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Is protein over-rated? Am I being misled?



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Okay, I had my sleeve done on Wednesday the 15th and I still feel like crap. I had my pre-op tests done on the 13th (full body scan, blood test, and routing checkup with the surgeon) and went into op around 8am that Wednesday. I know the time frame is weird, but considering the fact that the surgeon does 2 to 3 bariatrics surgeries a day (popular guy), I felt pretty comfortable doing it.

I wanna start off by saying, I'm quite amused at the level of "attention" and pre-reqs that is required in the U.S. It is super unnecessary, a sleeve is probably one of the easiest major surgeries that can be performed. I actually felt sad for the people that had to undergo years of testing and check ups and even liver operations just to be able to do it. Don't waste your money and time on that and just find a reputable surgeon abroad who will most likely do it at 1/10th of the cost while being much more experienced with it (I was treated like a client/customer whenever I conuslted a doctor in the U.S. rather than a patient).

Now that I got all the negativity towards the American healthcare system, I want to ask a few things about my current diet. For the most part, most post-op diets are similar but I don't understand how some people go hard on Protein during the 1st phase when my diet doesn't involve any protein until the 5th week.

First 14 days is Clear Liquids, and the nutritionist/surgeon literally just advised me to drink white grape or apple juice (peeled,strained, added Water, no added sugars), broth water (no fat, no seasonings, bleh), and herbal drinks (no caffeine). How the heck is my body supposed to stay alive on what I suppose is basically nutrient weak foods? I'm still alive obviously, but I don't see how I won't be turned into a skeletal frame by the end of the 2nd week on this diet? I asked my doc "am I gonna be alive to even enjoy solid foods in a couple of months if I stick to this diet?", to which he replied "don't worry buddy, trust the process".(okay he didn't actually say that, but it was something among the lines of it'll be okay if you stick to it).

I mean I trust the process, but I don't really trust the science behind it. Why do some people have the luxury of being allowed to eat SF Jello, ice pops, Protein Shakes, puddings, etc. just a few days after surgery when my diet is so harsh? How is not having any protein over 2 weeks a good thing? I had a natural weight loss journey before (300 to 185) and it involved a LOT of protein and little to no carbs/sugar + high fat for muscle building, so this just sounds so alien to me.

Not sure if this helps, but I'm a 28 y/o male, current weight 258 ideal 170. I was prescribed anti-heartburn meds, pain meds, and blood thinners as well as a weekly dose of B-12.

Sent from my SM-N970U using BariatricPal mobile app

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If you had heartburn prior to surgery I'm surprised that your popular doctor performed the VGS instead of the RNY gastric by-pass (which usually resolves reflux, heartburn, GERD). Many of the sleeve patients on this board have had revision to RNY a few years after their first surgeries.

While your first 14 day diet does sound alien, your new stomach is healing. The clear liquids won't harm it, and you are getting calories from the grape and apple juices. (Most of us are told to avoid fruit juices, which contain more concentrated sugar content and lack Fiber, which would make fresh fruit a healthy choice.) Two weeks of clear fluids sound daunting.

Good luck! Let us know how it turns out.

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2 hours ago, imgoincrazy said:

How is not having any Protein over 2 weeks a good thing

It isn't. Especially not as a younger male. Demand a better plan.

Btw - completely agree on your opening paragraph. This kind of thinking comes from a culture that considers obesity a moral defect. Ironically, that kind of judgment is a moral defect. Being obese isn't.

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that's weird. I was even told to increase my Protein a couple weeks before and a couple weeks after all the other surgeries I've had (not just my WLS) because it supposedly helps with the healing process.

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Congrats! I feel what you're saying.

Before my surgery my diet for the 11 days prior consisted of 4 Protein Shakes a day and 4, 1 cup serving of non starchy vegetables. NO MEAT!

Then after surgery my diet was 2 weeks FULL LIQUIDS, followed by 1 week PUREE, and 2 weeks SOFT FOODS, then finally normal foods.

So yeah, between the 11 days pre-op and two weeks post of of liquid, that was almost 4 weeks of nothing but liquids (but for the veggies in the pre-op stage). The Protein came mostly from the shakes in those stages. It seems almost impossible but it works. I was so happy when the puree stage came. LOL

And YES, protein is VERY important!! Not only to keep you losing weight but also to help you not lose so much hair or at least to shorten to Hair loss phase. I recently, and inadvertently, put myself in a month and a half long stall because I was so inconstant with protein and ingesting LESS than the recommenced amounts of it (plus a few other things I was doing wrong as far as my macros goes). So again, YES, protein IS important for many reasons.

