3 Best Protein Powders After Gastric Bypass (2024 Review)

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James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 12, 2023
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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.

Quick Summary

  • Transparent Labs Whey Protein excels in purity, Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth provides extra health benefits, and Powerbuild is optimal for post-surgery muscle building.
  • To effectively recover and maintain muscle mass after gastric bypass surgery, incorporating a high-quality protein powder into your diet is crucial.
  • A study by the National Institutes of Health highlights the critical role of protein in preventing malnutrition and promoting healthy muscle aging, especially after bariatric surgery.
  • From my perspective, prioritizing a protein powder that's easily digestible and nutrient-rich is vital for anyone recovering from gastric bypass to ensure proper health and muscle maintenance.

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

CTA of Transparent Labs 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

Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein Powders

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

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.

Why is Protein Important?

various types of protein

According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), protein plays a number of important roles in the body and is one of the key nutritional factors in maintaining independence and healthy life. Firstly, protein is essential in preventing protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) and promoting healthy muscle aging [1].

NIH also states that protein is known to be more satiating than other macronutrients that regulate food intake and body weight. Adequate protein intake can also slow down or even prevent the loss of muscle strength and mass, which is observed in aging populations [2].

From what I've observed in others, maintaining a high protein intake post-gastric bypass is crucial to minimize the loss of muscle mass, a common issue for bariatric patients.

How Much Protein Does a Gastric Bypass Patient Need?

measuring protein intake

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?

protein supplements after bariatric surgery

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.

Based on what I've seen, protein supplements, particularly shakes, are incredibly beneficial post-surgery, especially during the initial liquid-only diet phase, for meeting protein requirements. 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?

female bodybuilder eating

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?

various sources of protein powder

Protein powder has multiple different sources. Here is a quick look at popular protein options:

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

effects of protein malnutrition

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.

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.

References:

  1. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5872778/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14557793/
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