The Dangers of Broccoli?

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

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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 up a journal, only to find a case report entitled “The Dangers of Broccoli.”

First a little background: a Roux-en-y gastric 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 of what used to be top of the stomach. So you can only eat like a thumbful 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, three months postoperative, at an all-you-can-eat 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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

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 up a journal, only to find a case report entitled “The Dangers of Broccoli.”

First a little background: a Roux-en-y gastric 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 of what used to be top of the stomach. So you can only eat like a thumbful 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, three months postoperative, at an all-you-can-eat 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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

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: lifelong adherence to a healthy diet. Check out my other videos on obesity.

For further context, be sure to check out my associated blog post, The Best Detox.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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