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You can’t even do Protein Shakes after clear liquid phase? I mean I get that a shake is stage beyond clear liquids and for whatever reason your doctor wants a longer time on phase one but why can’t you have shakes week three at least.

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Congratulations on your sleeve. First I’m going to address the issue of Protein. In the beginning Protein is super important. It helps heal, Hair loss, muscle building, skin elasticity, etc. My full liquid diet consisted of 3 Protein Shakes a day with a list of other fluids in between my shakes. My surgery center let me know it was imperative that I got in at least 3 protein shakes a day. I went home with a 30 day supply of Bariatric Fusion protein power and Vitamins. Along with prescription for nausea and pain. So not having any protein for two week properly isn’t a good thing. They also gave me a list of approved bariatric protein shakes and powders so I can order more once I ran out of what they sent me home with.

Now to address the negative, I don’t recommend anyone go abroad or go for a cheaper version. I actually feel sad for you because we went to a place that didn’t give you the correct information to be successful in the long run. This surgery is about so much more than have someone reputable to cut into you. It’s good to have a surgery team to be there for you before and after the surgery and to let you up for success.

Everyone’s situation is different. Your starting weight was like mine in the 200s, so I didn’t have to undergo some of the things that others have. I must mention the I had RNY and not sleeve.

There are a couple of things that I see that I know my surgery center in the US would have caught. Assuming you had heart burn before your surgery, RNY would have been the way to go instead.
Also I started my surgery journey in August and I had my surgery in November in the US. During the months leading up to surgery, I was taught a new way of eating not only food choices, but also how to chew, eat slower, and take smaller bites. This made it easier for after surgery. I was also accustomed to ending this new way.
I had several tests done just to ensure I was healthy enough handle the anesthesia. During the coarse of these tests it was discovered that I had sleep apnea and an irregular heart beat. Had I gone aboard and settled for a cheaper option, I could have died one the table because the anesthesiologist not know of these issues and we hadn’t worked to correct them as much as possible before hand.
I had to work with a psychiatrist to work through my emotional eating. Now I turn to prayer or journaling instead of a bowl of ice cream and potato chips.

So I said all that to say, YES you need protein.
And to discourage anyone from taking a short cut or cheaper option. As you can see you can easily be given misinformation or left without the necessary info and tools to be successful after the surgery.

Best wishes 💛💛💛💛

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Congratulations on your sleeve. First I’m going to address the issue of Protein. In the beginning Protein is super important. It helps heal, Hair loss, muscle building, skin elasticity, etc. My full liquid diet consisted of 3 Protein Shakes a day with a list of other fluids in between my shakes. My surgery center let me know it was imperative that I got in at least 3 Protein Shakes a day. I went home with a 30 day supply of Bariatric Fusion protein power and Vitamins. Along with prescription for nausea and pain. So not having any protein for two week properly isn’t a good thing. They also gave me a list of approved bariatric protein shakes and powders so I can order more once I ran out of what they sent me home with.

Now to address the negative, I don’t recommend anyone go abroad or go for a cheaper version. I actually feel sad for you because we went to a place that didn’t give you the correct information to be successful in the long run. This surgery is about so much more than have someone reputable to cut into you. It’s good to have a surgery team to be there for you before and after the surgery and to let you up for success.

Everyone’s situation is different. Your starting weight was like mine in the 200s, so I didn’t have to undergo some of the things that others have. I must mention the I had RNY and not sleeve.

There are a couple of things that I see that I know my surgery center in the US would have caught. Assuming you had heart burn before your surgery, RNY would have been the way to go instead.
Also I started my surgery journey in August and I had my surgery in November in the US. During the months leading up to surgery, I was taught a new way of eating not only food choices, but also how to chew, eat slower, and take smaller bites. Most of all how to get used to not drinking for 30-45 minutes after eating. This was the hardest habit to break. Lol!!!! This made it easier for after surgery. I was also accustomed to ending this new way.
I had several tests done just to ensure I was healthy enough handle the anesthesia. During the coarse of these tests it was discovered that I had sleep apnea and an irregular heart beat. Had I gone aboard and settled for a cheaper option, I could have died one the table because the anesthesiologist not know of these issues and we hadn’t worked to correct them as much as possible before hand.
I had to work with a psychiatrist to work through my emotional eating. Now I turn to prayer or journaling instead of a bowl of ice cream and potato chips.

