Protein: Are You Getting Enough After Your Weight Loss Surgery?

Protein is a hot topic following weight loss surgery, and many people offer different advice about how much you need. Protein is essential for keeping your body healthy. Your hair, skin, nails, and organs rely on the nutrients in protein to stay strong and healthy. It is also used to make hormones and antibodies. Unfortunately, if you don’t get enough you will start to lose muscle and you will feel hungry, weak and tired. Ultimately, not eating enough protein starts to impact how you feel and how well your body functions.

So how much protein do you need? The Institute of Medicine recommends 46-56 grams of protein each day. For the first few months after weight loss surgery, you may it find a challenge to get enough protein. Some foods that are high in protein can be difficult to tolerate initially and you are eating smaller amounts of food overall.

Good sources of proteins early on after surgery include light yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese, beans and lentils, eggs and soy. In time, you will be able to tolerate higher quality proteins such as moist meats, poultry, fish and dairy. Eating these types of food at every meal will allow you to meet your protein goals without increasing the amount of food you eat.

Keep your focus on eating good sources of protein. Today’s weight loss surgeries, including gastric bypass, lap-band, sleeve gastrectomy and duodenal switch, limit how much food you can eat at one time.  Because your smaller stomach doesn’t hold as much food, it is important to eat your high protein foods first.

These first months following weight loss surgery is a time of change. Be patient and flexible with yourself and trust that your body is working with you as you make healthy choices in diet and exercise.  Continue to reach out to others, especially your support team at your surgeon’s office and St. Mark’s Hospital.


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