Protein is one of the most critical components of the bariatric diet, with intake recommendations ranging between 60 and 100 grams daily, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS)
When people fail to get enough protein, they risk losing muscle mass and strength while ultimately compromising their healthy metabolisms. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happens to many bariatric patients
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. These five high-protein foods for bariatric patients can help them incorporate adequate amounts of this essential macronutrient into their balanced post-op diets.
Many people steer clear of eggs because they’re worried about their cholesterol levels. However, not only are these fears misguided, but they may also be causing bariatric patients to miss out on one of the planet’s best protein sources
According to the Mayo Clinic: “Most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week with no increase in their risk of heart disease. Some studies have shown that this level of egg consumption may actually prevent some types of strokes.”
At the same time, eggs contain approximately six grams of high-quality protein apiece — making them a delicious and versatile addition to the bariatric diet. For patients for whom high cholesterol remains a concern, meanwhile, egg whites provide all of the protein with less cholesterol
Bariatric patients who are craving all things rich and creamy may find cottage cheese to be extremely satisfying while simultaneously providing a powerful protein punch, even in a portion size. According to Healthline, 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese packs an amazing 14 grams of protein into just 82 calories!
Moreover, the casein in cottage cheese can lead to enhanced weight loss by promoting feelings of fullness. Lastly, dairy foods, including cottage cheese, have also been linked with fat mass loss and lean mass gain
Lean chicken, lean turkey and omega-3 rich fish all make the list of recommended foods for post-surgical patients. However, bariatric surgeon Dr. Jason M. Radecke proposes a different choice: raw oysters
“To consume [enough protein] with a small stomach can prove to be difficult. Many resort to protein shakes. But oysters are a novel, all-natural alternative. Delivering six grams of protein at less than 60 calories per serving, oysters are essentially the ocean’s protein shake,” Radecke says.
Looking for something more grab-and-go? Canned tuna and canned salmon are also a smart choice for protein-prioritizing weight loss patients
Speaking of grab-and-go, research consistently tells us that the more convenient a food is, the more likely people are to eat it. And when it comes to protein and convenience, Achieve from Rational Foods is a revolutionary new option
Not only does each portable serving of Achieve contain an impressive 20 grams of protein, but it’s also made with wholesome, organic ingredients, and is very low in calories (160 per serving). It’s also able to be stored at room temperature due to its acidity and being heat pasteurized. All this, and it’s tasty, too!
Eating more soy is a simple way to amp up your intake of plant protein. Enter edamame, a.k.a. green soybeans. A common contender on lists of top superfoods, edamame also recently landed a spot on U.S. News & World Report’s roundup of nine plant-based proteins people should be eating
“Soy is one of the few plant sources of complete protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids,” recommends the magazine of this bite-sized Japanese cuisine staple “Edamame, or cooked soybeans, has 17 grams of protein per cup. It is also a good source of fiber and unsaturated fat. Sprinkle steamed edamame in pods with a little sea salt and enjoy it as an appetizer, or roast frozen edamame in the oven for a crunchy snack. Edamame can also be added to salads, stir-fries, tacos and more.”
Bariatric patients will have a much easier time meeting their daily recommended protein requirements if they’re aware of the preponderance of protein sources available to them. By sharing these five high-protein food options, registered dietitians can help ensure that their clients stay healthy and on track toward their weight loss goals.