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The Dangers of Broccoli?

A case report of a woman after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery trying to eat right.

March 23, 2012 |
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Acknowledgements

Images thanks to Andrzej 22 and Evan-Amos via Wikimedia commons and Michael Pollan.

Transcript

Though there are thousands of new studies on nutrition published every year, the overall thrust of the findings are remarkably consistent. As Michael Pollan summed up, Eat food—meaning not junk, mostly plants.
But I diligently continue to scour the medical literature every year—open-minded; you never know what you’re going to find. Rarely does something truly throw me for a loop, but I did put my fork down for a few moments after I opened a journal only to find a case report entitled, The Dangers of Broccoli.
First a little background: a roux-en-y gastic bypass surgery is when you cut out 90% of the stomach. You chop the small intestine in half and staple it to the bottom of your esophagus. So instead of swallowing food into your stomach and then out through your intestines—this whole region is cut out of the loop; the stomach is bypassed—the food just kinda goes straight down into the little pouch, which is a little chunk that used to be top of the stomach. So you can only eat like a thumbfull of food at a time. Your entire meal, is a quarter cup, or otherwise you’re in trouble.
Which brings us back here. 316 pound woman 3 months postoperative at an all you can buffet. I don’t like where this is going. She was so good though, choosing really healthy foods. She just forgot to chew. Her staples blew, ended up in the ER, then the OR. They opened her up and found full chunks of broccoli, whole lima beans and other green leafy vegetables inside her abdominal cavity. The vegetables were almost completely fully formed without evidence of having been chewed.
A cautionary tale to be sure, but less about chewing food better after surgery, than about chewing better foods before, so you can keep all your internal organs intact.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Reminds me of the story of that weight loss drug with the embarrassing side effects (in my video Milk Protein vs. Soy Protein). Whether the risks of surgery outweigh the risks of obesity may not be relevant, since there is a third option, life-long adherence to a healthy diet. See my 25 videos on obesity and hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects.

For some context, please check out my associated blog post, The Best Detox.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Reminds me of the story of that weight loss drug with the embarrassing side effects (in my video Milk Protein vs. Soy Protein). Whether the risks of surgery outweigh the risks of obesity may not be relevant, since there is a third option, life-long adherence to a healthy diet. See my 25 videos on obesity and hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/scorpiomoon/ scorpiomoon

    Hi Dr. Greger!

    Tonight, I found your site and watched many of your previous videos. In past videos, you talk about coconut oil and coconut milk, but I have a question about coconut water.

    I have seen several health experts talk about the benefits of coconut water that comes straight from a young Thai coconut. However, I have read conflicting information about the coconut water one can get in packages (such as Vita CoCo).

    Obviously packaged coconut water is pasteurized and not as good as fresh, so from that perspective it isn’t as beneficial. The thing I am wondering about is the sugar content. It’s my understanding that sugar is not added to coconut water, yet there is a high amount of sugar per serving. Is the sugar in coconut water bad for you? Is packaged coconut water something we should stay away from?

    These days, coconut water is a hugely popular. Is it just another form of unhealthy empty calories marketed as something healthy?

    Thank you!

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      Vita Coco just settled a $10 million class action lawsuit for claiming its coconut water was “super-hydrating” “nutrient-packed” “mega-electrolyte” “super-water,” yet independent testing showed that the actual electrolyte levels were a small fraction of what the label advertised. Earlier this year a study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition compared coconut water to a manufactured sports drink and found no difference between the two in terms of hydration or exercise performance, and in fact those drinking the coconut water reported feeling more bloated and experienced greater stomach upset–and the study was funded by the Vita Coco!

      • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/scorpiomoon/ scorpiomoon

        Thank you for your reply. You’ve answered my questions, dissolved my confusion, and solidified my decision to stick with drinking plain water. :)