More than one-third (36.5%) of adults in the U.S. have obesity, which is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors.
Obesity is associated with health risks, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, which all can be prevented if obesity is taken under control.
However, traditional weight loss therapies, including diet, exercise, and medications show relatively poor results in obese patients.
Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, is the most effective treatment of morbidly obese patients to allow substantial, sustained weight loss.
According to the US practice guidelines, patients qualify for bariatric surgery with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 kg/m(2) and associated comorbidities, or a body mass index of 40 kg/m(2), after the failure of conservative weight loss measures.
There are 7 types of bariatric surgery, including Gastric Sleeve, Gastric Bypass, Duodenal Switch, LAP-BAND, Gastric Balloon, vBloc Therapy, and AspireAssist.
Most of these types help patients feel less hungry and full sooner while eating and between meals, except AspireAssist, which drains a portion of stomach contents after eating.
Choosing an appropriate procedure is a difficult choice and a personal decision based on patient's habits, risk aversion, and lifestyle.
Still, there are few things to consider before bariatric surgery, such as expected weight loss, which may vary depending on the procedure, a reliability of weight loss, faster or slower weight loss, and so on.
These are things that patients should discuss with their doctor and bariatric surgeon before the procedure.
No matter what procedure a patient chooses, the key to successful weight loss surgery is getting the patient to implement lifestyle changes AFTER the surgery. Each of the available procedures only helps to control hunger and portion size. The rest of weight loss success is up to the patient.
Mobile apps can be also helpful by offering a useful advice and tools for patients who consider bariatric surgery for their weight loss, as well as those who underwent surgery, helping them track their nutrition and weight loss goals.
The app that usually shows up first in the app stores whenever users search for bariatric surgery app is Baritastic app. This app works primarily as a nutrition tracker, which allows bariatric patients to log everything they eat and drink, as well as how they spend the calories.
Patients can also use the app to access bariatric friendly recipes, use the food and water timer to better separate the two after surgery, add journal entries, set vitamin and supplement reminders, and more.
Baritastic app requires users to first register an account by providing some basic information, as well as their current and goal weight. They will be also asked to provide their goal, i.e. where are they in their weight loss journey (non-surgical, considering surgery, had surgery, etc.)
Users can also connect to their bariatric program by using the code provided by the program, and access additional information including discharge instructions, support group calendar, diet guidelines, key contacts, and much more. Baritastic app, however, can be used without code.
The app opens to the home screen featuring a familiar tracker interface. On the upper portion of the screen, there's a summary showing your current weight. You can slide it to view other stats such as nutrients consumed, water intake, surgery info, your BMI, and so on.
Below, there are sections of the app including Recipes, Checklist (of all things required before surgery), Journal, Reminders, etc.
To start tracking simply tap on the green circle with a plus symbol on it, and it will expand showing all parameters you can track using Baritastic app, including water intake, daily log (food), exercise, weight, and measurement. There's also summary showing the entries for a particular date with trends.
Since keeping track of what you eat is the most important step, especially after bariatric surgery, this was the first thing to check. The screen is divided in a similar fashion, providing nutrition summary at the upper portion of the screen, and main meals below.
To add food, simply tap on the box with a particular meal, for example, breakfast, and then on 'Add Food' button.
There are several ways to add food. The most convenient is using the phone camera to scan the barcode from the package or to say a name of the food into phone's microphone and the voice recognition software would do the rest.
The less convenient way is by using Search. Why less convenient? Because you won't find any food this way. There's no visible food database you can choose from or autocomplete feature that would populate the list as you type. Nothing. Even if you enter the name of the food, eggs for example, and then tap on magnifier icon, nothing would happen. Search simply doesn't work.
You can circumvent this problem by adding your own food via My Foods section, but that's not a solution. The food database would still be inaccessible unless you use camera/microphone method. You can use this section to create your recipes or view Baritastic recipes already included in the app.
The other things work more or less the same as in other tracker apps. Users can track how much calories they lose by exercising. However, Exercise section has a similar problem. You can view the huge lists for both aerobic and strength exercise, but you'd have to browse through them because there's no way to use the search. You can also track your steps but this would require you to connect the app to a wearable device.
Baritastic app allows users to set reminders for meals, water, vitamin supplements, or any other thing they want to track. A patient who plans to undergo the surgery can add it in the app with all details about it.
The social aspect is one of the most important things in Baritastic app. Users have the option to join a Baritastic Social on Facebook, or create their own group and invite their friends to join them. There's also a Timeline feature, allowing users to add before/after photos to track their progress visually.
Baritastic app includes a lot of resources and tools, but they link outside the app, all except videos that, luckily, open in the app. There are also Trophies that are awarded for different achievements.
Keep in mind that Baritastic app requires an Internet connection, so use the app on Wi-Fi to avoid costs.
Overall, I expected more from the app that ranks so high in mobile stores. While Baritastic app certainly offers a lot of features and tools for bariatric surgery patients, some things can't be tolerated, particularly Search feature that simply doesn't work and cripples the user experience.
Until it's fixed, I would recommend bariatric surgery patients using other trackers.
Benefit: Patients who are considering bariatric (weight loss) surgery, and those who underwent it, may find this app useful