of 2002. I did my last lap band in 2012.

During this time there were many surgeons that only performed lap band surgeries.. I felt they did not offer the bypass because it was too technically difficult for them. Without doubt, the bypass was a superior operation. It did a much better job resolving diabetes and hypertension and these were issues for most of our patients.

Patients chose the band more than the bypass because it was a safer operation. So over time, I was doing 60% bands and 40% bypasses. The bypass patients rarely had a surgical complication and the office follow up was easy as well. Patients just seemed to lose weight effortlessly and rarely had issues.

When a complication did occur it was a big deal for the patient, the family and for me. I also found that many patients did not lock in the eating habits required for long-term success and over time re-gained some weight, usually about 20% of what they lost. They would tell me they were eating right, but their friends would tell a different story. In 2003, I attended a conference on laparoscopic revisional weight loss surgery- the first one ever done. Michael Gagner talked about the first ten laparoscopic gastric sleeves performed. This is the story of the beginning of the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.

He was doing a duodenal switch (sleeve plus malabsorption procedure) when anesthesia asked if he find a way to end the operation early. They were having a difficult time ventilating the patient. The patient was super obese, and the breathing machine was having difficulty keeping the patient adequately oxygenated. So, he decided to do the sleeve part and come back later and do the malabsorption part. The patient lost weight very well, so he decided to start staging the operation. He would do the sleeve, and later come back to do the malabsorption part whenever they were not losing adequate weight. He found that many patients did not need the second part of the surgery and that the sleeve was adequate.

As he told the story I don’t think any of us thought this would eventually become the most commonly performed procedure. We just thought of it as another option. I started doing the sleeve in 2008. Very few knew how powerful this operation was at that time. From 2008 to 2009 very few patients chose the sleeve. First off, I did not know how powerful the operation was and many insurance companies did not approve it. By 2010, I had done enough of them that I could see the contrast between the sleeve, bypass and band.

The patients were losing weight and finding it easy to lock in and follow the eating rules required for long-term success. To this day, with more than 500 procedures performed, we have had no significant or serious complications. There are many chemicals and chemical pathways in our bodies that drive us towards bad food. It seems that once our body becomes obese, these chemicals work very hard to keep us from losing the weight and keeping it off.

Once we gain it, our body does not want to let it go. We knew that these chemicals were associated with the bypass procedure, but we had no idea that they effected the sleeve procedure as well. By 2010, we realized it. Research has shown it to be primarily related to changes in a chemical called Ghrelin, however there are many more than have yet to be discovered. The bottom line is that, by cutting out about two third of the stomach and leaving the upper third in a tube shape, our metabolism seems to normalize closer to what it was like before weight gain. We are able to get most patients off insulin and hypertensive medications the night of surgery, before weight loss has occurred due to these massive chemical changes.

I did many lap bands from 2002 to 2010 and it was like pulling teeth to get about 40% of those patients to follow the required eating rules. Subsequently, they would struggle with weight loss. Often they had mechanical issues with the band causing severe reflux esophagitis and vomiting. The typical patient that did well with the band was very good at following rules in their everyday life. They would learn the eating rules, get full on a small volume of food, and did great if no mechanical issues occurred. Because the lap band did not have the chemical changes like the sleeve and bypass, patients did not get off insulin and high blood pressure medications until they had lost significant weight.

Before the sleeve was an option, when patients were having problems, the only choice was the gastric bypass. Many patients did not want to take that risk. Now the patients can convert their band to a sleeve with relatively low risk. I quit offering the lap band and the bypass once I realized that the sleeve was low risk, had excellent weight loss, got most the patients off their medications the night of surgery, and the patients found it easy to lock in the important eating rules required for long-term success.

One of the hospitals that I use in Houston, Texas does more bariatric procedures per month than any other Houston hospital about 100 per month. Lap bands are no longer seen on the schedule at all. There are still bypasses, as some surgeons still feel that it is superior, and an occasional duodenal switch but mostly sleeves.

I think the story that I was a big fan of the bypass, did the band because it was safer, and now only do the sleeve is an important story that might help you understand why I think the sleeve is the right procedure for most patients. For those patients who do not achieve adequate weight loss with the sleeve, then the duodenal switch is a good option. The beauty is that half of the operation has already been done, and the next operation will be safer because of the weight loss achieved with the sleeve.

For most patients, the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is the right choice.

