Why is protein so important after sleeve surgery?

Last Updated on August 23, 2022

Protein is an essential part of any diet, but after sleeve surgery, you might find that this macronutrient plays an even bigger role in your daily meal plan. Because you’ll be eating a much smaller amount of food (since your stomach size will be reduced by about 80%), it’s critical that you consume enough protein. But how do you know how much you should be eating, and what the best sources are? That’s where we come in.

What is protein? 

Let’s start with the basics. Protein is an essential macronutrient made up of many amino acids joined together, and is critical to many bodily functions. Protein helps to transport molecules throughout the body, repair cells and make new ones, protect the body from viruses and bacteria, and promote proper growth and development. 

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When it comes to your post-sleeve-surgery diet, protein plays two very important roles. It helps to maintain muscle mass and prevent muscle loss during weight loss, and it increases satiety (the feeling of satisfaction after a meal) keeping you fuller, longer – with less food. 

How much protein do I need?

The amount of protein required after sleeve surgery can vary based on age, gender, and activity level, but in general, your goal will be to get at least 60-80g of protein per day, which roughly means 20-30g at meals and 5-15g at snack time. 

What should I eat? 

For the first 2 weeks after your operation, you will rely heavily on protein powders and shakes to fulfill the recommended post-surgery protein requirements, but not all protein supplements are created equal. When choosing a shake or powder, you want to make sure it’s high in protein and low in sugar and fat. Some of our favourite shakes include Premier Protein® and Fairlife® 30g Protein. When it comes to protein powders, look for 100% protein isolate.  We love Revolution Isolate Splash, Myprotein™️ Clear Whey Isolate, Kaizen Naturals, Isopure Unflavoured, and Beneprotein.  

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Your reliance on protein powders and shakes will decrease as you transition into eating a regular diet.  High quality protein sources will continue to be a priority coming from quality whole foods. Some of our favourites include chicken, beef, fish, eggs, cheese, nut butters, greek yogurt, beans, and lentils. Powders and shakes can continued to be consumed at this stage if you’re finding it difficult to meet your daily protein requirements. 

How does The Sleeve Clinic help? 

You won’t be alone in navigating these options. Our 5-year aftercare program ensures you have on-demand guidance from our incredible team of nutrition experts every step of the way. You will be provided with detailed nutritional counselling, recipes and meal plans that take into account food allergies, sensitivities, likes/dislikes, and cultural preferences. This guidance will ensure that your personal nutritional requirements (including protein intake!) are closely monitored to maximize your energy, strength, and health throughout the program. 

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If you’d like to learn more about gastric sleeve surgery, and our 5-year aftercare program, contact us today. 

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As one of the leading weight loss surgeons in Canada, Dr Gmora has gained a reputation for being a master of his surgical craft and producing outstanding weight loss results.