Headaches With the Weight Loss Surgery High Protein Diet

Why do we suffer from headaches when we transition from a high-processed carbohydrate diet to a high protein diet? Many weight loss surgery patients are asking this.

There are, actually, several reasons for headaches when abiding a high protein, low carb diet. More importantly, there are several little things we can do to relieve the headaches:

First, when we transition from a processed carbohydrate diet to one rich in protein as advised by most weight loss surgery (bariatric) doctors and dieticians we increase our intake of tryptophan. A short list of foods high in tryptophan includes cheese, meat, nuts, and soy. Ingestion of tryptophan releases serotonin in the brain, which is considered a vasoconstrictor: it tightens our blood vessels. In modest amounts this helps us feel good; but in greater amounts to which we are not accustomed it causes headaches.

To balance the increased tryptophan (an amino acid – good thing) intake we should include appropriate complex carbohydrates in our weight loss surgery eating rhythm: 2B/1B (2 Bites Protein/1 Bite Carbohydrate). Here are some smart food choices for your weight loss surgery diet::

Carbs:

apples

artichokes

basil

bean sprouts

beets

carrots

celery

cranberries

cucumbers

green beans

pears

spinach

squash

Fat:

olive oil

Protein:

lamb

lentils

tuna

turkey

Next, we absolutely must be certain to supplement our diet with essential vitamins and minerals, and in this list I personally include herbal supplements that centuries of human use have proved beneficial to our health and well-being. Please review the list of supplements:

Feverfew: 200-300 milligrams daily

Ginger: 1,500 milligrams taken in 3 (500-milligram) doses daily

Magnesium: 1,000 milligrams a day (WLS post-ops are known to be deficient of magnesium)

Calcium with Vitamin D: 1,000 milligrams daily

Vitamin B6: 50-100 milligrams daily

Vitamin B Complex as prescribed by your doctor, oral, sublingual or injected

If you wake in the morning with a headache I encourage you to have a serving of Emergen-C. I strongly believe Emergen-C is healthful to us because in a single dose you get 60mg magnesium, 200mg potassium; 60mg sodium; 50mg calcium carbonate; (your electrolytes); in addition to vitamin B6 and B12; vitamin C, niacin, thiamin, zinc, and few others. Our little gastric bypass and gastric-banded tummies can absorb this supplement rapidly and it is not difficult or painful to take. If you have not tried Emergen-C please do. As a note, continue your regular vitamin regimen when taking Emergen-C. Use this water soluble product to get just a little extra nutrition.

If your headaches are chronic and you suspect more than the weight loss surgery high protein diet please keep a headache diary in an effort to identify the cause of the headaches. Dr. Alex Duarte suggestions tracking these things:

Diet – Diet and food allergy is the most prevalent cause of headache.

Hormones – Fluctuating hormone levels are known to cause frequent headache.

Weather – Changes in barometric pressure and other weather conditions can trigger headaches.

Stress – Frequent cause of headaches.

Change in Routine – Disruption of regular routine (such as change in diet) is known to cause headache.

Dental Problems or Endodontic surgery are known to cause headaches

Sensory Stimuli – sight, smell, and hearing can cause headaches.

Hypoglycemia causes headache.

Herbal remedies for headaches are, in my opinion, more effective and less disruptive than chemical OTC remedies. Try supplementing your diet with Feverfew, Ginger, Ginko Biloba, Chamomile, Capsaicin, and/or Valerian.

Dark Meat Chicken and the High Protein Weight Loss Surgery Diet

Chicken legs and chicken thighs are often left behind by those following the weight loss surgery high protein diet who favor the leaner lighter breast meat. For years dark meat poultry has been rejected by dieters as too high in fat to play a beneficial role in a healthy weight management lifestyle. But this nutrient dense meat has a place in the bariatric diet and in these difficult economic times dark meat poultry is an affordable choice at the market.

A 3-ounce serving of dark meat chicken, skin removed, provides 166 calories, 21 grams protein, 8 grams of fat (2 grams saturated) and 76mg of cholesterol. But meat should not be judged on its nutritional profile alone: dark meat poultry is an excellent source of the B vitamins niacin and riboflavin and a good source of zinc. And bundle packages of chicken drumsticks and thighs are ridiculously affordable too, often priced less than $1 a pound. Many nutritionists say that the benefits of the nutrient dense dark meat make it the preferred choice to white meat poultry provided the skin is removed before eating and a low-fat cooking method is used to prepare the chicken.

