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How much protein have you had so far today?
"As a group, we are not eating enough protein and this shortfall is putting our health at risk."
We know that after weight loss surgery we should follow a high protein diet. We call this "Protein First" - the first of the Four Rules of WLS. Mainstream studies of people managing their weight without bariatric surgery continue to indicate a diet high in protein supports weight loss and weight management in addition to promoting health.
WebMD recently reported, "Diets higher in protein and moderate in carbs, along with a lifestyle of regular exercise are often purported by experts to reduce blood fats and maintain lean tissue while burning fat for fuel without constant hunger sidetracking dieters." Researchers don't understand exactly how protein works to turn down appetite. They surmise that it may be because a high-protein diet causes the brain to receive lower levels of appetite-stimulating hormones. It may be due to eating fewer carbs and/or the specific protein effect on hunger hormones and brain chemistry.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
The experts are now suggesting dieters eat 120 grams of protein a day to get the potential weight loss benefit. They advise advancing protein intake gradually, "If you want to increase your protein intake, do it slowly over the course of a week. To be on the safe side, check with your doctor before adding large amounts of protein to your diet."
120 grams = 20 ounces or 1.25 pounds protein/day
Bariatric centers are less precise in their protein recommendations. In fact, a 2008 study reveals nutritionists recommend anywhere from 60 to 105 grams of protein a day for patients following a 1,200-calorie diet. The recommendations vary so much that there is confusion in the WLS population about how much protein we need. What we do know is that as a group, we are not eating enough protein and this shortfall is putting our health at risk.
In 2011 a leading researcher and bariatric specialist reported, "We found that there have been few studies on protein intake recommendations for bariatric patients. Dietary protein ingestion among this population tends to be inadequate, potentially leading to a loss of lean body mass, reduced metabolic rates, and physiological damage. Conversely, a protein-rich diet can lead to increased satiety, enhanced weight loss, and improved body composition. The quality and composition of protein sources are also very important."
We need to turn this trend around. Today's 5 Day Pouch Test Bulletin takes a look at how we can use our 5DPT experience as a catalyst to following and enjoying a high protein diet and the health benefits and weight loss that accompany it. As we turn the page on summer stepping into autumn let's use the enthusiasm of "back to learning" to make a new commitment to the goals and health objectives that we valued so much when we underwent surgery in the first place.
We are all in this together!
You are more powerful than you think and
You Can Do This! Kaye