#31 Does Protein Help Prevent Weight Regain?

bariatric surgery success podcast beyond bariatric surgery podcast

  Host: Registered Dietititan Nutritionist Dr. Susan Mitchell

Let me guess...before your surgery and especially after, you’re told to consume protein, protein, protein! Why is it so important?

Hi, I’m registered dietitian nutritionist Dr. Susan Mitchell. You’re listening to the Beyond Bariatric Surgery podcast episode number 31. Let’s go beyond bariatric surgery together and talk about everything you need to move on.

So back to protein and why it’s so important. Not just for a bariatric lifestyle, protein is important for everyone. All of the cells in your body are made up of protein and we need it to keep us healthy. In fact, did you know that the word protein comes from the Greek  proteios meaning primary or of prime importance.

During surgery, significant changes are made to your digestive system. These changes vary depending with the type of surgery but all involve some level of malabsorption or the inability of nutrients to be properly absorbed and then used by the body.  

After bariatric surgery protein helps you heal the wound, form enzymes and hormones, and it works to build and maintain muscles. Fat free mass or muscle mass, by the way, is the calorie burning machine in the body which improves body composition...meaning more muscle mass and less body fat mass.

Think of it this way. Protein helps to keep your metabolism stoked. Another bonus is that protein keeps you feeling full ultimately helping to prevent that dreaded weight regain.To have the best bariatric success in your transformation and journey, monitor your body and your protein intake closely. 

There are some signs that you're not getting enough protein. YES, protein is so important that your body will show signs if you’re not getting enough. Protein is critical for muscle mass so if you’re not getting enough you’ll notice muscle loss and weakness. You’ll also see that your hair is thinner and nails are weaker and more brittle.

After surgery you’re eating significantly less calories but you need more protein. As you’ve probably found out already, this can be tough, right? So what’s the smartest strategy as you go thru your transformation? Your smartest strategy for success is to make protein THE priority in meals and snacks. By eating nutrient-dense foods packed with protein, you can make sure that your body is getting everything it needs to rock your new lifestyle and help prevent weight regain. 

So what is a nutrient dense food exactly? Nutrient-dense foods have relatively high amounts of nutrients meaning vitamins and minerals compared to their calories. So something like an apple is nutrient-dense because it provides a wide variety of vitamins and minerals for a low amount of calories while something like chips are calorie-dense because they provide basically zero nutrition for a lot of calories. 

Do you know how many grams of protein you need daily? The recommendation for protein is 60g to 90g... everyday. Yes, you heard that right...everyday...from now on. Tall order I know but oh so worth it.

Remember I said your smartest strategy for success is to make protein THE priority in meals and snacks? In order to get in that much protein supplements can help. Protein powders are widely available and can be used in many different recipes. I’ll do a podcast on choosing the best protein powder in the coming months. On top of eating enough protein, you also want to eat the right protein. I know you're probably thinking, really, there’s more to this protein? Yes! Here’s what’s important to know.

Protein is made up of amino acids...think of them like lego building blocks... and there are nine of them that your body needs from your diet because the body cannot make them. These are called essential amino acids and can be found in what’s called complete protein sources such as meats, poultry, fish, diary, eggs. Quinoa, and soybeans are complete planted based protein sources in that they contain all 9 essential amino acids in the amounts needed by the body. 

So as we wrap up, your takeaway is that protein is your smartest strategy to help prevent weight regain. Make it THE priority in your meals and snacks. Aim for 60-90 grams a day.

Let me help you a little…grab the FREEBIE: The 5 Fast-Ways Guide to Add Protein to Your Diet. Link below. Try some of these easy ways to add more protein to your day. Have a great week and I’ll talk to you to you soon.

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