So I said all that to say, YES you need protein.
And to discourage anyone from taking a short cut or cheaper option. As you can see you can easily be given misinformation or left without the necessary info and tools to be successful after the surgery.

Best wishes 💛💛💛💛

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I had reflux before my sleeve surgery but because it was not frequent, I managed it mostly with diet & only took an esomeprazole occasionally. I still have reflux but it manifests differently now (less severe hiccups no bad taste in my mouth). I do take esomeprazole every day now & it manages the burning for most of the day (get some late at night fir a couple of hours). My understanding was that heartburn alone is mild & can be managed a lot with diet. Reflux is worse but again diet can play a big role in easing symptoms but gerd is more severe & generally needs regular meds to help manage it. If you have gerd sleeve is not your best bet.

As everyone above has said, Protein is essential to a healthy body. It will aid your healing after surgery. It’s used as building blocks in our bodies (bones, muscles, etc.) contributes to hormone & enzyme production & is a source of energy.

it does seem odd that your surgeon doesn’t require the consumption of protein post surgery. My surgeon was okay if I didn’t met my 60g a day protein goal to begin as long as I was working towards it & I’m glad as I physically unable to eat (drink) more than I was. It easy easier when I got to purées & soft foods (weeks 3 on). It would be worth a conversation with your surgeon as to why he’s a no protein advocate from early on post surgery & why he pushes fruit juices (even diluted).

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Thank you all for the thought out replies, I truly appreciate it.

I understand that I shouldn't have taken the cheap route, but I didn't have 25k laying around to get the surgery done in the U.S.

With that said, I talked to a few friends who used the same surgeon within the last year or so and they all said great things about him and they averaged close to 1 pounds lost per day for the first 60 days. That definitely was what lured me in since I've been trying to lose weight for almost a decade now and I always rebound.

For the record, I don't have heartburn. He just prescribed it to me "in case" I get heartburn in the morning or at night. It's just a preventative.

My second phase is week 3 and 4, and it involves a "Full fluid" diet; basically a clear liquid diet but I do get to have some other things like sugar substitutes, fat free yoghurt, fat free custard, and fat free creamy Soups (no chunks).

I also got a visit from him and the nutritionist post-op where they explained what kind of lifestyle changes I have to make now that it's done (chewing a lot, exercice more regularly, Portion Control, etc.) so it's not like they're completely irresponsible; it's just that they don't see it as a major op and told me that as long as I don't cheat and follow through with all phases, I would be good. It's easy for us Americans to judge their actions, but at the end of the day I did it in a country where the medical field is more advanced than what we have and I truly believe that we make it difficult because insurance companies wanna bill you the most for everything and obesity + overconsumption is seen as benefitial to the economy.

Pureed food is for week 5 and 6. This is where I get to have some Protein, 45-50grams a day split up between 6 small meals(1 boiled egg, 1 cup of fat free milk, 30grams of soft cheese or low fat cheese, 1 can of tuna in Water drained).

Weeks 7 and 8 is soft foods and then after 2 months its solid foods but maximum of 8 spoonfuls per meal.

I guess I should just go ahead and say that I did it in Israel, so if you have any doubts on the quality of healthcare over there; know that it's in the top 10 whereas the US is in the bottom 48.

I hope this works out well, will keep you updated!

Sent from my SM-N970U using BariatricPal mobile app

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Congratulations on your sleeve. First I’m going to address the issue of Protein. In the beginning Protein is super important. It helps heal, Hair loss, muscle building, skin elasticity, etc. My full liquid diet consisted of 3 Protein Shakes a day with a list of other fluids in between my shakes. My surgery center let me know it was imperative that I got in at least 3 Protein Shakes a day. I went home with a 30 day supply of Bariatric Fusion protein power and Vitamins. Along with prescription for nausea and pain. So not having any protein for two week properly isn’t a good thing. They also gave me a list of approved bariatric protein shakes and powders so I can order more once I ran out of what they sent me home with.

Now to address the negative, I don’t recommend anyone go abroad or go for a cheaper version. I actually feel sad for you because we went to a place that didn’t give you the correct information to be successful in the long run. This surgery is about so much more than have someone reputable to cut into you. It’s good to have a surgery team to be there for you before and after the surgery and to let you up for success.

