Are You Drinking Calories?

Ok, I realize it's a little late in the year to be talking about a "New Year's Resolution" but since it is my first newsletter of the year I'm going to anyway. The resolution I'm going to propose is related to the question in the title: Are You Drinking Calories?, I'll explain below……..

So, if you are drinking calories I have one very simple, easy to follow suggestion for you…..DON'T! Lets all make that our New Year's Resolution…Don't Drink Calories!

Lets review a couple of basics before we go any further. For human beings there are only four things that provide calories (energy) 1) Fat 2) Carbohydrates (sugars) 3) Protein 4) Alcohol. Those are the only four things are bodies can use to do work.

The problem with liquids is that if they have calories they are almost always the worst kind: fat and simple sugars (known as "empty calories" because they have very little nutritional benefit but can still cause weight gain). The best way to avoid this problem is to only have liquids that have zero calories. You must be absolutely certain it is zero calories. The way to be certain is to always look at the label and make sure it actually says "zero calories".

A second New Year's Resolution (if I may) is to always read the labels of what you are purchasing/consuming…very educational I assure you. Let me give you an example of what I mean, the other day at the hospital I was in the doctor's lounge. I was thirsty so I looked in the refrigerator to see if there was any water. Nope, no water but plenty of Coke and juices (lots of sugar in both!) and then I see a bottle of iced Starbucks coffee. Hmmm….iced coffee, that sounds good, on the front of the bottle it says that the coffee is "lightly sweetened".

I think, "lightly sweetened" how bad could that be? An iced coffee sure sounded like it would hit the spot. Just for kicks, lets see what the label says….22 grams of sugar and 120 calories! It has almost as much sugar as a Coke! I'm thinking to myself, the "regularly sweetened" coffee must have enough sugar to put you in a diabetic coma!

I can just imagine someone who doesn't read labels thinking to themselves I had "a coffee". The fact of the matter is you would have had a caffeinated beverage that is a nutritional nightmare….essentially a milkshake that happens to have caffeine in it.

In any event the safest bet is to stick with water and flavored waters that have zero calories. Like all rules there is, of course, an exception. For bariatric patients the most important exception is the protein drink. Obviously, the protein drink is a liquid and obviously it has calories (after all, it has protein!), that is why we give you a list of suggested protein drinks. Not all protein drinks are the same and many are nutritional nightmares just like the "lightly sweetened" iced coffee.

All the protein drinks the we recommend are at the very least acceptable (some are better than others). If you find a protein drink you like and it is not one we have recommended you can take a picture of the label and email it to me and I'll let you know if it is OK. You can also bring it in to the office and show it to our nutritionist. But please, if it is not one we are recommending then make sure it is appropriate for bariatric patients

That's it for this edition. Take home message, don't ever drink calories and never assume you know how many calories there are…always read the label.

Just wanted to take this opportunity to introduce two new members of the Garden State Bariatrics team.

First is Robin Gould, if you been to the Millburn office recently you may have seen her or even had an appointment with her. She is the nutritionist who replaced Marisol in Millburn. You may, in fact, be seeing more of her in this newsletter as she has graciously agreed to take over the nutritional corner that Marisol has written in the past.

Second is Keith Bischoff. Keith is the Physician's Assistant who is primarily in the Toms River office but will occasionally be in Millburn as well. In addition to the office he will be assisting both doctors with surgery. Although new to our practice Keith has 9 years of experience in the office, hospital and the operating room.

Good News! If you enjoyed the "From the Gut" column by your fellow patient, Glynn Fluitt (like I do) then I'm happy to report it's back….

fromthegutFrom the Gut… by Glynn Fluitt
Mr. Fluitt is a patient, member of the Century Club and graciously contributes his thoughts and insights as a patient, a champion and an advocate for us all!

For old times' sake…

A friend of mine at the office called me yesterday to tell me that a friend of HIS, again at the office, asked if my friend thought I would be willing to discuss weight loss surgery with her.

Hmmmm.. "Yes!" I responded with absolutely no hesitation!!

It made me realize how long it had been since I had discussed my surgery and the related tribulations that went along with it. I used to write THIS article for Dr. Bilof regularly as a way to share some of my personal thoughts with potential and existing WLS surgery patients. How did I fall off the waagon?!? I am 6 years post-op, but I am STILL a WLS success story! I am still an ex-morbid!!!

I'm back!

And I started thinking about what I would discuss with my friend's friend – let's call her Sue (because that's her name!).

I began figuring that I would tell Sue about my pre-surgery trials with protein powder samples. How about regaling her with stories about my "Book of Firsts"? Oh – and she should learn the proper calculations about protein calories versus those for carbs and fats.

Then I realized it was about HER agenda, not mine! She probably had her own questions or topics to discuss. I had no way to know what's going on in her head that would prevent or propel her to being successful as a WLS patient. So I'm just going to let HER drive the agenda — with as much support and information as I can muster.

Come to find out my friends sister had had the sleeve surgery during the holidays without telling anyone in her family for fear of making them "worry" during the Christmas break!

She's doing great, btw, but she did it alone.

WLS is like every other topic. You'd be surprised how many others are out there in the same situation. Pre- or post-surgery. Wondering if it is the right thing to do. Fretting about the after-math. Wondering how they'd fit and how they'd behave in a world of "normal" people who can eat whatever and whenever they want!!

Folks!! There are no "normal" people!!!! Ask your damn questions!!!! Seek out counsel!!! Get informed!! Be happy and certain about the choices you're trying to make.

For one, that's my crusade! Ask me!! I'm not the world's foremost expert, but I've been there.

After looking into all the support groups and systems, I began following so many other patients and candidates. I have hundreds of followers across my multiple twitter accounts. Sometimes I tweet, sometimes I read. But I have never stopped celebrating the fact that I am an EX-morbid. And have been for multiple years.

I'm going to revisit some of my legacy articles and topics and see what I can resurface for discussion. In the meantime, I encourage you to keep the conversation going. You never know who might be lurking in the shadows willing to either share information or air their concerns.

Or just ask me. For old times sake…

Follow me @BariatricDude

Hope to talk to you soon!


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