For more information about what makes our Houston weight loss surgery experience different from all the rest, click here.

Tune Into Your Body And Observe How it Responds

Many years ago I read a book called The Food Chronology by James Trager. It takes our earliest knowledge of early man and what evidence there is about what he ate.

Houston weight loss surgery


The book then marches through historical events up to present time. It matches historical events with what was going on in relation to food at the time.

Skimming through the book you can get a tremendous sense of how we have arrived where we are today. And it brings us back to learning from our mistakes.

When farming became a trade, wheat and grains were the main crop. Then came the major plagues that killed millions of people because rodents ate the stock piled grains, multiplied rapidly and spread disease. The naturopathic doctors have brought into the spotlight how common gluten sensitivity is and how it adversely affects our health.

Gastroenterologist missed the boat when it comes to gluten sensitivity. They focused on celiac disease which is the severe form of gluten sensitivity, and ignored what the more minor effects gluten sensitivity may be causing in terms of intestinal symptoms such as cramps, constipation, diarrhea, and bloating to name a few, as well as skin rashes, migraines, nasal congestion and autoimmune disease.

I now recommend to any patient having any type of GI problems to do a brief trial of a gluten free diet and I am amazed how many people report back that they are significantly improved. If you don’t believe me – try it. Ask your friends that are having some of the above problems to do the gluten free diet and have them report back how they feel. You will be amazed.

Back to the topic of wheat, it is widely touted that grains are very healthy, that we should eat oatmeal, wheat bread and cereals. But they cause many people to have problems.

So if you go through a gluten free trial and find that in many ways you feel better, then step back and observe the abundance of information there has been that wheat is healthy. You might be getting the idea that much of the advice we get as far as what to eat is not as solid as we think.

We learned that we need a lot of fiber in our diet. We thought that because wheat has a lot of fiber it must be good for us. For many it is not. Individuals need to see how they respond to wheat and if they don’t respond well to avoid it. Tune in to your body and observe how it responds.

Remember there is a lot of fiber in whole foods.

I believe we have too many chemicals in our diets. Food additives are chemicals and all have a side effect profile just like medicines.

Just like medicine they affect some and not others. The problem is that there are so many of them laced in our packaged food products that it is difficult to separate those that you can and cannot tolerate.

Intuitively it makes sense that some may be causing problems.

Get a one on one Houston weight loss surgery consultation by requesting an appointment with one of the best surgeons, Dr. Clifton Thomas!

For more information about what makes our Houston weight loss surgery experience different from all the rest, click here.

Calories and Zoo Animals

Recently I started to buy a box of peanut butter Girl Scout cookies. So I flipped over the box and looked at the label. There are 150 calories per cookie. I handed the box back and instead gave a donation. I know me.

Houston weight loss surgery

I could not eat just one and get much enjoyment out of it. I would need to sit down with a glass of milk, dip each cookie in the milk and quickly eat it. And in very little time I would have eaten the majority of the box, which would have been several thousand calories. Clearly not smart.

I think of calories like money.

Money is just a piece of paper with symbols on it that varies in its purchas- ing power. We should be thinking in terms of what it can buy today and how much value that it would give us. We know the problem is not the expensive things we buy that give us great value. It’s the pennies we spend on short term satisfaction and very little long term value. It’s the expensive super- duper everything in it drive-through coffee.

Calories are important and we should have a guess of how many calories we need and spend those with value. And we should be thinking in terms of long term benefits versus short term satisfaction.

So how do we know what we should eat and how much? We should use the method proven by the test of time. That is, learning from our mistakes. I am going to tell you how to do that, but first I would like to back up to our talk on zoo animals and now talk about our ancestors that were hunters and gatherers.

Zoo animals’ diets are arrived at by looking at their environment and be- havior in the wild, not in a zoo. Then trying the best they can to simulate that, trying it and see how it works, learning from what does not work and changing.

Our genetics that control the bio-chemical pathways in our bodies have evolved over time, but there is no evidence they have significantly changed since the dawn of agriculture.

I think it is important to look back at ancient times and ask what did early man eat to survive? There may be some argument as to exactly what that was, but it is simple to think of ancient man as having to hunt for meat and gather food.

It most likely consisted of lean meats, leafy greens, fruits and berries. The majority of their energy went into hunting and gathering food. Their survival depended on it. Food was scarce and difficult to obtain.

