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      Community Guidelines   09/15/2015

      A reminder that we have a general set of guidelines that are available at http://www.thinnertimesforum.com/guidelines/. If you have any questions or concerns, you may express them to me or a Community Leader directly. Thank you,
      John Callery
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Too much protein?

20 posts in this topic

Is that possible? I mean, for gastric bypass patients. Will getting TOO much protein cause weight gain or weight loss stalls? How much would be considered TOO much if that's possible?

I'm getting around 80 grams a day, so I know that's not too much. My dietitian's goal for me is 70 grams per day. I was just curious.

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Too many calories will stall weight loss, and if you eat very large amounts of protein, you may be getting large amounts of calories. However, protein itself will not stall weight loss.

Very large amounts of protein may be hard on the kidneys, but unless you have kidney disease, you probably don't need to worry about that. I would suggest using caution if getting more than 150 grams a day. Below that, I personally wouldn't worry.

And I would not suggest getting 150 grams for most people. If you work out a whole lot and really hard, maybe. For the average person, not necessary.

Kelly

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Too many calories will stall weight loss, and if you eat very large amounts of protein, you may be getting large amounts of calories. However, protein itself will not stall weight loss.

Very large amounts of protein may be hard on the kidneys, but unless you have kidney disease, you probably don't need to worry about that. I would suggest using caution if getting more than 150 grams a day. Below that, I personally wouldn't worry.

And I would not suggest getting 150 grams for most people. If you work out a whole lot and really hard, maybe. For the average person, not necessary.

Kelly

I concur. That's good advice! :)

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Too many calories will stall weight loss, and if you eat very large amounts of protein, you may be getting large amounts of calories. However, protein itself will not stall weight loss.

Very large amounts of protein may be hard on the kidneys, but unless you have kidney disease, you probably don't need to worry about that. I would suggest using caution if getting more than 150 grams a day. Below that, I personally wouldn't worry.

And I would not suggest getting 150 grams for most people. If you work out a whole lot and really hard, maybe. For the average person, not necessary.

Kelly

Thanks, Kelly...that makes sense. Of course right now I'm getting the majority of my protein through protein shakes. I do two a day and they are 34 grams each. Being on the "pureed" stage still, I'm getting some cottage cheese, pureed tuna and stuff like that in...which is averaging around 10-15 grams per day. So I think I'm good on the calories as well.

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Too much protein can damage your liver as well, and I have first-hand experience. Here's a blurb from a site that pretty much states verbatim what my internist told me after my emergency gallbladder surgery. I was one of those types who supplemented two whey isolate protein drinks a day for the majority of my first two years.

"Liver damage from excess whey protein closely related to ketosis. If you take in to much protein, you bring your body in a state called ketosis, characterized by elevated levels of ketones in the blood. Ketosis is dangerous because it causes high levels of stress on the liver that down the road may lead to liver damage."

I left the hospital with elevated liver enzymes (normal is 50, I was over 1000 at one point, and left the hospital over 300). They were unable to perform the standard ECRP test to scope and investigate my bile system, liver, and pancreas because of the RNY surgery. They intended to wait to watch how my enzymes reacted over a two month period before deciding to go further. Test results from bloodwork I took recently show still elevated levels of enzymes and I now need to have a liver biopsy performed which will require another hospital visit.

I try to avoid debates on how much protein you should take in daily, or how much is actually absorbed, because it, like vitamins and food in general, depends on the individuals body function. No two of us are alike. There have been no definitive studies that I know of and have only stated opinions based on what my surgeon told me, and what others have stated here. As with everything, you learn over time that a lot of the "requirements" are speculative at best and in all honesty, if each of us has the ability to absorb at different rates, how could a study ever be definitive?

But one thing my internist expressed is that in other countries (he's Peruvian), they tell RNY patients to drop their protein intake down to 50-60g per day (normal recommended daily intake) after the initial 18-24 months of high rate weight loss. This is due to two factors, one, as stated above, the potential for liver damage, which while it won't happen to everyone, does happen, and often goes undiagnosed unless a liver enzymes test is performed or a failure of another organ (gallbladder in my case) brings it to light, and two, as others have stated on this board, and he stated as well, at the 24 month mark or approximate, your body can now absorb food more efficiently and we need to drop the intense RNY post-op diet and move to a more normal diet, which is low-fat, and lean protein.

In reality, I have no one to blame but myself. I was aware and have been told that surgeons generally want you to get most of your protein from food, but with the amount of exercise I was performing, I assumed that the whey isolate protein would be quickly utilized. I never thought to educate myself on just exactly how the body functions and my assumption that the protein would just pass cleanly was dead wrong. I was eating lean meats and fish as well daily and my total protein intake was in excess of 100g.

