Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Why High Protein/Low Carb for the Band?

It is my understanding that high protein/low carb works because protein doesn't shoot your blood sugar up. It has something to do with your insulin levels. You store more food as fat if you raise your blood sugar levels. If you don't, you don't store food as fat. Your muscles burn it off instead. You can eat more and store less.

The protein stops your cravings because you haven't raised your blood sugar. It's absorbed by your system much more slowly, giving you a constant source of energy rather than a big boost and then a drop-off and its burned off more steadily by your muscles.

Also, sugary, simple carb foods like candy, cookies, potatos, white rice, bread and so on, dissolve easily and are often combined with fat so they slide through the pouch quickly leaving you hungry and craving food because your pouch is empty plus you've shot up your blood sugar which increases cravings.

Most fruit also contains simple sugars that shoot up your blood sugar, so, though better for you than refined sugars, they can only be had in very limited quantities or combined with a meal that's high in protein to keep your blood sugar level.

Protein, when not combined with a lot of sauces or moisture or carbs and other sliders, stays in your pouch making you feel full much longer. So protein works on several levels.When you eat even too many vegetables you don't leave enough room in your pouch for the protein you need to live. And veggies are carbs. Most take a little longer than sugar to break down in your system, but some, like carrots, are full of sugar. If you're not getting enough protein, your body will burn muscle instead of fat. More than anything else, your body needs protein. You will start to lose your hair and your nails if you're not getting enough while losing weight.

Fat isn't nearly as bad for you as simple carbs when you're on high protein because you don't store it. So cholesterol actually goes down for people who eat a lot of meat, including red meat. And red meat actually helps raise your good cholesterol as does exercise.Whole grains and vegetables will also digest more slowly and not shoot up your blood sugar and may have some protein or good fats in them. However, again, they take up space in your pouch and limit the room you need for protein. So limit them.

That's why bariatric surgeons insist on high protein low carb diets. They work with the metabolism and they work with the band. I'm sure others could explain the blood sugar and insulin part more clearly than I did, but that's my basic understanding. The only diets on which I lost weight and felt great were high protein low carb diets.

Now I've got the band to help me stay on that food protocol. That's why my blood sugar has improved so much. It's not just the weight lost. I'm now below the borderline range. It's not just the quantity of food. It's not just the total number of calories. You can actually eat more calories on a high protein low carb don't worry so much about the fat diet and lose more weight than on a low calorie, no fat or a low calorie but it doesn't matter what you eat diet.

Now, only really rigid people are able to maintain this diet all the time. That's why I have days where I allow myself treats. But they don't do damage as long as I limit them and as long as the majority of the time I'm following the high protein, low carb protocol.

For foods that aren't protein, if you want to know if they'll shoot your blood sugar up or not, check the glycemic index. Also, diabetics learn to keep their blood sugar stable by the way they combine foods and by eating small amounts more frequently.

Just remember, hi-fiber foods, though low on the glycemic index, fill your pouch and swell and can leave you without enough room for the protein you need. Many nuts and seeds are a perfect combination of low glycemic carb, protein, and the kinds of oil that are good for you. I eat little spoonfuls of shelled, roasted, slightly salted sunflower seeds a few times throughout the day when I'm at work. These give me a constant flow of energy without shooting up my blood sugar.

Legumes, which are low on the glycemic index, (dry beans cooked like pinto, black, chili, white, navy, etc. have protein as well as high fiber, low glycemic carbs) but are all to easy to turn into sliders because they're usually in soups or soupy, saucy mixtures so they don't keep your pouch filled. Plus the sauces are often more full of sugar than you realize. Tomatoes have a lot of sugar. So do onions. Refried beans aren't as moisturized and will stay in your pouch longer. That's why they're on the list of mushies you can start eating a couple of days after surgery.

Low-glycemic carbs are the things I'm planning on increasing in the maintenance stage. Still high protein first, but more fibrous vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. I just have to remember, a little of these goes a long way, and I still have to eat protein first. Starchy foods like white potatoes, white rice, pasta, and definitely breads and pastries, crackers and any kind of chips, even if they're whole grain, are going to be very occasional treats, or just a taste with my meal.

These are all items that tend to increase cravings for carbs because they are one step away from simple sugars (you can actually taste them turning into sugar as your saliva combines with them) and they increase blood sugar.

Since my band limits portion size with protein as long as I don't turn my protein into sliders, and I know which foods to keep out of my house, avoid, or limit to occasional treats, I don't have to spend a lot of time worrying about counting calories, points, weighing or measuring, counting fat grams, or even counting carbs. That simplifies things for me and because of my ADHD I need to have a very simple food plan in order to succeed. If I find myself able to eat too much dense protein at a sitting, then I know I need a fill. Everybody's different, but knowledge is power. This is what works for me.

God is good, all the time.
All the time, God is good.

1 comment:

  1. This is extremely good information!

    Thanks and keep up the good work!!