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Protein-An Essential Part of Your Bariatric Diet print email
Maintaining good nutrition after bariatric surgery is very important. And making sure that you're getting enough protein is the most critical part of your post-surgery nutrition plan.

That's why, through the Kennedy Bariatric Surgery Program, you'll receive personalized pre- and post-surgical counseling with our registered dietitian to make sure you get the nutrition you need to meet your weight-loss goals and improve your health.

Why protein is important

Protein is a nutrient that is contained in every part of your body from your skin to your vital organs—and your body must have protein in order to function. Your body relies on protein to build and repair tissues. And maintaining the right level of protein in your body will help you to recover from bariatric surgery and achieve your desired weight-loss and health goals.

Protein can help you to:
  • Heal better and faster after surgery
  • Keep your hair, skin, bones, and nails healthy
  • Boost your immune system
  • Lose weight in a healthy way by burning fat instead of muscle
  • Lose weight quicker by aiding your natural metabolism
  • Feel fuller between meals
Getting protein from your diet

Protein is made up of molecules called "amino acids." Your body can produce some of these amino acids itself, but not others. Called "essential amino acids," these molecules must be supplied by the foods you eat.

It's typically recommended that you consume a total of up to 60 grams of protein a day if you're a woman and up to 70 grams of protein a day if you're a man. But every person is different. Make sure to talk to your bariatric surgeon or registered dietitian about how much protein you need to meet your body's individual needs.

You can get protein from animal products as well as from plant foods such as grains and vegetables. Animal products usually have a higher concentration of protein. However, they also have a higher concentration of fat—so you'll need to be sure to choose lean or low-fat options.

Some examples of good protein sources include:
  • Cottage cheese
  • Lean meats such as turkey, pork, or chicken
  • Fish,
  • Low-fat milk
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Protein supplements (available as shakes, drinks, or a powder that you can add to almost any meal)