Importance of Protein

In order to help maintain muscle, lose fat, and promote proper healing, it is very important to include enough protein in your diet. Your body makes thirteen amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. However, there are nine "essential" amino acids that your body cannot produce, which you must obtain from food sources. It is important to eat "complete" foods, which are foods that contain sufficient "essential" amino acids. Eat plenty of lean protein foods, which are lower in calories and will help you maintain your weight loss.

Here is a list of protein products that you can find in most grocery stores:

  • Whey
    A dairy byproduct, whey contains sufficient essential amino acids to be a complete protein source.
  • Whey Isolate
    Whey is also good source of protein for people who are lactose intolerant, because it contains almost no lactose, which is a sugar naturally found in milk. Some patients develop lactose intolerance after bariatric surgery and begin to experience gas and bloating as a result of eating dairy. Whey isolate and lactose-free milk make excellent additions to your diet if lactose intolerance becomes a problem.
  • Whey Concentrate
    Although there is some lactose in whey concentrate, most people can eat it without experiencing problems, even if they are lactose intolerant.
  • Soy Products
    Soybeans are a quality protein source, and contain protein similar in quality to the protein in meat. In general, products made from soy are a great way to incorporate protein into your diet. Also, soy milk is a good milk alternative for people who are lactose intolerant.

Note: foods containing collagen or hydrolized gelatin are not recommended for bariatric patients. They do not contain sufficient essential amino acids and may not be suitable for a diet where portion sizes are tightly regulated.

Protein Shake Recipes

Protein shakes are recommended after surgery to help you incorporate enough protein into your diet. Since the taste of a protein shake can take some getting used to, the following recipes and tips are intended to help you adjust.

Simple Shake (28 grams protein)


  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 8 ounces fat-free milk

Mix well in shaker cup or blender

Banana/Peanut Butter Shake (12 grams protein)


  • 8 ounces fat-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ - ½ banana

Place these ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

Orange Dreamsicle (28 grams protein)


  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 scoop (individual serving) sugar-free orange drink powder
  • 8 ounces skim milk
  • Alternatives: substitute 4 ounces orange juice for 4 ounces milk; substitute 4 ounces yogurt for 4 ounces milk; add 1/2 teaspoon orange zest

Mix well in shaker cup or blender

Hot Cocoa (13 grams protein)


  • 1 tablespoon artificial sweetener
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons dried milk powder
  • 8 ounces non-fat milk
  • Dash salt

Blend artificial sweetener, unsweetened cocoa, dried milk powder and salt in large mug. Blend in milk, stirring until dissolved. Microwave for one minute on high or until hot. Or heat in saucepan on stove top stirring frequently.

Tips for Protein Shakes:

  • Vanilla, almond and coconut extracts are a good way to add flavor to your shakes.
  • Create a mocha-flavored shake by adding coffee and chocolate-flavored protein powder.
  • For a richer chocolate flavor without adding fat, try cocoa powder.
  • To make your shake cold without diluting it with ice, freeze milk in ice trays and blend them in instead of ice cubes. This is also a good way to add protein to your shake.
  • If you are lactose intolerant, make a lactose-free shake and add protein at the same time by using soy or lactose-free milk.
  • For extra creaminess and protein, try adding yogurt to your protein shake.

To register for a free informational seminar or to make an appointment for a consultation with a Temple bariatric surgeon, click here or call 1-800-Temple-Med (1-800-836-7536).

This page is intended to provide tips and guidelines only, and should not be taken as a definitive medical or dietary plan for patients of bariatric surgery. For detailed information about diet and nutrition specific to your needs, consult your doctor or dietitian.