My internist gave me a great analogy. Feeding protein is no different than putting gas in a car. The gas drives the motion of the vehicle, but gas contains additives and naturally occurring "dirts" that cannot be effectively burned off or utilized and end up producing damaging contaminants that wear down key engine components. No different in a sense to the human body.

So as a disclaimer, this is just information that was provided to me. I'm not endorsing it as gospel, just sharing my experience for educational purposes. In the past month, I've moved myself into a more normal diet, added adrenal supplements (not actual hormones) to help stimulate and repair my adrenal system and not only am I feeling much better, but my stalled weight-loss has kicked off again. Unfortunately, the damage to my liver has probably already been done, but I don't think, nor does my internist, that it's life threatening or cause for liver replacement.

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I asked my surgeon about this, and he said unless there is a problem with the organs to begin with, the protein drinks shouldn't affect them. I still drink 16 oz. everyday because I need more protein than I can get in through food due to my iron problems/anemia.

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I asked my surgeon about this, and he said unless there is a problem with the organs to begin with, the protein drinks shouldn't affect them. I still drink 16 oz. everyday because I need more protein than I can get in through food due to my iron problems/anemia.

What is the protein count for that drink? My two drinks were approximately 40g each for a total of 80g, not including the typical 20-40 addition grams via lean meats, nuts, and dairy.

Again, I'm not discounting anybody's individual situation or what their surgeon is recommending. I had no less than 6 completely different individuals in the hospital tell me that my gallbladder failure and gangrenous state was "most likely" caused by my high consumption of whey protein. I was told that I could drink one per day from now on, with just a single scoop providing 23g in my case. I was doing almost two scoops in each drink.

Edited by rappaport

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What is the protein count for that drink? My two drinks were approximately 40g each for a total of 80g, not including the typical 20-40 addition grams via lean meats, nuts, and dairy.

Again, I'm not discounting anybody's individual situation or what their surgeon is recommending. I had no less than 6 completely different individuals in the hospital tell me that my gallbladder failure and gangenous states was "most likely" caused by my high consumption of whey protein. I was told that I could drink one per day from now on, with just a single scoop providing 23g in my case. I was doing almost two scoops in each drink.

A friend of mine was recently told by his doctor that he was getting too much protein in his diet and that it was starting to damage his liver. He is a normal weight guy who has never had surgery but was probably eating around 100 g a day.

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"Liver damage from excess whey protein closely related to ketosis. If you take in to much protein, you bring your body in a state called ketosis, characterized by elevated levels of ketones in the blood. Ketosis is dangerous because it causes high levels of stress on the liver that down the road may lead to liver damage."
Opinions vary on this.

I'm not sure how ketones damage the liver as they are created by the liver, and are a by-product (excess) from the liver metabolizing fat. And it is my understanding that lowering your carb intake is what triggers the liver to metabolize protein and fat, not excess protein.

The process as I understand it is that when you lower your carb intake, your body must find an alternate fuel source. Basically, your body thinks that you are starving and will start leaching fat and protein from your system. This is a normal process (our genetic predecessors did not have supermarkets). Also, dietary protein (amino acids) available in our system during ketosis will be used before the body starts reducing muscle mass.

However, excess amino acids in your system will make your blood more acidic (as it's converted to uric acid), which can be hard on your liver and kidneys over and extended period of time.

I would say that everyone who goes through WLS will be in ketosis for a period of time during the first few months post-op. This is why protein (to avoid muscle loss) and hydration (to flush out the uric acid) is so important.

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Some quick googling leads me to believe that ketosis is generally caused by a low carb diet, not by getting too much protein. Now, low carb diets are often high in protein, but they don't have to be. I can't find anything that says eating too much protein causes ketosis.

I found many things that say there is no risk associated with ketosis, but I did find one article that says some experts believe it may stress the liver and it may cause loss of muscle tissue. Apparently that is in dispute, though.

Here's some of what I found:

Ketosis is the presence in the blood of abnormally high levels of acidic substances called ketones. Ketones (also called "ketone bodies") are chemicals with a carbonyl unit (a carbon doubly bonded to an oxygen) that has two alkyl or aromatic (hydrocarbon) substituents bonded to the carbon atom. They include acetoacetic acid, 3-hydroxybutyric acid, and acetone.

What Causes Ketosis?

Ketosis is caused when the body metabolizes body fat for energy purposes, instead of the usual glucose-from-carbohydrates. The ketones are actually produced by the liver from fatty acids, Gluconeogenesis, which result from the breakdown of body fat. As stated, the body doesn't usually metabolize fat for energy: it usually burns glucose which it obtains from carbohydrates. But if there isn

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Ugh.

