Guidance on Selecting Protein Powders, Shakes, and Bars
Written by Abby McWaters, RDN, LD. Abby is a registered dietitian at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
Protein is an essential macronutrient that is vital after bariatric surgery for healing. Due to the restriction of food volume after surgery, protein supplements are used to reach optimal protein intake. Protein supplements can also be used prior to surgery for a meal replacement as part of weight management program.
There are many different kinds of protein supplements to choose from. The type of protein in each product can vary. Whey comes from dairy, but is low in lactose content and is very popular in protein products. There are also plant-based protein products that use pea, hemp, brown rice or soy which are now becoming more popular. Either a whey or a plant-based product is fine, and usually comes down to what tastes the best to you! There are a few points you'll want to look at when choosing a product, all of which can be found on the products nutrition label.
Look for these three points when choosing a protein powder or pre-made protein shake:
- At least 15 grams of protein per serving
- 100-200 calories per serving
- Less than 15 grams of total carbohydrate per serving
Look for these points when choosing a protein bar:
- At least 10 grams of protein per serving
- 150-250 calories per serving
- Less than 5 grams of added sugar per serving