Protein intake is vital after bariatric surgery. A limited stomach capacity requires you to eat protein first and fulfill your daily nutritional expectations. Your target is to exceed 60 to 90 grams of protein each day. This goal can be met by eating high-protein food sources, including chicken, fish, eggs, or beans.
Why is protein important after bariatric surgery?
Protein is essential to promote healing and prevent the loss of lean muscle mass. It also reduces potential side effects like hair loss, bone density loss, and saggy excess skin. Protein is an incredibly powerful source of energy and must be eaten first during every meal.
Best Food Sources of Protein
Eating high-protein food is the best way to meet minimum protein requirements. Here are some good high-protein sources
- Eggs: can be scrambled for breakfast or hardboiled to add to salads or have for snacks.
- Meat and Poultry: lean meats are good options to add to salads or to have as a side with steamed vegetables.
- Seafood: Tuna is a convenient choice to add to salads or to have as a side for any meal.
- Beans, Lentils, and Chickpeas: can be added as a side, into a soup, or as hummus to increase protein intake after surgery.
- Tofu: a great way to add protein to a plant-based diet. It can be scrambled for breakfast or creamed as a dip for a snack.
- Dairy: yogurt, cottage cheese, and milk add protein and calcium to your diet. Read this if you’re lactose intolerant.
- Nuts and seeds: can be added to yogurt, salads, or bariatric smoothies to increase protein intake.
What to look for in a protein supplement?
Any protein supplement you take should be a source of complete protein. A complete protein has nine essential amino acids; histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
We recommend protein supplements containing at least 20 grams and less than 5 grams of sugar.
Collagen supplements are not complete protein sources and shouldn’t be taken instead of protein supplements.
Important: Always be sure to check the nutrition label when buying in-store or online. If the nutrition label is not available online, most protein shakes have the amount of protein and sugar shown on the front of the bottle.
Best Protein Supplements After Bariatric Surgery
Here are some great options that fulfill bariatric guidelines and where to find them.
Premade protein shakes are an easy snack and an easy way to meet your daily protein goals on the go.
All flavors are okay, except for Caffe Latte (contains caffeine)
Orgain (Plant-based protein)
Protein powder can be used before and after surgery. After surgery, protein powder can be added to thick liquids like blended soup and oatmeal to increase protein intake.
Emerge Bariatrics High Protein Meal Replacement
Contain 27 grams of complete protein and less than 5g of sugar.
Naked Pea (Plant-Based)
If you are on a clear liquid diet before or after surgery, you can not have protein shakes, but you can have clear liquid protein drinks.
Gatorade Zero with protein