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Caloric Intake: what is reasonable?

Hello everyone. I am newly diagnosed. Had major surgery on March 6th 2019. My gut was a train wreck. Discharged from hospital on March 19th with feeding tube bypassing stomach and duodenum. The tube came out April 2nd and I have been consuming all my calories by mouth since then. Recent bloodwork shows normal liver and kidney function and no Crohn’s antibodies. Only deficiency is mild anemia and they are starting me on an iron suplement.

Now for the question. How many calories are too much? Currently I am consuming more than 3,400 calories per day. And this is just following my normal appetite. Sticking with low residue foods except for one meal of cooked veggies each afternoon. Small meals every 1-2 hours. Weight gain is about six lbs between April 2nd and April 24.

Should I be concerned about consuming too much? I can probably eat 4,000+ calories but I don’t want to overdo it. Bowel movements are normal. (Yes, I am very blessed in my recovery. I have a lot of people praying for me.)
San Diego
Unless you are way underweight from your disease and trying to catch up, 3400 calories/days seems like a lot to me. A man of normal weight and build needs about 2500-2800 calorie/day. A women needs about 2000.

If you are already of normal weight you will eventually get overweight from consuming 3400-4000 calories/day unless your disease has caused you to have food absorption problems such that a lot the calories don't really get into your system.
Sorry, I should have explained that part too. When I left the hospital I was 112 lbs. I am 5' 7" so this is well below the minimum BMI. Prior to surgery I could only consume 800 calories per day and I wasted away while waiting for surgery. I became severely malnourished and on the day of surgery I only weighed 105.

So yes, my current high calorie consumption is intended to correct the malnutrition and rebuild my body. Current weight is 121 and my goal is 155.
Hi, I would only worry about calorie consumption once you reach your desired weight. At that point, normal caloric intake for an adult male is 2200 to 2800 calories - depending on your weight and age, etc.
Hi Dryheat, sorry to revisit an old thread, but can you give me an idea of what "low residue" foods you were eating to get to 3400 calories? Was it just pure white bread?
Hi Dryheat, sorry to revisit an old thread, but can you give me an idea of what "low residue" foods you were eating to get to 3400 calories? Was it just pure white bread?
I am attaching a couple of files to provide the most thorough answer to your question. The PDF document shows my food log from April 28th 2019. The attached image shows the nutritional summary generated by the Nutritionix.com database. As you can see at this time my diet was very heavy on Carbs. Which is what you need to gain weight. As I approached my goal weight of 150 lbs (sometime in June), I reduced the calories to 2400 per day and flipped the macro-nutrient profile towards protein and fat. I was lifting weights by that time and growing muscle fast. My current macro-nutrient ratio averages are as follows: Protein 26%, Carbohydrate 21% (14 grams of dietary fiber), Fat 49%. I have maintained this macro-nutrient profile since the end of June 2019.

I'll try to anticipate some of the questions you might ask after viewing these details:
1. Pre-Breakfast Chocolate? Protein shake. Blue Bonnet Dual Action Whey isolate.
2. Metamucil? Yes, they started me on this while I was in the hospital recovering from surgery. It was very effective at reducing the diarrhea.
3. Iron supplementation. I was extremely malnourished pre-surgery because I could only consume 800 calories per day. So they started me on iron supplements in mid April. I added fiber to my diet in order to mitigate the typical affects of iron supplementation (constipation).
4. Trigger foods? Post surgery, I found no foods that would trigger a flare. I was very cautious on the way to ramping up the calories and documented everything that went into my mouth so I could understand what was helping gain weight the fastest. Pancakes! Macaroni Salad!
5. Body weight: 153-155 lbs. 19.9% body fat and 35.5% muscle mass. I would still like to gain an additional 5-10 lbs of muscle and reduce the body fat to 19.5%.

I understand everyone's body is different. So I found what worked for me. I had a great support system for my post-surgery recovery. I maintained a healthy attitude of gratitude, and still do to this day. Every single breath is a gift from God. Hope that helps.


Thank you for posting your diet plan. Congrats on the progress and the ability to find foods that work for you. I guess the message is to find foods that work for you, but be deliberate about it. I can definitely see how much you relied on carbs! Perhaps I need to embrace them as well.

For what it's worth, to answer your original question about what calorie intake is reasonable, professional body builders trying to reach 250 + lbs will routinely eat 4000-4500 calories a day, but they are literally double your size. Again, glad to know that you found something that works for you.