After WLS we are instructed to follow a high-protein, low-carb, good-fat diet. We're given a range of 60g to 80g of protein intake per day. But how did they come up with that number and is it right for every person?
And most importantly... what happens if we eat too much protein?
Let's so some digging into the protein needs of both "Normies" and "Posties". (Normal digestive folks and post-op WLS folks.) Obviously a Postie will need extra protein to compensate for the rapid weight loss and malabsorption of food and nutrients in an altered digestive system.
Here are the various recommendations for protein intake from health organizations around the world. (Calculations are based on *MY* ideal weight of 135.)
U.S. RDA - Recommended Daily Allowance (same as UK's RDA)
.8g of protein per 1kg of ideal body weight per day
(Equal to 49g protein intake)
World Health Organization (WHO)
.45g or protein per 1kg of ideal body weight per day
(Equal to 24g protein intake)
National Academies' Institue of Medicine
10% to 35%* of 2000-calorie/day diet should come from protein
(Equal to 50g to 175g protein intake)
*35% as the upper limit is currently being challenged by other organizations
Typical WLS Program Recommendation
20% to 35% of 1,200-calorie/day diet should come from protein
(Equal to 60g to 105g protein intake)
Can I eat too much protein?
Yes! And the consequences are not pretty, either. Here's a few things to remember:
Protein sources have a high nitrogen level. Nitrogen is broken down in the liver and a biproduct of that process is is ammonia. Ammonia is poisonous and can be harmful to cells in the body.
Stress on the kidneys can occur when the body has to process more than 2g of protein per kg of ideal body weight. (Which translates to 122g for my body.)
High protein levels can decrease Vitamin B6 levels and cause deficiency.
Increased calcium excretion has been associated with high intakes of protein from animal sources - leading to osteoporosis.
Excess protein is converted to blood glucose in the body. Excess blood glucose is stored as fat. (Remember that the body also gets blood glucose from any carbs we eat, which is plenty of fuel for the body.)
But what about all the extra exercise I'm doing? Studies have shown that professional athletes who do extreme strength training need only about a 50% increase in their protein intake. So for a 150lb man who is an avid body builder his normal need would be 54g of protein intake per day. Increase that by 50% and he'd only need 81g of protein.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.... that's not what THEY will tell you or what they even want to hear. They will say they need "1g of protein pre pound of current body weight." But I ask them to please check out that list I just wrote above about the risk factors for taking in excess protein. I really don't want to enter myself into that huge fight... so that's all I'm saying on that topic. LOL!
So there you go.... more information about protein then you ever wanted to know.