Protein and Weightloss Surgery
Congratulations! You have just had weightloss surgery. You are now ready to start a new chapter of your life to take control of your health and wellbeing. Get ready, for the ride of your life, because your surgery is just the start of it!
Evidence shows that bariatric surgery with good aftercare involving moderate lifestyle and dietary changes is what creates long-term success.1
Part of these changes is adapting to a new way of eating. These changes include:
- Eating 5 small meals throughout the day
- Focusing on protein-rich foods at each meal
- Aiming for 1.5-2L fluid per day
- Taking daily supplementation long term
Although these behavioural and dietary modifications create a combined effort to long term success, it is protein which is usually at the forefront of the conversation. Protein is made up of many amino acids. It is involved in numerous functions in the body such as:
- Growth and repair of muscles hair, skin and nails
- Improves our immune system
- Produces hormones to help us burn stored energy including body fat
The best sources of protein are found in animal products, with plant-based products being a good alternative too.
These foods include:
- Meats (beef, pork, lamb)
- Seafood (salmon, tuna, prawns)
- Poultry (chicken, turkey)
- Dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese)
- Beans, lentils, chickpeas
- Tofu, tempeh, edamame beans
During rapid weight loss, the body requires additional protein to maintain muscle mass. Depending on the type of surgery, medical conditions and activity levels, protein requirements can range between 60-100g per day.
Despite a diet rich in these foods, often it can be challenging for some people to meet their protein requirements due to consuming smaller portions, inability to digest or tolerate tough stringy meats or develop certain intolerances, for example, lactose, which limits the intake of dairy. If protein requirements are not met, you may experience:
- Muscle loss causing weakness
- Compromised immune system
- Hair loss and lack of skin integrity
- Inadequate weight loss
So here are a few tips to get enough protein following weightloss surgery:
- Fortify meals with a good quality protein powder, eg: Boomer’s WPI, WPC or Vegan protein powder.
- Fortify water, tea, coffees or broths with protein powder.
- Separate food and fluid to ensure you are making the most of your mealtime.
- Eat 5 small meals per day, spreading protein evenly across all meals. Aim for 15-20g protein per meal.
- Always eat your protein first. Ensure 50% of your meal is made up of protein-rich foods.
Do you think you are consuming enough protein? How do you think you can meet your daily protein requirements? If you are looking for further inspiration, check out our Bariatric friendly recipe book which is Dietitian approved.
Another product that will soon be an addition to the Boomers product line is the Nutrition for Weight Loss Planner by Carmel Cantone, Justine Hawke and Sally Johnston. Look out for that in the near future!
Written by Isabella Maimone
Accredited Practicing Dietitian
1. American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. (2020). Life After Bariatric Surgery. Retrieved from https://asmbs.org/patients/life-after-bariatric-surgery