I have often been asked by patients how much protein is adequate for bariatric surgery. Our post-op resource guide details our recommendations, but I am often faced with the question, “How much protein do I need?” and “What protein shake should I drink?” The answer is you don’t have to drink any, but you will likely feel and progress better if you manage to take in a certain amount of protein.
How much protein do I need? The amount depends on the type of weight loss surgery that you have had. Our restructure patients (lap bands and sleeve gastrectomy) require a little less protein around 6 grams daily. They will absorb protein better and therefore require a little less. Our Gastric Bypass patients will generally need 60 to 80 grams daily because there is a malabsorptive component to this mixed procedure. Our Billary Pancreatic Diversion patients (BPD) will generally need 80 to 100 grams daily because this procedure involves a higher degree of malabsorption.
What protein shakes should I get? There are many protein shakes that would be adequate for our post bariatric patients; there are so many brands that it is impossible to list them all in this context. In general, it is important to look at the nutrition label, make sure that aren’t too many calories, carbohydrates, or fat grams per serving. It usually recommends less than 120 calories, less than 5grams of fat, and less than 8 grams of carbohydrates, also to be affective it should have at least 12 grams of protein. In Summary, shakes are not absolutely necessary, but they do facilitate healthy weight loss in both bariatricand non-bariatric patients. Protein is vital for all body functions; including maintenance of muscle mass. In my early years of bariatric surgery 2004-2005, I worked in a bariatric program that forbade all protein shakes. Now our program activity encourages protein shakes, I can honestly say, the patients feel and progress better.
Dr. K. Robert Williams