I think one of the first things we have to…
One of the main things you will focus on after having bariatric surgery, no matter which one you have, will be how much protein you get getting into your diet. Protein will be front and centre of your mind whenever you think about food for the rest of your life. Every effort should be made to meet your protein needs with food alone but sometimes it gets hard and you need to use protein supplements to get it up a bit. In this post I am going to go over protein powder and next week I will have one focusing on protein bars.
My recommendations for protein each day (From my dietician, if your recommendations are different then keep doing what you have been recommended!!) are to get between 60-80 grams of protein each day. I do pretty well getting that in each day, I’ve also had three years to practice, but I do still supplement my breakfast with protein powder on a daily basis. Protein supplements are handy and can be used by bariatric patients but I can’t stress enough how important it is that you get as much protein as you can in from actual food and only ever use protein products as supplementation if and when you need to.
I have never done a high level overview of protein supplements on my blog before and it was suggested to me by one of my readers (thank you lovely!) I figured it would be easy to write about but the more I thought about it, I realised just how much is out there and how confusing it can be if you’re new to it all. When you first start trying out any kinds of protein supplements you will have to go through some trial and error to figure out your tastes and what you prefer. I will tell you what I think of these things generally but please don’t let it put you off, you may have totally different tastes to me and you will need to try it for yourself to find that out!
I’ll start with protein powders. Protein powders come in many different varieties. From what they are made from and based on to the variety of flavours and other additional things that can get added to them. Here’s a list of some of the popular varieties out there:
Egg White Protein
This protein powder is made from dried egg whites. It has a really high proportion of protein in it for its weight and is one of the more natural (by that I mean as close and unmodified from the original product as possible) kinds of protein powder out there. I prefer egg white protein as it, for me, is the most palatable and unnoticeable when mixed with other things. Depending on the brand or kind you use it may have other things added like flavourings etc but the main bulk of an egg white protein is dried egg white. If you need to avoid dairy egg white protein can be a really good solution for you.
The only downside I have found with egg white proteins is that they don’t do well in a shaker and I have to mix it with my stick blender to get the lumps out and make it passable. I don’t do lumpy liquids and shaking egg white protein in a shaker with milk or water is a special kind of torture for me. Two of my favourite egg white proteins are the Nothing Naughty and Clean Paleo (and another Clean Paleo one here) products. Click on their names to read my reviews of them. I also have a basic protein powder recipe here that I still use along those basic lines today.
This protein powder, the whey part, is taken from milk. Whey protein is heavily used by a lot of the fitness/body building focused protein powders and is probably one of the most common kinds you will find. I have heard of people having issues with acne and their skin on whey proteins so if that’s an issue for you try switching to a different type and see if it makes a difference. Whey proteins tend to be flavoured and often come in a huge variety of flavours depending on the brand. I am very particular with the whey proteins that I like and tolerate. I find some of them have an ick factor that I just can’t ignore and once I’ve tasted that it’s all over for me. In saying that some of them I can’t taste that and I’m fine with them.
One thing I love about whey proteins is that you can chuck it in a shaker with milk, water or whatever you want to mix it with, shake it and it’s ready to go. They’re a good option to keep on hand like at work or in the car because of how easily they store unmixed and how easy they are to mix when you need them. My favourite milky whey protein is the Balance Nutrition one and you can also get a clear, water like whey protein called BODIE’z Protein Water that I’ve reviewed here.
There are a few different varieties of plant proteins, the most common seem to be pea and rice protein but to be honest I’ve not met a plant protein I’ve liked. If you are vegetarian or vegan (although if you have a bariatric tummy I wouldn’t think it’s doable or recommended) these plant proteins are a good option. If you have to avoid quite a few allergens this may be the best and easiest way to do it. I haven’t reviewed any plant proteins on my blog but Nuzest which you can find here is one that I know many people like.
Protein powders are probably the most common and easiest way of supplementing your protein. They are used and recommended by the surgical team straight after surgery to keep your protein levels up until you are eating enough food to not need them. Most of us will use a protein supplement for the first six or so months after bariatric surgery. The initial period after surgery Optifast is usually recommended but depending on how things go you will be able to move to a different one at some point. Come back next week to see my post about protein bars!
Do you use protein supplements after your bariatric surgery? If you do, do you use them on a daily, weekly or monthly basis? Which protein powder is your favourite? Comment below and let me know, I’d love to hear from you!