I believe their genetic bio-chemical pathways told their bodies that some- thing was very wrong when food was not available and would shut down the burning calorie metabolism.

They would eat when food was available – most likely until they were full. It is my belief that fullness, not over fullness, tells our brains to burn calories.

Starvation or low calorie diets tell our brains to shut down our metabolism and store calories.

For more information about what makes our Houston weight loss surgery experience different from all the rest, click here.

Lap Band Failure – Tiffany Explains Why She Switched to the Sleeve Gastrectomy

In this video interview, Tiffany explains why she switched from a Lap Band to a Sleeve Gastrectomy. Tiffany discusses the problems that she went through as a result of the band and the process she went through to have it changed over to a Sleeve.

To learn more about this process, visit our Converting Band to Sleeve page here.

For more information about what makes our Houston weight loss surgery experience different from all the rest, click here.

New Audio Report – Your Complete Guide to Weight Loss Surgery

My new audio report “Your Complete Guide to Weight Loss Surgery” is now up on our website.

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This is audio report is a series of interviews I’ve done in the past, and they answer a wide array of questions that pertain to weight loss surgery. Specifically, you’ll learn:

  • The Top Questions Asked About Weight Loss Surgery
  • What Life if Like After Weight Loss Surgery
  • 5 Reasons You Should Not Have Lap Band Surgery
  • 5 Tips to Prepare for Weight Loss Surgery
  • 5 Ways to Know if You’re a Candidate for Weight Loss Surgery

You can grab this report by visiting http://cliftonthomasmd.com/free-guide and entering your name and email. The email list is for updates only. We won’t  put your name on any list or send spam.

For more information on what to look for when researching Houston weight loss surgery options, check out our page on “choosing the right surgeon” here.

Exciting News for the “Skinny Jeans” Brand

Many of you may be familiar with my Amazon bestselling book Skinny Jeans…at Last! Since writing this book almost two years ago, my desire has been to build a brand off the Skinny Jeans…at Last! ™ name. Recently I was able to secure the trademark for the name, and we now have a dedicated site launched in preparation for the latest edition which will be ready for publication soon.

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You can visit the new site at www.SkinnyJeansatLast.com and check out some of the reviews and excerpts.

We will be adding more free content – blog articles and videos over the coming weeks; and eventually create an online community forum for members to interact, sharing their own experiences and support with one another.

Can a Sleeve Gastrectomy Help Someone Who Is a Diabetic?

In this video, Tim shares his experience as a diabetic the benefits he’s seen since having a Sleeve Gastrectomy. Before surgery, Tim was taking 100 units of insulin plus pills.

After surgery, Tim is down to just 10 units! A huge decrease. Part of this of course can be attributed to a 28 lb weight loss since surgery; but another part is directly related to the chemical change that has taken place in Tim’s body since the Sleeve Gastrectomy.

To learn more about Houston weight loss surgery options and how to know if you’re choosing the right surgeon check out our page on How to Chose a Surgeon That’s Right For You.

Dysfunctional Pleasure

This morning, I opened Facebook to see post after post on food recipes. All bad food from a feel good, get things done perspective. All sharing instant gratification, but little long term benefit. I rarely get this kind of post, so for me, it was a message to share.


We eat for nutrients, pleasure, and a dysfunctional need for love. It’s ok to eat for pleasure and we should. So ask yourself before eating: Am I eating for nutrients, pleasure, or a dysfunctional need for love?

Ask yourself one hour after eating how you feel? Do you feel like hitting the couch or doing something? When you pleasure yourself, how do you feel one hour after eating or the next morning? Can you limit your pleasure moments so that later you feel good? Dysfunctional love feels bad. And with food that bad feeling is noticeable one hour after eating and the next morning.

Is there a way to show love to yourself that is not dysfunctional? If its touch, go get a massage. If its acts of service, go get your car washed. If its words of affirmation, tell yourself how much you love yourself.

One of the posts showed a penne pasta recipe that had one stick of butter, one pint of heavy cream, one cup of Parmesan cheese, and cream cheese.

Can you eat a few bites and waste the rest? When you stop at a few bites you feel better one hour after eating. When you finish the plate, you will feel sluggish and foggy headed.

You choose.