Again, thanks to those for pointing out research in this thread and others, which as I've said a dozen times before means diddly squat to me now. For every point, I can find a counterpoint. For every truth, I can find an untruth. I don't have an undying need to be right all the time and google till my eyes pop out. The proof is in the pudding. Believe what you want to believe, put on those rose colored glasses. This surgery is puppy dogs and rainbows. Really it is. The internet says so.

I was told what I was told by real live medical experts (including one by chance who actually assisted on my RNY surgery in 2007), during a real live experience. Excessive whey protein, if taken over a extended period of time is dangerous to your liver, and in turn, other organs. That is learned knowledge. I didn't comply, almost died from a ruptured and gangrenous gallbladder and I am now facing the prospect of liver damage, possibly to the point of needing a transplant. And I don't even know at this point what damage was done to my pancreas or kidneys. I could tell you of other people I know of with similar issues, but what's the point? And that RNY assistant...he's no longer in that field. He spent an hour with me after surgery and told me some things I would never share here.

I'm done with this thread and posting anything of significance for people to learn from. I'll just slip back into lurker mode.

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You're welcome to post what you've learned here, of course. Others will post what they've learned.

If I understand what you're saying, you learned from your doctor that too much protein (or is it just too much whey protein?) causes ketosis and liver damage. I learned from my doctor (who I imagine has credentials similar to those of your doctor) that it is safe to use whey protein shakes. We can each decide to take our doctor's word for it, or we can investigate further. I decided to investigate further, and learned that many sources say ketosis is caused by too few carbs, not by too much protein. I also learned that many sources say ketosis is not dangerous.

Everyone can decide what they want to believe. I am not telling you not to believe your doctor, and I'm not telling anyone else not to believe your doctor. People are free to just take someone's word for something, or they can do further research before deciding.

Kelly

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My protein drink is 20g per serving, so it's just a total of 40 grams. I can certainly see your points in both....

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Excessive whey protein, if taken over a extended period of time is dangerous to your liver, and in turn, other organs.
FWIW, I do not disagree with you on this point.

I think that we can all agree that the bottom line is that too much protein is not going to be of any benefit for you, and that there are potential issues that can be caused by overuse.

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My doctor told me that the 50gms of protein I was drinking in my morning shake was just making "expensive urine." My body cannot take all that protein in at one sitting. He said to try to get off the protein shakes as soon as possible to start eating like a "normal person." But I wonder how many GB patients still supplement their diet with shakes and bars. I am 12 wks out.

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He spent an hour with me after surgery and told me some things I would never share here.

I'd be willing to bet that there are quite a few of us that are interested in whatever that was.

I'm done with this thread and posting anything of significance for people to learn from. I'll just slip back into lurker mode.

I hope you won't leave due to a difference of opinion. You have a valuable voice to add to any discussion!

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My doctor told me that the 50gms of protein I was drinking in my morning shake was just making "expensive urine." My body cannot take all that protein in at one sitting. He said to try to get off the protein shakes as soon as possible to start eating like a "normal person." But I wonder how many GB patients still supplement their diet with shakes and bars. I am 12 wks out.

When I went for me 2 week post-op visit last week I was told to continue my protein shake twice a day (it's 34 grams per shake). They told me to continue this, along with my puree/soft food diet until I come back for the 6 week post-op visit. She did say that I would most likely rely on the protein shakes for about the first 6 months before I would start to get most of my protein from food. That's just what I was told. Of course, everyone is curious as to what other patients dr.s are telling them for comparison purposes.

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I forgot to mention it earlier, but if anyone wants to know if they are producing ketones there is a very simple test for this. Go to any pharmacy and ask for Ketostix. It is a urine dipstick with a color indicator (easy).

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When I went for me 2 week post-op visit last week I was told to continue my protein shake twice a day (it's 34 grams per shake). They told me to continue this, along with my puree/soft food diet until I come back for the 6 week post-op visit. She did say that I would most likely rely on the protein shakes for about the first 6 months before I would start to get most of my protein from food. That's just what I was told. Of course, everyone is curious as to what other patients dr.s are telling them for comparison purposes.
I have not had protein shakes as a part of my diet for about 4 years, but I do make protein the centerpiece of all of my meals.

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I am no expert on nutrition or the affect of protein on one's body. All I know is what has happened to me on a high protein diet. I'm am preop at this point.

Years ago I followed the Potein Power Plan (which is similar to the Adkin's diet) and I lost weight very easily. Once I lost 30 pounds on this plan.

Now, what happened to my body while following this plan. I would have "attacks" of pain in the kidney area. I thought I had stones. It was a pain that felt like someone was grabbing my kidneys and twisting them and they wouldn't let go. I would vomit during these attacks.

After they were over I would sleep for a few hours. I will never over do the protein again! I'm sure it would damage my kidneys!!

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