Food Choices, Nutrition, Post-Surgery, Protein, Uncategorized

Why Protein is Vital After Bariatric Surgery

The Importance of Protein After Bariatric Surgery

Protein should be included in all of your meals after surgery as it provides many important benefits to weight-loss surgery patients, including:

  • Aids in proper wound healing after surgery
  • Helps keep your skin, hair, bones and nails healthy
  • Helps form hormones, enzymes and immune system antibodies that help your body function effectively
  • Helps your body burn fat instead of muscle for healthier weight loss
  • Supports your metabolism so you lose weight quicker
  • Helps curb hunger between meals

Since bariatric surgery reduces the capacity of the stomach to a very small volume, high-protein foods should always be eaten FIRST or you may become too full to eat them.

Liquid Protein Helps You Meet Your Daily Requirements

It’s difficult to consume enough protein from foods alone during the first several months following surgery. Many patients add liquid protein supplements to their diet to meet the daily protein requirements. And, they continue to include them in their ongoing diet as a balanced, convenient protein source.

As you follow the post-surgery nutrition guidelines, keep in mind that plants do not provide “complete” proteins. A complete protein is an essential amino acid that’s found mostly in animal sources. Plant proteins should be used together with animal protein sources to provide you with all of the essential amino acids you need. When choosing animal proteins, choose lower fat, lean meats like skinless chicken or turkey, pork chops or loin, and beef sirloin or round.

Protein Goals After Weight-Loss Surgery

The recommended intake varies depending on your individual needs, your surgery type, and the bariatric diet prescribed by your surgeon or dietitian. However, basic guidelines include an average of 60 to 80 grams a day for women and 70 to 90 grams a day for men. Duodenal switch patients, however, require approximately 100 grams daily.

It’s important to remember that more is not always better. Try not to exceed the range of recommended daily protein, unless instructed to do so by your physician or dietitian. Excess protein intake will result in excess caloric intake, and any excess calories that are not burned are stored as FAT.

About Janet Klein

Janet Klein, MS, RDN, CDN, CDE. is Orange Regional's Bariatric Surgery Program Director. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietetics from the State University College at Oneonta and her Master of Science in Education from Queen’s College University. She is a Certified Diabetes Educator, a Registered Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist, American Heart Association Certified Cardiovascular Counselor and a member of the Integrated Health group of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). She brings more than 35 years of clinical, educational and leadership experience to Orange Regional, where she spearheaded the Bariatric Surgery program in 2008, received Accreditation for the program through the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) in 2011, re-accredited the program through the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Bariatric Surgery Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) in 2014, and continues to lead the program with passion 10 years later. Janet can be reached at 845-333-2123 or


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