Due to Covid-19, we are not scheduling in person seminars. Rather, please watch our online seminar. Nutrition classes will be held via Zoom meeting. Please call Leslie Albers at 901-881-0602 for details about class or any other questions. We ARE currently scheduling patients for visits and surgeries and you can easily start the program by watching our online seminar.

Protein Requirements

July 30, 2013

If you have had bariatric surgery or you are planning to have surgery and have met with a bariatric dietitian before, you probably hear the word protein quite frequently. Bariatric surgery requires making significant changes to your diet and lifestyle. Because you will be eating less food after your surgery, it’s important to choose foods that will provide the nutrients you need for healing and overall health. Protein is particularly important for bariatric surgery patients. The word “protein” is derived from the Greek word meaning “of first importance.” This is literally true for the bariatric surgery patient. Protein is undeniably the most important nutrient in the bariatric diet.

  • Protein aids in proper wound healing after bariatric surgery. It helps to build and repair body tissues including skin, muscle and major organs.
  • Protein helps keep your hair, skin, bones and nails healthy.
  • Protein helps form hormones, enzymes and immune system antibodies to help your body function properly.
  • Protein helps your body burn fat instead of muscle for a healthier weight loss. When you are trying to lose weight after bariatric surgery, you reduce calories. Unfortunately, the human body tends to view fat stores as more precious than lean muscle tissue, and will burn or “catabolize” muscle tissue, before it goes to fat for energy. By consuming sufficient protein each day, you will spare and preserve your muscle tissue, which forces your metabolism to go to your fat for energy. This particular benefit of protein is often referred to as “protein sparing” or “anti-catabolic”.
  • Protein supports your natural metabolism so you lose weight quicker. The more muscle you have on your body, the higher your metabolism and the more fat calories your body will burn, even while at rest. Pound for pound, your lean muscle burns 25 times more calories than fat! Conversely, less muscle tissue means a slower metabolism. To illustrate this, one pound of muscle can burn 30 to 50 calories in a day, or 350 to 500 calories a week. On the other hand, one pound of fat only burns about 2 calories a day, or 14 calories a week. Therefore, building and preserving lean muscle tissue not only makes fat loss easier, put more permanent.
  • Protein curb’s your hunger between meals and avoid “snacking temptation”. One of the amino acids in protein, tryptophan (a precurser of serotonin) has been shown to work on the satiety (hunger) center in the brain.

Immediately following surgery, consuming adequate amounts of protein can help promote healing, prevent infection and keep you from losing muscle mass as you lose weight. Protein is also needed for hair, bone and nail growth. A lack of protein in your diet can lead to hair loss, brittle nails, fluid retention and a weakened immune system. Protein also has the most dramatic effect on satiety, so eating high-protein meals and snacks can help keep you feeling full longer.

Initially after surgery, you may find you have difficulty digesting common protein-rich foods such as meat or chicken and may need to seek out different sources of protein. Some of which include beans, low-fat dairy, eggs, soy, protein shakes and protein bars.

Include a good source of protein in every meal and choose protein-rich foods as snacks. Always eat the protein first to make sure you don’t get too full from other foods. You may need to experiment to find out which protein sources work best for you. For example, some bariatric patients can tolerate hard-boiled eggs, but not scrambled eggs.

Tips for choosing protein:

  • Always Choose low-fat cheeses
  • Choose skim milk over 2%
  • Lean cuts of meat include chicken, fish, turkey, ground round, and ground sirloin
  • Remove the skin on meats before cooking
  • Limit peanut butter to 1 serving each day. Peanut butter is higher in calories and fat compared to other protein sources
  • Beans are great sources of protein-black beans, red beans, northern beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, lima beans, etc.


Turkey Meatloaf

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 6 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 8 servings (serving size: 1/8 of loaf)


  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup, divided
  • 1 3/4 pounds ground turkey, 97% lean
  • 3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten


1. Preheat oven to 375°. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, broth, and 1 tablespoon ketchup; transfer mixture to a large bowl, and cool.

2. Add turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, egg white, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to mixture in bowl, and mix well. (Mixture will be very moist.)

3. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and coat lightly with cooking spray. Form the turkey mixture into a loaf, and place on the pan. Brush meatloaf evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup. Bake 1 hour or until thermometer inserted into center registers 170°. Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information per serving

Calories: 208
Fat: 7g
Saturated fat: 1.5g
Monounsaturated fat: 2g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5g
Protein: 25g
Carbohydrates: 13g
Fiber: 1g
Cholesterol: 75mg
Iron: 2mg
Sodium: 356mg
Calcium: 36mg

Recipe from www.health.com

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