Tips for Modifying Your Favorite Recipes

Author: Heather K. Mackie, MS, RD, LD

Modifying Recipes

Houston weight loss surgeryEveryone has their favorite recipe that they thoroughly enjoyed prior to weight loss surgery.  But, just because you had weight loss surgery doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your old favorites.  By modifying your favorite recipes, you can ensure that you will continue to enjoy them and continue on your path to wellness.

Modifying recipes is not an exact science and sometimes takes a couple test runs, but it can be fun!  There are a couple things that will help you as you embark on modifying your family favorite:

  • Basic modifications include substituting, reducing, or eliminating ingredients.
  • Start with 1-2 changes to a recipe and then attempt additional changes if you are pleased with the first outcome.
  • Lastly, write down the modifications you have made so you can replicate them in the future or make further modifications.

Ways to Modify Recipes. The first thing you can consider is the cooking technique used.  Making an item healthier doesn’t always mean changing the ingredients.  Consider using some of the below low-fat methods:

  • Baking – to cook in the oven with dry heat
  • Braising – to brown meat over high heat, then cover and cook slowly over low heat in a small amount of liquid
  • Broiling – to cook with intense heat either on a grill or under the broiler
  • Grilling – to cook on a rack over very hot coals (charcoal) or on a gas grill
  • Poaching – to cook food immersed in liquid which is barely simmering
  • Roasting – to cook uncovered in the oven with dry heat, with the addition of a small amount of liquid
  • Searing – to quickly brown the surface of meat under the broiler or in a pan over high heat on top of the stove in order to seal in the juices
  • Steaming – to cook food, covered, over a small amount of boiling water
  • Stewing – to slowly cook meats and vegetables in a covered pan, either in the oven or on top of the stove

Houston weight loss surgerySautéing More Healthfully. You can still sauté in a healthy way.  Recipes typically call for two tablespoons of fat and types of fats that aren’t healthy, like butter.  You can reduce the amount and types of fat you use.  First start with a non-stick skillet.  By using non-stick skillets, some foods may not require additional fat, such as scrambling eggs.  However, you can use vegetable sprays to coat the pan without adding too much fat.  Try using canola oil or olive oil as your main types of sprays.  You can also use a pastry brush to distribute oil on your foods, such as vegetables, helping to control the amount of fat in your food.

Consider using items other than fat for sautéing.  Items like broth, table wine, water, or lemon juice make great substitutes.  Also, you can microwave your vegetables like onions and mushrooms instead of sautéing.  You can then add the items to the rest of your meal, such as an omelet or pasta dish.

Modifiying Salad Dressings. Try making your own salad dressing to reduce fat and sodium.  Dressings that incorporate balsamic vinegar are good options because vinegar is low in calories and contains virtually no sodium or fat.  Use minimal oil to maintain the healthiness in your own salad dressing.

What About Nuts. Should you keep nuts in a recipe?  Nuts contribute quite a significant amount of fat and calories to the recipe.  It is recommended to use them sparingly.  However, the good news is that most nuts contain heart healthy fats and some protein.  If you decide to use nuts, you may want to use ¼ to 1/3 the amount that the recipe calls for originally.  Consider roasting the nuts for a more intense flavor.  Roast nuts in the oven for 10 minutes at 350oF.  Or you can dry roast them in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until browned.  The more intense flavor of a roasted nut allows you to use fewer nuts in your recipe.

Varying Dairy Products. Many recipes incorporate cheese in recipes.  Cheese can add a significant amount of calories and fat to a dish.  When slashing calories from your eating plan, it doesn’t mean you have to eliminate cheese completely.  Considering modifying the recipe instead.  Considering mixing non-fat cheeses with reduced-fat cheeses to decrease the fat without compromising the flavor.  You can also consider using soy cheese to cut down on the amount of saturated fat (bad fat) you consume.  Another strategy is to use shredded cheese, which melts quicker and can allow you to use less cheese.  Also, using stronger flavored cheeses in place of mild cheeses allows you to use less cheese as well.

Houston weight loss surgeryConsider using yogurt cheese, which has 10 calories per tablespoon when using non-fat yogurt.  You can make yogurt cheese at home by straining the whey out of the yogurt to make a “soft” cheese.  Avoid using yogurts that contain thickeners like gelatin, modified food starch, or vegetable gums (usually found in light yogurts), which don’t allow the release of whey.  Line a colander or sieve with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and place in/over a bowl.  Pour in the low-fat or non-fat yogurt and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to drain for at least 12 hours.  Transfer the new “soft cheese” to a separate container and use as a base for savory appetizers, spreads for breads, or substitute for sour cream or whipped cream desserts.

