After bariatric surgery, you will find that the dietitians at Blackrock Weight Care will frequently ask about your protein intake. ‘Prioritise your protein’ is a turn of phrase we like to use. But why is protein so important after bariatric surgery?
Importance of Protein
Protein has many different roles to play within the body. It is required to build and maintain muscle mass and it also acts as a source of energy. Eating enough protein is important after bariatric surgery to prevent muscle loss and to keep hair skin and nails strong.
Often if your diet does not provide enough protein thinning of hair or hair loss can be experienced after weight loss surgery. Furthermore, muscle loss can occur which can lead to excess or sagging skin post-surgery. Our bodies cannot make protein without food so it is important that our diet is rich in food sources of protein.
How much protein do I need after bariatric surgery?
It is recommended to consume 60-80g of protein a day after bariatric surgery. While this does not seem like a lot before surgery it can be difficult to consume enough protein with your new, smaller stomach.
High-protein foods include meat, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, and yoghurt. Plant-based sources of protein include tofu, beans, legumes, nuts and soy products.
It is advised to include a source of protein at all meals and snacks. In the early days, post-surgery protein supplements or protein-added foods such as protein milk or protein yoghurt may be required to ensure you meet your protein goals. Have a look at the table below to see if you are meeting the recommended protein requirements.
|Animal protein source||Measurement||Protein (g)|
|Beef/pork||1 medium slice/40g||10g|
|Chicken, turkey||1 small fillet||20g|
|Ham||2 thin deli slices||10g|
|Fish Fillet||1 small fillet||20g|
|Tinned Fish||1 small tin||24g|
|Yogurt, low fat||1 standard pot (125g)||6g|
|Yogurt, Greek, low fat||1 standard pot (125g)||12g|
|Protein yogurt/protein pudding||1 standard pot (200g)||20g|
|Plant-Based Protein source||Measurement||Protein (g)|
|Nuts||1 large handful||10g|
|Baked beans||4 tbsp.||10g|
|Kidney beans/lentils||5 tbsp.||10g|
|Peanut butter||1 tbsp.||5g|