My brother is trying a liquid diet and this seems very dangerous to me.

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My question is about the amount that a person needs a day in protein. My brother is trying a liquid diet. I told him that he needs not only vitamins and minerals but also a certain amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. I was especially concerned about protein and how overall his calorie intake is so low. For a while he did not eat anything just drank the supplement. Now he is eating a small amount with the supplements. I asked him how much protein was in his diet and he said that it had 75% of the recommended daily need for protein, carbohydrates, and fat. But it did not tell what that was. He said that each supplement was 110 calories and that it is recommended 3 times a day. He also may eat up to 300 to 400 more calories a day. This seems very dangerous to me. How can I get more information?

I am very worried, today he told me he has lost 32 pounds in 2 weeks. I know that being more overweight, a person can lose faster. He weighs around 500 pounds.

He is also drinking a lot of water, taking water pills and also taking Phen/fen to help with control of appetite. I do know that he will see his doctor again.

Although, his doctor did not tell him the first time that he had started this diet, is there an average amount of protein in grams and calories, that a person should eat a day? He is tall, 6 feet  3 inches and, in his 30’s. Do you have any suggestions on what I could tell him? To help him see that this may be dangerous. Thanks for your Help.

Your brother’s protein RDA is 63 grams per day. If he is telling you that drinking a supplement 3 times a day will provide him with 75% of his protein needs, then he may be getting 47 grams of protein. Current food labels only list the grams of protein, not what percent a serving of the labeled food provides so I am not sure how he figures he is eating 75% of protein he needs. Some studies suggest that the minimum dietary protein to prevent lean tissue (organs and muscles) from being broken down for energy is 20 grams per day. If your brother is getting 75% of his protein requirements then he is probably getting this minimum protein. Is he also getting 75% of his RDA for all vitamins and minerals?

BTW Phen/Fen was taken off the market in 1997 so not sure where he is getting these diet supplements. My question would be for a doctor who prescribes a diet pill for a very overweight individual without asking what the patient is eating. The current therapy using appetite suppressants should include nutrition counseling and frequent office visits to monitor tolerance and complications that result from the drug therapy with rapid weight loss. The drug is available by prescription only and your brother will have to return to his doctor to renew it. I would suggest a healthy eating plan, exercise (doctor approval required at his weight) and water pills be discussed with the doctor.

Persons who are more than 100 pounds overweight or double their healthy body weight are very overweight. Your brother’s healthy body weight is 186 to 206 pounds.

Current nutrition therapy for morbid obesity can include a very low-calorie diet (VLCD) around 600 calories per day, vitamin supplements, exercise and prescribed appetite suppressant drugs. VLCD produce quick results but do not necessarily increase long-term successful weight loss. A physician and a Registered Dietitian should supervise this process.

Current calorie recommendations for obese and overweight persons are a minimum of 1200 per day, low-fat foods, and exercise. I think it is an improvement that he is eating some regular food and could probably use some guidance in making food choices.

In addition, he should not take water pills without his doctor’s advice as he could become depleted in sodium or potassium. Weight loss will vary, however 32 pounds in 2 weeks is excessive and I would suggest that some of that weight loss is water due to the dehydrating effect of the water pills. Any weight loss greater than 1 pound per day is temporary and usually due to fluid shifts in the body.