Monday, February 22, 2010

How do you fuel your body?

Protein intake is so important when you're working out.  I've heard a lot of people say you should only get your protein from food sources, however I don't necessarily agree with that. 

There are different types of protein...

Today, I am going to focus on whey protein

RNY Gastric bypass surgery works in two different ways.  It staples your stomach to make it smaller (the receptors that tell you that you are FULL are at the top of your stomach, so if you've stretched it enough, you may never feel that sensation).  It also bypasses some of your intestines to make you malabsorptive.  (How it works.)  This means that you would absorb fewer calories after surgery.  But this also means you absorb fewer nutrients.  It is very important to take your vitamins and supplements after surgery (this is actually important to most people in general, as our soils have been stripped of many nutrients anyway).

I am six years post-surgery.  For at least the first five of those years, I had to drink a whey protein shake every morning.  If I missed my shake for even a week (even if I replaced it with a food source with the same amount of protein), I'd start getting light headed and blacking out.  For me, whey has always worked better than soy (this past year, I traded out my protein shake for cottage cheese and peaches, and its worked so far...I have no idea why).  And, for that time, the shake clearly worked better than trying to EAT that much protein.  Some doctors will tell you they don't want you to use meal replacements, but you have to do what works for you.  And blacking out randomly wasn't really my thing.

People used to come to our support group meetings bragging about the high number of grams of protein in their shakes.  One of the protein powders boasts 55 grams of protein per scoop.  Sounds like a great deal if you're supposed to get 75 to 100 grams of protein per day after surgery.  I have always heard that the body absorbs about 30 grams of protein per sitting (so, basically an hour).  So, if you decided to have your 55 gram shake (at 250 calories per scoop (estimated) instead of my 30 gram shake at 125 calories per scoop), you wasted all of those calories and didn't even get the benefit of all of the protein!

While researching this topic, I actually found a very interesting article.  The author actually claims you can only absorb about 15 grams in an hour and a half...  Read here.  And another article that says your body will eventually adapt to the protein you eat.

One thing I've learned after surgery is that EVERY body is different.  So what works for me might not work for you.  But protein is an important nutrient for our bodies, whether we've had surgery or not.  We only have one life and one body, so make sure you take care of it.  :-)

Until next time, keep twirling!

BONUS:  Great book for weight loss surgery patients:  The Success Habits of Weight-Loss Surgery Patients by Colleen Cook.  Want to get in shape?  Make it a goal.  Try a 5k (its "only" three can do it)!  I also just signed up for sparkpeople.  I figure it can't hurt!  I still need to lose 45 pounds by my birthday.  My user name on there is lolorashel if you want to add me!


  1. Thanks for the information, Lori! I think very few people get any of the nutrients that their bodies need these days, and while I am personally an outspoken advocate of healthy foods, I am not opposed to supplements to make sure our requirements are met.
    I am impressed with the research you are doing, keep it up!
    Susan Hanna

  2. Susan, I'm so glad you're following me! I agree that most nutrients should come from food and not supplements, but if you're malabsorptive, sometimes you have to rely on those supps!