Weight loss surgery patients are prone to B vitamin deficiencies. In addition to B vitamin supplementation patients should regularly include foods that are rich in B vitamins in their diet. Niacin, vitamin B3, is important in the body’s production of energy from food. Niacin helps keep the skin, nerves, and digestive system healthy and is required for normal growth and the synthesis of DNA. Riboflavin, vitamin B2, plays an essential role in the production of red blood cells, energy production, and growth. As we age it is believed we do not consume enough riboflavin and may become deficient in this important B vitamin.

At the market look for chicken thighs and drumsticks packaged separately. Thighs are available boneless and bone-in. My favorite piece is the whole chicken leg with the thigh and drumstick intact and the skin on. Ten-pound bags of chicken legs are available at most super-stores for around.75 cents a pound, a fine bargain when feeding a crowd. Chicken legs can be seasoned and roasted in the oven, skillet fried, or grilled outdoors. Poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. A meat thermometer is the best method for testing chicken for doneness. Without a thermometer to test for doneness pierce the skin and meat with a sharp knife or skewer allowing juices to run. If the juices run clear the meat is cooked.

Serve dark meat poultry with fresh vegetables and citrus fruit. When eaten with poultry, citrus fruits, cabbage, broccoli, red bell peppers, kale, strawberries, kiwifruit will enhance iron absorption from the poultry thus promoting overall health and wellness.

Understanding Ketosis in the Weight Loss Surgery High Protein Diet

Often when we hear about a diet that puts the body in a state of ketosis we are fearful having heard that ketosis is a potentially dangerous imbalance of blood glucose, the result of a low carbohydrate, high fat high protein diet. Ketosis results when the body switches from burning glucose for energy to burning ketones for energy. Glucose comes from carbohydrates which are the bodys first choice to metabolize for energy. Ketones are used for energy when there is not enough glucose (from carbohydrates) present in the bloodstream to use for energy.

Clinically stated, “Ketosis is a condition in which levels of ketones (ketone bodies) in the blood are elevated. Ketones are formed when glycogen stores in the liver have run out. The ketones are used for energy. Ketones are small carbon fragments that are fuel created by the breakdown of fat stores. Ketosis is potentially a serious condition if keytone levels go too high.”

Most patients of bariatric surgery are instructed to follow a high protein, low carbohydrate diet with a modest amount of fat. The body only needs proteins and fats for building and repairing tissue and cells, carbohydrates do not play a part in this metabolic function. Additionally, the body can get all its energy from fats and proteins. A ketogenic diet, which was first developed in the early 1900s, is a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet. When following a ketogenic diet the body will switch from being a carb-burning machine to a fat-burning machine. As a result weight is lost.

Perhaps the best known ketonic diet is the Atkins plan in which ketosis is deliberately achieved by way of high fat high protein and low carbohydrate diet. According to the Atkins program proper monitoring via urine tests will keep ketosis within safe limits and the dieter can reach an ideal body weight without suffering unbearable hunger. Most weight loss surgery patients are discouraged from following an Atkins-type diet because of the high fat content. Surgery reduces the amount of gastric juice available for digestion and many patients do not tolerate high fat foods.

Speaking to the general population (not necessarily weight loss surgery patients) experts are divided regarding the health risk versus benefit of a ketogenic diet. Some experts say it is dangerous because if keytone levels are not properly monitored there may be a strain on the kidneys, and a significant loss of calcium excreted through urine may cause kidney stones or osteoporosis. Proponents of a ketogenic diet cite human evolution in their argument saying during most of the time that humans have existed we have been a hunter-gatherer species living in a ketogenic state for extended periods. Documented studies suggest that after a 2 to 4 week period of adaptation human physical endurance is not affected by ketosis. Some studies go so far to suggest that humans do not necessarily need a high carbohydrate intake in order to replace depleted glycogen stores for energy.

Patients of weight loss surgery should work closely with their bariatric center to develop a diet and lifestyle program specific to their condition of obesity and recovery. While many consider the primary goal of weight loss surgery to be weight loss to improve physical appearance, the higher goal is improved health, energy and longevity.