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Making Protein A Priority Following Weight Loss Surgery


By Dr. Dieter Pohl

Without doubt, protein consumption is vital for weight loss and the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, many Americans get far less than the recommended daily minimum. In this article we’ll explore the why and how of “all things protein.” Let’s get started. 

Consume 60 grams of protein at least

Sixty grams of protein a day is a good starting point. This daily goal can be easily reached with three high protein meals spaced throughout the day. For example, two eggs, a four ounce piece of chicken breast, and a supplemental whey protein powder shake would provide enough to hit this goal. There are several benefits to eating more protein. First, protein is really, really good for you. Protein contains amino acids, commonly called the building blocks of life! Amino acids are used by nearly every cell in your body, helping with anything from muscle repair to hair growth. In short, more protein never hurts.

Consume protein foods first during meals

Purposely prioritizing eating one group of foods before another during a meal may seem silly but there is research to suggest consuming vegetables or proteins before carbohydrates may lower sugar levels after a meal. But a simplified reason to make an effort to eating protein first is to prevent filling up on carbs and not eating a sufficient portion of protein. Protein is nutrient rich for patients following weight loss surgery, and should be the most important part of the plate.  

Protein is Satiating

Perhaps most importantly, protein is lower calorie and very filling. Ask the average person to eat 500 calories of chicken breast and vegetables. By the end of that meal, they’ll feel stuffed with no desire to snack. And that feeling of fullness will persist for hours after as it takes a long time for the digestive system to process protein. That same person could easily down 500 calories of pancakes and come back feeling hungry soon after, as meals rich in simple carbs can be processed very efficiently. When it comes to protein more really is less! It’s virtually impossible to over consume lean sources of protein like egg whites, chicken, turkey, fish, and unsweetened greek yogurt so add them in wherever you can!

Increase Metabolic Rate

Higher protein consumption has also been shown to boost metabolic rates. Your body burns more calories from eating protein. While the effect might only increase calorie output by 50-100 a day, that little bit will add up and increase weight loss over time. 

Support lean muscle growth

Leading a healthy lifestyle is more than just following a diet plan. It also includes physical exercise. Whether it is running, weight-lighting, or a combination of activities, exercise challenges and breaks down the muscle. For the body to repair the lean tissue in the muscle there must be a sufficient amount of protein in the diet. Moderate exercise and a balanced diet will improve strength, encourage lean muscle growth and keep body fat percentage down. Warding off body fat while developing lean muscle is well documented to show increased heart health, lower rates of cancer and improved longevity. Protein will help with all of this.

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