Everyone’s situation is different. Your starting weight was like mine in the 200s, so I didn’t have to undergo some of the things that others have. I must mention the I had RNY and not sleeve.

There are a couple of things that I see that I know my surgery center in the US would have caught. Assuming you had heart burn before your surgery, RNY would have been the way to go instead.
Also I started my surgery journey in August and I had my surgery in November in the US. During the months leading up to surgery, I was taught a new way of eating not only food choices, but also how to chew, eat slower, and take smaller bites. Most of all how to get used to not drinking for 30-45 minutes after eating. This was the hardest habit to break. Lol!!!! This made it easier for after surgery. I was also accustomed to ending this new way.
I had several tests done just to ensure I was healthy enough handle the anesthesia. During the coarse of these tests it was discovered that I had sleep apnea and an irregular heart beat. Had I gone aboard and settled for a cheaper option, I could have died one the table because the anesthesiologist not know of these issues and we hadn’t worked to correct them as much as possible before hand.
I had to work with a psychiatrist to work through my emotional eating. Now I turn to prayer or journaling instead of a bowl of ice cream and potato chips.

So I said all that to say, YES you need protein.
And to discourage anyone from taking a short cut or cheaper option. As you can see you can easily be given misinformation or left without the necessary info and tools to be successful after the surgery.

Best wishes [emoji169][emoji169][emoji169][emoji169]

Thank you! I will certainly miss potato chips, it was truly my kryptonite. Wish that awful stuff didn't exist lol

Sent from my SM-N970U using BariatricPal mobile app

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49 minutes ago, imgoincrazy said:

Thank you! I will certainly miss potato chips, it was truly my kryptonite. Wish that awful stuff didn't exist lol

Quest Protein chips are made from milk protein isolate (a far better protein than the soy stuff they usually make protein chips from) and I swear to god, you'll thank me later you found this food that isn't only beneficial, but tastes amazing. I like the ranch version best.

Anyway, have you checked out clear sugar-free Protein Shakes (the ones where it's still a milk protein, but it basically looks like lemonade)? That would qualify for a clear liquid in my program, while still giving you protein. While yes, always stick to plan, I'd switch to that if I had been put on a low-protein plan.

FWIW, I was on 100g protein/day and 1400 cals from day 1. Just checked my binder. Protein shakes, sugar-free choc milk etc.

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Quest Protein chips are made from milk Protein isolate (a far better protein than the soy stuff they usually make protein chips from) and I swear to god, you'll thank me later you found this food that isn't only beneficial, but tastes amazing. I like the ranch version best.

Anyway, have you checked out clear sugar-free Protein Shakes (the ones where it's still a milk protein, but it basically looks like lemonade)? That would qualify for a clear liquid in my program, while still giving you protein. While yes, always stick to plan, I'd switch to that if I had been put on a low-protein plan.

FWIW, I was on 100g protein/day and 1400 cals from day 1. Just checked my binder. Protein shakes, sugar-free choc milk etc.
Dude, I almost forgot about Quest products. That's going to slap once I'm back in the states. My favorite is the barbeque.

Just to check, since it is solid, I shouldn't be going anywhere near it until I'm ready? What if I chew it until it's all mushy?

Sent from my SM-N970U using BariatricPal mobile app

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3 minutes ago, imgoincrazy said:

Just to check, since it is solid, I shouldn't be going anywhere near it until I'm ready? What if I chew it until it's all mushy?

Yup, none of that, and texture doesn't matter, you stomach will still react to it as a food and start doing the things you don't want it to do. At least that's my understanding.

Hunker down for now, but seriously, your chips craving sounds like Protein craving to me. You'd be amazed what your body will do to get what it needs.

I know I'm too low in cals when my mind starts thinking about french fries. I don't actually want fries, I just want something that'll keep me from losing too much, too fast (at this point I don't want to lose more, but COVID decided to take a few lbs too).

I was depleting my Iron for a bit around month 4-5-6, and developed a craving for liver patés. I was like 'what the h... why do I want that? Ooooh, let's check my iron levels' and sure enough.

Just to share how specific and determined the body can be when you listen to it.

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Are you able to contact your team? It seems like week three when you are on full liquids you could have Protein Shakes and add Protein Powder to your Soup. I know nothing about israel but maybe Protein products aren’t so easily available there so They don’t put them on the list but maybe they would still be okay for you to consume??

Edited by ShoppGirl

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