All Protein Supplements Are Not Created Equal

There is a large assortment of protein supplementation on the market; however, it is essential to recognize that some supplements are of higher quality than others. For weight-loss surgery (WLS) patients, it can be very confusing if you are not aware of what to look for when it comes to protein supplementation.

Proteins are a part of every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies. These body proteins are constantly being broken down and replaced. The body does not store protein for later use, big tub of whey protein with pink shaker and cup of protein powdtherefore consuming adequate high quality protein is necessary, otherwise the body will inevitably suffer. When protein intake is not adequate, the body will break down lean body mass to compensate for poor oral intake. Loss of lean body mass is inevitable for WLS patients or individuals following a very low calorie diet. To minimize that loss, sufficient high-quality protein must be consumed.

Most WLS patients rely strictly on liquids during the early post-operative phase, and the majority of their calories consumed during that time are often from protein supplements. Liquid or powder protein supplements may also be used post-operatively when patients are unable to consume adequate protein from food alone. This may be due to volume restrictions or food intolerances to protein rich foods.

Commercial protein supplements are available in many flavors, textures, tastes, mix-ability and price; however, the product’s amino acid composition is of the most importance when choosing protein supplements. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are nine indispensable (essential) amino acids (IAA) and 11 dispensable (nonessential) amino acids (DAA). The IAA must come from dietary intake because the body is incapable of producing these compounds.

During rapid weight-loss, when protein supplements are the main source of dietary protein intake, it is essential to choose products that:

  • contain all of the IAA.
  • have a score of 100 on the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score.

WLS patients are going to get the best value when they choose supplements made from whey or soy isolate and avoid whey concentrate and collagen-based products. It is also important to remember that the use of protein supplements are typically decreased or cease throughout time as the WLS patient is able to meet daily protein goals from food of high biological value.

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If you are in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his team of experts can find the right treatment for you.


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