Protein is essential for our bodies, not just for weight loss surgery patients. It’s very important that weight loss surgery patients eat adequate amounts of protein. Some good sources of protein are cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs, string cheese, grated cheeses, canned beans, lentils and refried beans with cheese.
Meats have a tendency to not sit well with weight loss surgery patients during the first few weeks after surgery. Our surgeons suggest that you wait until 2-3 weeks post-op to start introducing any meat. When you do start trying meats, try thinly sliced deli meats first. You can also try canned (in water) meats such as chicken, turkey, or tuna. Your sensitive stomach can more easily digest meat that is sliced very thin or meat that is moist. Chicken needs to be moist. If it is the least bit dry it can get stuck right behind the breastbone area. This is usually quite uncomfortable. If this happens to you don’t try to get it down by drinking water. The water will just sit on top and cause more discomfort. Wait for 1-2 hours, if the pain persists and is not improving, contact your surgeon’s medical assistant by calling (801) 268-3800.
Be cautious of the sugar content in all food. Some varieties of yogurt may be high in sugar, which some sugars can cause “the dumping syndrome” in some Gastric Bypass patients. Light and fat free varieties are lower in sugar. When in doubt about the sugar content of food, read the label.
Good Sources of Proteins – Meats and Cheeses
- Beef jerky
- Canned beans
- Canned turkey, chicken, and tuna
- Cheeses: grated, melted, cubed
- Cottage cheese
- Deli meats
- Kefir (liquid yogurt)
- Orange Roughy
- Red snapper
- Ricotta cheese
- Skim milk
- String cheese
Protein helps maintain good health and aids in the healing and repair of your body during your recovery. Protein gives energy and is essential for the development of new cells. Consuming enough protein helps with the prevention of muscle loss and may prevent hair loss. Protein found in meats provides iron which is necessary for red blood cell production and the prevention of anemia.
Replenish your body with protein daily. The limited capacity of your pouch/sleeve makes it difficult to eat enough high protein food at any one time. This is why it is critical to eat protein-based foods at each meal. We strongly advise that you eat all of the protein items in your meal first, and then proceed to the vegetables.
If a certain type of food doesn’t sit well with you the first time, wait two weeks and try it again.
Portions for Duodenal Switch
You may find it hard to eat much more than 2-4 oz. meals initially due to the Sleeve Gastrectomy that was performed as part of your Duodenal Switch. Within a short period of time, usually 3-6 weeks post-op, you might be more comfortable to eat more. Our surgeons would like DS patients to be eating 4-6 oz. meals, 60-100 grams of protein a day, in order to get enough protein.
- Eat a diet that consists of 70% protein and 30% vegetables
- Eat protein-based meals three times daily
- Add a protein snack between meals only if you feel hungry, dizzy, tired or weak. Be sure this is planned and does not become grazing
- Use protein supplement drinks only when advised by your physician. For DS patients, if you are not getting the 60 grams of protein each day, you may add in a protein supplement to reach the 60-100 grams of protein goal. Choose a whey protein for digestion and tolerance.
Think of meals in terms of which proteins and vegetables you can eat. Egg whites are pure protein and are a good source of nutrition. Egg yolks, however, are high in fat. Limit the yolks to once or twice a week.
Tips for Increasing Protein in Your Diet
- Melt cheese on refried beans, meat, or any kind of vegetables
- Eat an omelet, scrambled egg, slice of meat or yogurt for breakfast
- Mix or add cottage cheese with eggs, tuna, turkey or chicken
- Eat tuna or chicken salad made with light mayonnaise
- Add cottage cheese and small pieces of meat to a tossed salad
- Use legumes such as lentils, pintos, and kidney beans
- Eat a few nuts (no more than four per meal or snack)
- Add tofu to soups
- Use dry milk powder
If you have any questions about protein or how much you should be eating, refer back to your Blue Binder (RMAP Bible), or call our office at (801) 268-3800.
For helpful hints on how to curb hunger between meals click here.
For tips on meal planning and dining out click here.
Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians
1160 East 3900 South, Suite 4100
SLC, UT 84124