Protein Power after Gastric Bypass Surgery
After a bariatric surgery like Lap Band or gastric bypass, it’s important to make every bite count. Because your meal portions will be reduced, you will need to eat a variety of healthy foods to help you obtain adequate protein, vitamins and minerals.
Maintaining adequate protein intake is of particular importance after gastric bypass surgery. Generally, weight loss surgeons will recommend that gastric bypass patients consume at least 70 to 80 grams of high-quality protein each day.
Maintaining sufficient protein levels is challenging for a lot of patients. What you can and cannot eat in terms of protein will depend where you are in your recovery, as well as what you can tolerate. There are a few ways that you can increase your intake of protein to meet the dietary requirements after weight loss surgery, including:
- Limit your meals to only three per day
- Limit your carbohydrate intake to less than 40 grams per day
- Incorporate non-fat or low-fat cheese in meals to complement veggies, eggs or lean meat.
- Sprinkle grated non-fat or low-fat cheese onto soups, brown rice and sauces.
- Mix low-fat cottage cheese with your fresh fruits and veggies.
- Incorporate chopped, hard-cooked pieces of egg to your salads, vegetables or brown rice.
- Add dried peas, legumes, beans or nuts to your healthy dishes.
- Eat fish sparingly, but at least once a week.
- Eat a no-sugar-added protein bar or shake for a healthy snack between small meals.
Protein Supplements: What You Need to Know
Another way to increase and maintain adequate protein intake for a healthy diet is to use a protein supplement. Make sure to read labels carefully when you are choosing a protein supplement, as some contain a lot of calories and aren’t a complete protein source. Protein supplements can typically be found at your local pharmacy or health food store. Supplements come in a variety of flavors and range in price depending on the brand.
Always make sure the protein supplement contains at least 20 to 30 grams of Whey Protein Isolate, less than 5 grams of carbohydrates, less than 3 grams of fat and is less than 150 calories per serving. Everybody’s taste buds are different so you may want to sample a wide variety of products that meet the above guidelines to find ones you like most.
When searching for a protein supplement, make sure to keep serving size in mind. Many protein powders require you to mix at least two cups of water or another liquid which isn’t suitable for your reduced stomach pouch. Try to find a supplement that only requires you to mix the powder with eight ounces or less of a particular liquid. Also, you can always cut a larger serving size in half to accommodate your smaller pouch size.
Protein supplements can get pricey depending on factors like the size of the container, where you purchase it and the brand. Sometimes, purchasing supplements online or at a discount store can save you money, though the selection may be limited.
Your individual case may differ from another bariatric surgery patient in terms of what’s best for your healthy weight loss diet. Try to maximize your protein intake by using some of the helpful tips above to sneak protein sources into other small meals. Some patients may not be able to consume certain dairy products listed above due to lactose intolerance, in which case you can ask your weight loss surgeon to suggest other ways to up your protein intake.