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Old 09-07-2009, 08:06 PM   #1  
Back on the wagon!
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Default Bariatric surgery diet w/o the surgery?


I hear all the time about people who lose tons of weight after weight loss surgery. I figured why not give that eating plan a try--shouldn't that work just as well withOUT the surgery as with it?

I found the full guidelines on the Duke University website, so today I bought some protein drinks, skim milk, etc, and I'm planning to give it a go for the rest of September.

Anybody else ever tried this? Did it work?

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Old 09-07-2009, 09:32 PM   #2  
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Will it work, in that you'll lose weight? Probably. Will it work "just as well?" Probably not, for several reasons. Largely, it depends on what kind of surgery the diet is aimed at. Some weight loss surgeries remove part of the digestive tract, meaning that a good number of calories aren't digested at all. As a result, just following the diet, is not going to give comparable weight loss results (which is not to say it won't work, but expecting results that are similar to surgery patients, may be unrealistic).

However, for surgeries that only reduce stomach (or functional stomach) capacity, such as lapband, you could get comparable results by following the diet (at least if you're a person who has no problem over-riding feelings of hunger). However, the surgeries that just limit stomach space, generally don't require specialized diets (though lower-carb diets, are still generally recommended).

The uber-high protein/nutrient diets are generally intended for the types of surgery that have removed a good portion of the digestive tract, as the diet is designed to compensate for the absorption problems that are often a side effect of such surgeries. Failing to follow the diet, can result in painful and even dangerous and life-threatening side effects, from nausea to severe malnutrition.

I'm not aware of any dangers or unfortunate side effects of the diet for people with intact digestive systems, but it's possible that there are some. You might consider asking a dietitian (particularly one who works with bariatric patients - a good bet is diabetic or bariatric nutrition counselor or educator affiliated with a hospital).

Most people who seek wls have tried almost everything to lose weight, and it's not losing weight that's the problem, it's sustaining the habits in the long term. So, it's likely that you will lose weight on a diet that emulates the wls diet, but the bigger question is whether it's a plan you can stick to in the long-term, and how (if at all) you intend to transition to a different food plan when or as you get closer to reaching goal weight.

I've been on the weight loss rollercoaster for nearly four decades (since I was 5 years old), and I've been on several diets that were very similar to the standard post-surgery diet. They worked, in the short-term. Transitioning to a more normal diet always tripped me up, though. Going from a mostly liquid to a mostly solid diet inevitably causes some weight gain (just because of the extra weight of solid food in the digestive tract during digestion - and the extra water the body retains in order to process the solid food). I found that gain very discouraging, and the semi-fasting increased the allure of solid food. For some people, mostly liquid diets do not register as "food," in the same way that solids do, so reintroducing solids can be very difficult to control, almost as if the person had been truly starving. Being presented with "real" food, the brain and brain chemistry kicks into high gear, making it very difficult to exert the necessary willpower. Bingeing is likely to be hard to resist.

I know it sounds like I'm trying to talk you out of it (maybe I am, a bit, as my experience with this type of diet has not been very successful), but I think the bigger issue is being informed of the likely pitfalls. So, if you do try it, you have a chance at recognizing and preparing for them.

All of that being said, there is one wls emulation that I did find very helpful, and successful (as long as I practice it). I had read in a Reader's Digest or Prevention magazine article about imitating the effects of lapband (and other stomach shrinking surgeries) by eating very small meals throughout the day - never eating more than 1 cup of food at any given time. The catch is that even occasional larger meals will prevent the stomach from shrinking. So you can't eat any meal-sized meals. It's difficult at first, because it's hard to break the habit of expecting a "real meal." Also, because the stomach takes weeks to shrink, you feel like you're always hungry, and just because you're eating only 1/2 to 1 cup of food at a time, you have to be very aware of how many calories you're eating, because it's easy to graze enough calories to prevent weight loss.

Good luck, in whatever you decide.

Last edited by kaplods; 09-07-2009 at 09:34 PM.
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