Weight loss surgery is a big decision. It’s going to change your body and help you lose fat.
However, losing fat is only going to happen if you take care of your nutrition after your bariatric surgery, including your protein intake.
You may need more protein than before, and protein supplements can help you avoid the nasty side effects of malnutrition.
Let’s take a look at why protein is important after weight loss surgery like gastric bypass or gastric sleeve.
Why is Protein Important?
Protein is fundamental to building bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It’s important no matter what stage of life you are in, but it’s crucial for weight loss surgery patients.
When you don’t eat enough protein, the body will look for other ways to get protein. It will start breaking down lean body mass which is body mass that you want to keep.
Bariatric patients will lose lean body mass regardless, but you want to ensure that only minimal damage is done by consuming enough protein.
How Much Protein Does a Gastric Bypass Patient Need?
The average bariatric surgery patient needs 60-80 grams of protein daily post-surgery.
The exact amount will vary, so it’s best to consult with your bariatric doctor about your protein intake.
In comparison, the average sedentary man needs 56 grams per day, and the average sedentary woman needs 46 grams per day.
When Do You Need To Take Protein Supplements?
You should consider protein supplements during the beginning of your post-bariatric operation stage.
Most gastric bypass patients are on a strict liquid-only diet during this phase.
Not having food meals can make it hard to get the right amount of nutrients, especially protein.
Protein supplements, like protein shakes, can help you get enough protein intake after bariatric surgery. They can be used as meal replacements in your diet. Meal replacements are a substitute for solid meals.
Protein Powder Buyer's Guide
Here are a few things to consider when picking protein powders:
What Kind of Amino Acids Are You Getting?
Protein is made up of amino acids. There are nine amino acids that your body can’t make on its own, so you need to ensure that it’s part of your diet.
These nine amino acids are referred to as “essential amino acids”.
When picking out a protein powder for yourself, you should try to find one that has all of the essential amino acids to ensure that you are getting enough for your body.
What Is the Source of the Protein?
Is the Protein Made From Isolates or Concentrates?
If your protein source is from products like whey, casein, or soy, then you should look to see if they are the concentrate or isolates version.
Concentrates have lower amounts of protein, while isolates have a higher concentration of protein. This can affect how much protein you are getting in each serving.
What Protein Powder Should You Avoid?
It’s recommended that protein powder made from collagen should be avoided for bariatric patients. They aren’t a good source of protein and don’t contain all of the essential amino acids.
When consuming collagen-based products as your sole source of protein, the loss of lean body mass can occur despite meeting your daily protein goals.
- Kimberly Mahoney, MS, RD, LDN
Dangers of Not Taking Enough Protein
If you don’t eat enough protein with your meals, then you have a higher risk of developing protein malnutrition.
Weight loss surgery patients create this risk when they don’t meet dietary guidelines.
Protein malnutrition can lead to muscle loss which isn’t ideal for those who are trying to lose fat. You want to lose the fat, not the muscle. It’s important to take protein to prevent the loss of lean muscle mass.
Drinks like protein shakes are one option to help get enough protein in your diet.
The Dangers of Taking Too Much Protein
Some problems may occur when you take more protein supplements than your body needs.
The first issue is that excess protein from meals can cause dehydration, so it’s important to drink enough water. Water helps with the transportation of nutrients in the body. (1)
Excess protein is also stored as fat in the body to be used later. This could lead to weight gain, which is the opposite goal for bariatric patients.
Protein Powder Recommendations
There are several kinds of protein powders available. Some of them aren’t great, but others live up to standards that I have for a protein powder.
Here are a few of my favorites and why they may be a good choice for you.
1. Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein
Remember how we talked about making sure whey protein is isolated? Transparent Labs has one of the cleanest whey protein isolate protein powder.
There are no artificial ingredients, preservatives, or added sugar. One scoop has 28 grams of protein, which will easily help you meet your protein goals after weight loss surgery.
It’s costly, but you are paying for the highest-quality available.
2. Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein Powder
This powder’s protein source is bone broth.
Ancient Nutrition claims that bone broth has vital nutrients that are essential for joint health, gut health, skin health, brain health, and healthy aging.
A scoop has 20 grams of protein. There are also several flavors to choose from, including chocolate, greens, turmeric, and vanilla.
3 - Powerbuild Clinically-dosed Post Workout Muscle Builder
This isn’t a protein powder, but it can help you increase muscle strength and growth.
It contains a lot of ingredients that help your gym performance like creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, and more.
If you get to a point after weight loss surgery to want to focus on building muscle, then consider this supplement.
Protein can prevent having issues after surgery and help you maintain your lean body mass. That way, you can focus on losing body fat and gaining a healthier and longer life.
Since you need more protein than the average person after weight loss surgery, then you may want to consider protein supplements to meet your protein intake goal.
You should consult with a bariatric doctor about your specific situation to get the best results.
Transparent Labs has always impressed me with its high-quality protein powder and care towards me as a consumer. They also make their whey protein in whey isolate form to get the most protein possible.
- Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, 6 Reasons to Drink Water, retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water#1