Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Disturbing Diet

On Monday, I went with a friend to Terre Haute, Indiana to a bariatric center. She has been on this diet for a long time and has been raving about this center. She finally convinced me to check it out. (For a little background information, in the last 2 years or so, I have lost about 45 pounds. I still have between 20-30 pounds to go and have hit a major slump.) The center is run by a doctor and a nutritionist, so I thought they might be able to help me get a handle on my overeating.

It started off well: they ran every test known to man. They took blood, a urine sample, and even did an EKG, which I had never had done. It was all very thorough. What started to disturb me was when they gave me a vitamin B shot for energy and a potassium prescription. Then, I found out why that was protocol: the diet they advocate is very high protein (100 grams a day, which I later found out is twice the recommended daily allowance) and no carbs (well, unless you count what they call "good carbs," which is veggies only. No fruit, no grains, nothing.) The diet is so restricted that you need to have supplements so you don't become malnourished, basically. The abundance of protein is to keep you satisified and help prevent muscle loss.

It wasn't until I was on the way home that I started to ask questions (I had been there for 4 hours, mostly waiting and was ravenous since I had had to fast for the blood work, so I was pretty hazy). When I got home and did some calculations, I realized that if followed strictly, this diet would give me approximately 800-1000 calories a day. No wonder they are worried I will lose muscle mass. Heck, I would probably be ready to eat my own arm off after a few 800-calorie days. It also became clearer why I needed the vitamin-B shot: 800 calories would never give me the energy or nutrients I need to survive. I did some more research and discovered that to maintain my weight I need about 2200 calories. To lose a pound a week (which is what is considered safe by most experts) I should lower my intake by 500 calories, so I should really be eating more like 1500-1700 calories. This means that doctor is telling me to eat HALF of what I should. I don't understand how a doctor and a nutritionist can feel good about this diet. It seems so irresponsible to me. I mean, yes, people will lose weight, but at what cost?

Do any of you have any experience with the high protein craze? Anybody out there know about nutrition and what would happen if someone followed a diet like this? Do tell!

1 comment:

Colette said...

Hey Girl-WOW-this whole protein diet is gaining ground again-but I really don't know why. I haven't been able to ever make it past one day without carbs. Plus-since the whole Atkins revolution, science has come out with TONS of research that we actually have to have carbs. I know that people lose weight quickly 'cuz protein never is stored as fat, but as soon as you start eating carbs again-the weight slowly comes back. My father in law has done it several times, and is still struggling to keep off his weight.