A review of additional protein as it pertains to lean body mass in bariatric patients
It is well known that protein consumption is important in a healthy diet. Protein is one of the three macro nutrients--carbohydrates and fat being the other two. Finding the right balance of those three macronutrients is crucial for all people, but even more so in bariatric patients who are “susceptible to protein deficiency which can result in lean body mass loss”.
Basically, after weight loss surgery, as patients are restricted to the number of calories they can consume, patients can more easily become deficient in important nutrients. That is why your doctor and dietician will recommend vitamin supplements and protein supplements. Bariatric patients must be additionally careful that their weight loss is primarily fat and that they are not losing important lean muscle.
A recent literature review published in the Nutritional Journal attempted to look at published peer-reviewed articles to determine how additional protein--and what amount--is useful for bariatric patients. What the review found was similar to what most patients already know: protein is important and most literature defined additional protein intake as greater than 60 grams per day. What the review also found was there is still much to be learned in this field. Studies in protein intake in bariatric patients are lacking information and consistency and some of the studies are flawed in their methodology.
Two of the studies showed a clear correlation between higher protein diets and the preservation of lean body mass. The review also suggested that further research be done on varying quantifies and types of protein and their affect on the body post-surgery as well as if there is any different between types of surgical procedures and protein consumption.
As a reminder, it is important to speak to your doctor and your dietician about any nutritional questions you have during the weight loss process It is also important to consume healthy, whole foods as well as prescribed supplements. Incorporating strength-based exercise is also key to developing and maintaining lean body mass and to ensure your body is functioning optimally.
If you have any questions about your diet during your weight loss journey, please speak to your doctor or dietician. They are the ones most familiar with your individual needs and will be able to assist you best.
If you want to read the literature review, you can find it at https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12937-021-00688-3?fbclid=IwAR0OHLgi4eBe-SbKxviQFbeoTa65HcE72VMtsA8YLEV57-7-Q-yQzduVGL4