Importance of Protein

Getting enough protein in your diet promotes proper healing, and helps your body maintain muscle and lose fat. Protein is made up of amino acids. The body makes 13 amino acids. However, nine amino acids, called "essential," cannot be made in the body and must come from food sources. A food source is considered to be complete if it contains sufficient amounts of essential amino acids. Choose lean protein foods, which are lower in calories and will help you maintain your weight loss.

The following types of protein products are readily available:

  • Whey is a byproduct of the dairy and cheese industry and is a complete source of protein.
  • Whey isolate has virtually no lactose in it. Lactose is the sugar naturally found in milk. Some people become lactose-intolerant after surgery and experience gas and bloating after consuming dairy. If you are or become lactose-intolerant, whey isolate would not cause intestinal distress. Lactose-free milk is an alternative for people who are lactose-intolerant.
  • Whey concentrate may contain some lactose. Most people, however, can tolerate this product without problems.
  • Soy products are made from soybeans. Soybeans are a quality protein source, and the protein contained in soybeans closely matches the protein quality of meat. Soy milk is an alternative for people who are lactose-intolerant.

Hydrolized gelatin or collagen products do not contain all essential amino acids and are not recommended for bariatric surgery patients.

Protein Shake Recipes

Protein shakes are recommended to get adequate amounts of protein after surgery. The following recipes and tips may help you adjust the taste.

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

Blend until smooth in blender

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 one minute on high or until hot. Or heat in saucepan on stove top stirring frequently.

Tips for Protein Shakes:

  • Use flavorings such as vanilla, almond and coconut extracts to improve flavor.
  • Coffee added to chocolate-flavored protein powder makes a mocha-flavored shake.
  • Cocoa powder can be added for a deeper chocolate flavor without adding fat.
  • Freeze milk in ice cube trays to make milk cubes. Blend these cubes in your shake to make it icy cold and add protein without diluting your shake.
  • If you are lactose intolerant, use lactose-free milk or soy milk to add protein to your shake.
  • Yogurt can be added to shakes to increase creaminess and protein.

To register for a free informational seminar or to make an appointment for a consultation with a bariatric surgeon at Jeanes, click here or call 215-728-CARE (2273).


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