How Much Protein Do I Need Every Day?
Following bariatric surgery, protein intake should be one of your top priorities.
Protein plays a role in every cell in your body. Thus, proteins are constantly breaking down and need replenishing. When you don’t consume enough protein, your body breaks down lean muscle to use as energy. While lean muscle mass loss is inevitable post bariatric surgery, you can minimize it by consuming enough high-quality protein.
However, maintaining muscle mass isn’t all that protein is good for. Keep reading to learn how much protein you should consume daily and why it’s so important to do so.
Essential Roles of Protein
As mentioned, protein plays many different roles within the human body; these include:
- Wound healing – helps build and repair body tissues, skin, major organs, and muscle.
- Fat burning – after bariatric surgery, your calories intake reduces significantly. Unfortunately, the human body tends to preserve fat stores and uses lean muscle mass as energy. When you consume protein daily, you’ll maintain your muscle, which forces your metabolism to use fat for its energy.
- Weight loss – the more muscle you have, the higher rate your metabolism functions. Thus, the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day.
- Increasing satiety – multiple clinical studies show that high-protein diets increase satiety while decreasing hunger. In contrast, high-fat and high-carbohydrate diets tend to do the opposite.
- Bodily functions – protein helps form hormones, enzymes, and immune system antibodies to help your body properly function.
What Are Your Protein Goals?
Technically speaking, protein needs vary from person to person. We base these needs on sex, age, lean muscle mass, daily exercise, and overall health. Talk with a registered dietitian or physician to find out how much protein you should be taking per day. They can help you calculate how much protein is suitable for you. However, there are recommendations that medical literature provides for bariatric patients.
Immediately following surgery, you should be consuming around 40 to 60 grams of protein per day as your body adjusts to a smaller stomach and a new way of eating.
Once you transition to solid food, your goal is to consume 60 to 80 grams of high-quality protein every day.
The Importance of Protein Shakes & Powders
During the following months after bariatric surgery, you will lean heavily on protein shakes and powders to help you reach your protein goals, as they will be the easiest things to stomach.
You must consume enough high-quality protein to promote healthy wound healing and healthy weight loss.
After about two to three months, you’ll begin incorporating more traditional protein sources into your diet. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stop taking protein supplements.
Protein supplements will continue to be excellent sources of high-quality protein, as they are both specifically manufactured to help you increase your protein intake and make things convenient. Things like protein shakes are great for a quick breakfast, snack, or meal replacement when you don’t have time for or access to a regular meal.
How to Choose the Right Protein
To maximize your nutrition, weight loss, and weight maintenance, look for sources high in protein and low in calories. Try your best to pick a protein source with at least 10 grams of protein for every 100 calories. You always want there to be more protein than there are calories. With this in mind, it will be easy for you to assess whether the quality of your protein source is high, medium, or low.
For more information on how to choose the right protein for you, check out our blog “What Type of Protein Powder Is Best?”
Keep A Food Log
By keeping a food log or journal, you can track your progress and confirm that you’re receiving enough protein each day. Keeping track of your food will also help you pinpoint which foods your body tolerates and which you should avoid.
In your food log, you should include the following:
- The time you ate at
- The type of food you ate
- The amount of food you ate (use a kitchen scale to measure grams)
- The calories for each type of food
- The amount of protein
- The location in which you ate your meal or snack
- The people you ate with
- The intolerances
- Your hunger/satiety levels
- Your mood/feelings you were experiencing while eating
Final Tips and Tricks
It can be hard to follow a diet high in protein, which meets all your other nutritional needs, especially with a smaller stomach. Follow these tips and tricks to help you stay on track:
- Get the majority of your carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables.
- Keep track of the meals that provide the most satiety and enjoyment.
- Always strive to expand the variety of foods in your diet to increase nutrition and prevent boredom.
- Don’t drink anything 30-45 minutes before, during, and about 30 minutes after your meal.
- Don’t wait to eat until you feel starving. Extreme hunger will only leave you susceptible to snacking and overeating. Try your best to eat at regular mealtimes every day.
- Don’t exceed the recommended daily protein range unless it is under the supervision of a physician or dietitian. Excess protein intake results in excess calories, and any extra calories that you don’t burn, your body stores as fat, which will impede your weight loss journey.
- Stay hydrated! Consuming large amounts of protein but very little water can lead to constipation. Adequate water intake is necessary for a healthy gut.
At ProCare Health, we take life before and after bariatric surgery very seriously. We want to see our clientele prosper in their health and weight loss journeys. To help them along the way, we provide various products, from multivitamins to protein supplements and more, to aid weight loss and weight maintenance.
To learn more about what we have to offer, visit our website. If you have any questions about our products or resources, please contact us, and a team member will get in touch with you as soon as possible.