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Protein is an important part of life after bariatric surgery, and you will find it plays a key role in both in your early recovery and longer-term weight loss and maintenance. Early on in the bariatric process, you will need protein to speed up recovery. In fact, protein is very helpful in reducing the risk of infection after surgery. It will also help you stay full and lose weight as it is processed more slowly by the digestive system.

Longer-term, protein is essential for muscle mass development and maintenance. Muscle mass is key to improving caloric burn at rest and offsetting some of the downsides of limited caloric intake.

What Proteins Are Good After Surgery?

Early on in the recovery process, you may not be able to get enough protein with food alone, so you may require supplements in the form of protein shakes. There are many protein shakes specifically made for bariatric patients. We will give you guidance on those shakes, but the general rule of thumb is to avoid the typical shakes that you would find in the store, as they are not optimized for the bariatric diet. Similarly, if you choose protein bars, choose them very carefully as many contain a significant amount of fat and sugar, despite being high in protein.

What Kind of Food Should I Eat?

Much in the way that not all protein shakes are equal, neither is solid protein. You must opt for lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish and shellfish. Avoid fatty cuts of beef and organ meat. The progression toward normalized protein consumption is slow. Early on in your diet, you can only consume liquids. After a couple weeks you will still need to limit solid proteins. After about six weeks, you should be able to consume protein and small bites, chewing very thoroughly.

Any Other Tips on Protein?

Absolutely. Protein is excellent, but solid proteins may be hard for you to consume with your new pouch. The key here is eating slowly and chewing it thoroughly. Chewing thoroughly allows the proteins to break down fully, while eating slowly means that you won’t get overfull and feel uncomfortable after your meal.