Following a proper diet after surgery is essential to lose weight and keep you healthy and protein is fundamental for any diet; however, after surgery, it becomes very important.

It’s common knowledge that protein is the building block of muscles, but the truth is that protein forms part of every cell, tissue, and organ and it is essential for an efficient metabolism. Not meeting your protein requirements may lead to protein deficiency. Your body will begin to take the protein it needs from your muscles and eventually lead to muscle deterioration, organ failure, gallstones and even death.

Although most patients need 60-80 grams daily, there are special cases where a higher intake may be required. Your surgeon will provide you with detail your calorie and protein requirements after blood work.

Common protein sources include meats, eggs, dairy products, and beans. Taking your protein from lean sources is best because they are low in calorie content but high in nutritional value. Grilled chicken and turkey are good examples of lean options. If you are a vegetarian, you can get your protein from other sources such as extracts made from soy and brown rice. Protein shakes or bars can also help meet your protein needs. Ask your doctor about options.

Your protein intake should be taken throughout the day, distributed through meals and/or snacks. The body cannot absorb more than approximately 30 grams at once.

Knowing your daily protein intake and keeping a food diary where you track calories and protein intake is a great way to make sure you are getting the right amount of both and also keep the weight off.

Protein is a nutrient that helps us feel full for longer periods (this may be crucial to overcoming mental cravings), so taking protein strategically will help you keep the weight off. Be wary of nutrition labels to monitor the amount you take at a time.

Remember, bariatric surgery will be the starting point in your journey to weight loss, however, following your prescribed diet and taking the right vitamins and supplements will be fundamental to succeeding. Surgery may restrict how much food you can eat at a time and this will lead to suppressing your appetite, however, your dietary choices are your strategy in the longer run.

With over 12 years of experience, the Mexicali Bariatric Center has one of the world’s most successful weight loss programs. Our multidisciplinary team of experts will follow through each individual case to give you the best follow-up post surgery.