Substitute the Sour Cream. Sour cream is a smooth, dense product.  However, it will increase your calories and fat dramatically.  One cup of sour cream has about 490 calories and 48 grams of fat!  Try substituting with low-fat yogurt, non-fat yogurt, or fat-free sour cream.  You can also use non-fat greek yogurt, which makes a fantastic substitute for sour cream.

Healthier Milk. Instead of whole milk, use skim milk to save about 60 calories and 8 grams of fat, which is mostly saturated fat.  You can also get evaporated skim milk instead of evaporated whole milk saving 140 calories and 20 grams of fat.  To make a creamy sauce, mix 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch or evaporated skim milk creating a “thick” cream; add to one cup of heated skim milk to make a creamy sauce.  Season to taste with herbs and/or a small amount of grated cheese.

Baking More Healthfully. Fat, which is often in baked goods, adds a dramatic amount of calories and are often the saturated fats.  You can make slight modifications to lower the fat and not destroy the recipe.  First consider reducing the amount of shortening, margarine, or butter by a third or even a half.  You can also try using light butter instead of other types of fats.  In recipes that call for oil, you can use half the amount of oil and your recipe will most likely will taste the same.  You can also decrease the fat in baked goods, by replacing the fat eliminated with the same amount of the following:

  • Applesauce
  • Cranberries
  • Crushed pineapples
  • Grated carrots, zucchini, or apples
  • Mashed bananas
  • Mashed or cooked pumpkin, squash, or yams
  • Nonfat buttermilk
  • Nonfat sour cream or yogurt
  • Prune puree or prune butter

When using some of the above to replace some of the fat in the recipe, use a lower oven temperature for baking.  This will help to preserve the moisture.

Houston weight loss surgeryExciting Eggs. You can reduce the amount of fat, cholesterol, and calories in recipes by using egg whites or egg substitutes for the whole egg.  Use two egg whites for the first whole egg in baking and one egg white for each additional egg.  Consider using an egg substitute product; the container will tell you the exact conversion.

Baking Chocolate. One ounce of baking chocolate adds 140 calories and 15 grams of fat.  Consider replacing with 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of oil.  This combination has less saturated fat, but the calories and total fat are about the same.  Another option is to use 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder with 2 teaspoons of water.  This substitution works for cakes, brownies, and puddings.  Another option is they now make sugar-free chocolate chips that can be used in recipes.

Houston weight loss surgeryLowering Sugar Content. Using less sugar requires some experimentation since this ingredient helps retain proper texture and appealing flavor.  You may need to try the recipe several times before perfecting it.  Start by reducing the sugar by 1/3 to ½ the amount.  If you cut the sugar by half, then decrease the liquid by ¼ cup.  You can replace the sugar that has been eliminated by adding non-fat dry milk powder in cookie, bar, and cake recipes.  Try using fruits for natural sweetness in cookies, cakes, and quick breads.  Good fruit choices include raisins, dried apricots, dates, apples, and bananas.  Another option is to use fruit juice instead of sugar and liquids (e.g., milk).  If it is an acidic juice, add ½ teaspoon baking soda per cup of liquid.  To reduce calories significantly, consider baking with sugar substitutes.  Some options might include Splenda and stevia products.  Also, enhance the recipe calorie-free, by spicing with cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, etc.  Extracts also work well (vanilla, lemon, almond, and chocolate).

Decrease Sodium and Salt. Many dishes do not require a lot of salt to make them taste good.  If your recipe calls for salt, but you are trying to keep your sodium intake low, consider making these alterations.  Start by using half of what it is called for in the recipe.  Continue to reduce the amount until you find the minimal amount needed to season the recipe.  Replace the salt with lemon or lime juice, flavored vinegar, fresh onion or garlic, onion or garlic powder, pepper, chili powder or ginger.  Please note your taste for salt will diminish as you gradually decrease the amount you use.

Try to be creative and experimental in the kitchen so that you are able to strike a balance between healthful and exciting recipes.  If it doesn’t work the first time, don’t give up, make another modification and try again.  Just remember to write down the modifications as you do them, so you will remember for the next attempt.

Disclaimer: Please note that there's no guarantee of getting the same results as each of these patients. Specific results vary by individual patient.