Protein plays a vital role in your weight loss journey, especially if you have undergone bariatric surgery. Bariatric patients have to take various supplements after surgery mainly multivitamins and minerals, iron, calcium, and protein. But among these, protein is the most important one.
That is why it is essential to know whether you eat enough protein or not. The best way to do this is to maintain a ‘diet diary’, that is to keep records of what you eat throughout the day, and if you don’t know why you should eat Protein and which food items contain Protein, don’t worry. You will find every information about Protein and bariatric surgery in this article. Read further for more details.
Why Is Protein Essential For Bariatric Surgery Patients?
Protein is crucial in life because it helps develop your muscles and organs and makes your immune system more robust. Proteins carry oxygen throughout your body. It is also responsible for allowing chemical reactions in your body like thinking, feeling, and reacting. It protects us from disease and makes your life happy.
Protein deficiency causes hair loss, bad skin, bad nails, and muscle loss. Good protein intake and regular exercise help to preserve muscle mass. An increase in muscle mass helps in the long-term maintenance of lost weight and also helps in the long-term control of Diabetes mellitus and hypertension.
Protein can only be taken orally in food or powders as there are no tablets or injections that can increase your protein if a case of deficiency occurs.
How Much Protein Should You Get?
So, the million-dollar question is how much Protein do bariatric patients need? The answer is, you should consume at least 60 grams of protein per day. So, if you take at least 60 grams of Protein with a high water intake, you can live healthily and lose weight simultaneously. In some cases, dieticians may offer to consume more than 60 grams of proteins. It is subjective and depends on your obesity level.
You may think about getting these amounts of Protein; well, the answer can’t be given in one word or sentence. There are so many books that have been written on this topic. Don’t worry, we will not suggest you read these books; instead of this, we summarise the core content from these books and list the protein sources are per the timeline after bariatric surgery.
- Two weeks after weight loss surgery:
It is crucial to have a full liquid diet and rely on protein drinks in the first two weeks after your bariatric surgery. You should drink protein drinks until you fulfill your daily requirement of Protein. These protein drinks have Protein in the macro and fats in the micro, so these are good for your health.
- Two weeks after weight loss surgery:
You are allowed to eat pureed foods approximately three weeks after your weight loss surgery. So, the best way to add solid Protein to your pureed diet is to blend them in a blender. If you don’t want to mix the protein sources that you wish to, you can go for softer forms of Protein, which include;
- Finely flaked and water-packed tuna
- Cottage cheese
Some bariatric patients take baby food after an operation; however, it is not ideal food to take because it has a low amount of proteins.
- Five to six weeks safer weight loss surgery:
After 5 to 6 six, you can eat a soft diet. So, now you can start to eat smooth but solid foods in your meals. So, for Protein, you can eat soft foods like;
- Ground or chopped meat and poultry
- Cooked beans
- Moist fish
- Soft, soy-based meat alternatives
- Eight weeks after weight loss surgery:
Eight weeks means 2 months after surgery, and you can start to eat all forms of low-fat protein sources in your diet. Read again; you should take low-fat protein sources. The most preferred way to make protein-rich foods is by moist cooking methods and reheating in the microwave. It prevents dryness and food intolerance.
Typically, you can use several diet apps to make notes of your daily food consumption and help you track your food intake. It all provides a chart to track your calories and protein consumption. You can also take Bariatric Protein supplements to increase your protein intake. These supplements are specially developed for bariatric patients, so they have low-fat Protein.
You should also consider these three things when you eat;
- When you eat your meals, first eat Protein, then eat veggies and a complex carbohydrate.
- Chew slowly, take approx.—20 seconds per bite.
- Write down your food consumption to track your protein intake.
What is the best protein?
Protein sources can be grossly be divided into the animal origin and plant origin.
- Complete protein vs incomplete proteins: Complete protein is a protein that contains all essential amino acids(building blocks for protein formation). The majority of animal proteins are complete proteins. Soy protein from a vegetarian source is a complete protein.
- Which protein powder/supplement is best?: Proteins powders are available in form of protein isolates, protein concentrates, and protein hydrolysates according to the content of protein in them. Usually, protein hydrolysates is preferred after bariatric surgery as it contains more and easily digestible protein and the least calories.
Protein is an essential part of our life, and it becomes imminent when you undergo a bariatric operation. So, make sure you eat at least 60 grams of proteins. Protein consumption in the proper amount will ensure less hair fall, good muscle mass, proper body shape, adequate weight loss and maintenance, and good resolution of comorbidities like diabetes and hypertension. Hopefully, this article helps you to know your protein intake after a bariatric procedure. Comment below if you have any questions.