Guidance on Selecting Protein Powders, Shakes, and Bars

Jan 25, 2021 | Tara Schmidt, Mayo Clinic registered dietitian nutritionist | @taraschmidt | Comments (15)

Protein Powder

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

Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the Weight Management blog.

I am taking Namanna Organic pea Protein powder. I like it as it does not have ordor or flavor. I add it to my cereal which blends well.

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Good discussion on protein supplements. I would like to see some comments on electrolyte replacement powders. I was using Cytomax, thought there was too much sugar in it, started using Ultima Replenisher. Is there a downside to using an electrolyte replacement drink through out the day instead of water?

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I make smoothies and add a handful of frozen peas and some walnuts. Pea powder is processed easily at home as well

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@bob76farmer

Good discussion on protein supplements. I would like to see some comments on electrolyte replacement powders. I was using Cytomax, thought there was too much sugar in it, started using Ultima Replenisher. Is there a downside to using an electrolyte replacement drink through out the day instead of water?

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I am trying to gain weight what should I take please

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@bob76farmer

Good discussion on protein supplements. I would like to see some comments on electrolyte replacement powders. I was using Cytomax, thought there was too much sugar in it, started using Ultima Replenisher. Is there a downside to using an electrolyte replacement drink through out the day instead of water?

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I will have the team consider this for a future post!

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@kaylyon

I am trying to gain weight what should I take please

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Hello – This page's purpose is to share information for patients who are seeking weight loss, but generally speaking, we would encourage increasing your calorie intake through healthy fats, small frequent meals and snacks, and nutrient-rich calorie-containing beverages.

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@kaylyon

I am trying to gain weight what should I take please

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@taraschmidt, Like @kaylyon, I would very much appreciate more information on Weight Gain. Due to nausea and loss of appetite, I lost 30 lbs after starting a new medication just over a yr ago. While much is written on weight loss, very little trusted information can be found on how to safely regain weight.

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@taraschmidt

Hello – This page's purpose is to share information for patients who are seeking weight loss, but generally speaking, we would encourage increasing your calorie intake through healthy fats, small frequent meals and snacks, and nutrient-rich calorie-containing beverages.

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@taraschmidt, Yes, these are the recommendations given by both doc and dietitian. While following these, I've managed to regain no more than 6 lbs. At 77 yrs, small boned, 5'8" with a stable wt of 125-128 nearly all of my adult life, my severe wt loss and bmd remain a serious concern..

My doc prescribed Megestrol as an appetite enhancement. It helped initially but lost its luster over time. Multiple labs and scans have shown no medical cause for the wt loss. With stage 3 CKD, I have to be careful with diet but prepare high caloric meals; eat frequently with healthy snacks, drink smoothies and exercise by walks and light wt bearing exercises for balance and to promote good bone health.

I would urge Mayo Clinic to devote more time, study and reporting of the impact of unintended wt loss for patients. My own pcp joked early on that she wished she "had my problem". I find this consensus all too often and it does nothing to address the health issues related to being too underweight for the thousands of us dealing with this issue. Mayo is at the forefront of such wonderful research and chronic health issue treatment and care. Please send this "up the line" for more consideration. Thank you.

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@fiesty76

@taraschmidt, Like @kaylyon, I would very much appreciate more information on Weight Gain. Due to nausea and loss of appetite, I lost 30 lbs after starting a new medication just over a yr ago. While much is written on weight loss, very little trusted information can be found on how to safely regain weight.

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I would recommend you seek the assistance of a registered dietitian. One would be more than happy to discuss ways to safely regain weight with you. Registered dietitians are most often a referred service, so it is typically as simple as asking one of your medical providers for a referral.

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@taraschmidt, Yes, the dietitian I saw earlier was a great help in providing me with a combined diabetes/ckd meal plan. It took four requests to my nephrologist and pcp to get the referral but it would have been worth the out-of-pocket cost had I not eventually received the referral. I am so glad I persisted in requesting the referral because trying to come up with a plan on my own was both very time consuming and confusing… foods good for one condition not good for the other.

I have a referral scheduled for my first endocrinologist appt. for help with osteoporosis and will seek her advice for wt gain as well and a possible dietitian referral. Most specialists and dietitians in my locale require dr. referrals and some of my docs aren't as quick to refer as others and I would like. Thanks for your reply.

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@fiesty76

@taraschmidt, Yes, the dietitian I saw earlier was a great help in providing me with a combined diabetes/ckd meal plan. It took four requests to my nephrologist and pcp to get the referral but it would have been worth the out-of-pocket cost had I not eventually received the referral. I am so glad I persisted in requesting the referral because trying to come up with a plan on my own was both very time consuming and confusing… foods good for one condition not good for the other.

I have a referral scheduled for my first endocrinologist appt. for help with osteoporosis and will seek her advice for wt gain as well and a possible dietitian referral. Most specialists and dietitians in my locale require dr. referrals and some of my docs aren't as quick to refer as others and I would like. Thanks for your reply.

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I'm so happy that you got to see a registered dietitian and found it helpful! Multiple conditions is certainly a lot to manage. Keep advocating for yourself!

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Have achalasia and have lost quite a bit of weight. Most protein powders have awful taste even if flavored. Does anyone have suggestions
for powders that are tasteless and can be added to foods? Dietician only gave me flavored powders. Suggestions appreciated.

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