After weight loss surgery, prioritising your protein intake is key!
Protein is essential for:
1) helping your body heal
2) maintaining/minimising loss of muscle mass while you are losing fat mass
3) stimulating your metabolism
4) keeping you full (i.e. minimising hunger)
Adequate protein intake after weight loss surgery has been shown to increase loss of body fat while retaining lean body mass, as well as reduce the risk of weight regain.
In the first few months post-surgery, it can be difficult to meet adequate protein through food alone due to only being able to eat such small portions in one sitting. This is where using a protein supplement can become very useful. In saying this however, you should always prioritise protein containing foods in your diet first and only utilise protein supplements to help bridge the gap between what you can manage through food and your daily requirement – not the other way around.
Protein needs vary person to person, however as a general rule of thumb, always aim to meet at least 60g protein/day. It is important to discuss with your Dietitian how your needs may vary.
Now, onto the supplements…. not all protein supplements are made equally. Collagen protein supplements (particularly the tasteless varieties) are very popular at the moment in the weight loss surgery community, however it is important to note that collagen powders are not great for your muscle mass! Collagen is not a complete protein and plays more of a role in keeping your skim firm and promoting strong hair, nails and joints. Protein supplements based on whey, egg white, casein, milk and soy protein ARE complete proteins however, which contain all the essential amino acids your body needs to build and maintain muscle mass. The above proteins have the highest Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), which is the method used to rate the overall quality of protein foods.
So by all means take some collagen protein to help with your skin, hair and nails, but I would caution against counting large amounts of collagen protein towards your minimum 60g protein/day target.
See below for some of my top protein supplement picks. Unflavoured varieties are especially useful as they can then be dissolved into a variety of different foods and fluids without impacting the taste.
Beneprotein (unflavoured – based on whey protein). Gluten Free + Lactose Free.
Boomer’s WPI (unflavoured – based on whey protein). Gluten Free + Low Lactose.
Bodiez Protein Water (unflavoured and flavoured varieties – based on whey protein). Gluten Free + 99% Lactose Free.
Nature’s Way Instant Natural Protein (unflavoured and flavoured varieties – based on soy protein). Gluten Free + Dairy Free + Vegan.