3 Ingredients To Add To Your Bariatric Protein Shakes*

3 Ingredients To Add To Your Bariatric Protein Shakes* - Bariatric Fusion

Getting enough protein in your diet before and after metabolic and bariatric surgery (MBS) can be difficult, especially when it’s recommended that you get a lot more than you’re used to.

Following MBS, most bariatric physicians recommend obtaining at least 60-80 grams of high-quality protein daily. A higher protein intake may be required based on medical conditions and individual needs. Protein is essential for the maintenance of lean muscle and healing, making it a critical part of your weight loss journey following surgery.*

Luckily, the right protein shake can help support high protein intake without you even having to think about it!*

The trick is understanding the components of a perfect post-surgery protein shake. Here are the top three ingredients you should never leave out of your bariatric shakes.*

Your Personalized Nutrition Plan

First, let’s make sure you’re following the general nutrition guidelines depending on where you are in your bariatric journey.

To start, it is essential to stick to the ingredients recommended for the food phase you are in. For example, if you are in the clear liquid diet phase, you should not be drinking fluids or adding foods that might be in the full liquid diet phase.

Once you’re able to eat solid foods, there are all kinds of protein supplement options out there to ensure you’re getting enough every day. Protein bars, protein powders, ready-to-drink protein, clear protein, and high-protein meal replacements are all great options. Just be sure that the products you choose are made with high-quality ingredients that contain about 30 grams or less of protein per serving, and have limited sweeteners.*

You’ll want to limit your added sweeteners in shakes – and watch your overall sugar intake too. Sugary foods like high-fructose fruits, fruit juice, and syrups add up easily, and can quickly put you over the limit for what is tolerated after weight loss surgery.

Stick to low-sugar fruits like berries and melons, and be sure to limit your protein drinks to 15 grams of sugar per serving or less. Specifically, the protein powder you choose for your shake should have less than 5 grams of sugar per serving.*

3 Ingredients to Include in Every Protein Shake*

To ensure you’re getting the most nutritional benefit from each protein shake, it needs to have the right combination of three things:

  1. Protein
  2. Liquid
  3. Fiber

Keep reading to learn how to bring the three together into the perfect bariatric shake!

Choosing the Right Protein Powder

Before and after metabolic and bariatric surgery, the importance of prioritizing protein in your diet is ingrained into your brain by your dietitian or healthcare provider. But why?

Rapid weight loss results in fat loss, but it also breaks down muscle. Protein is required in high amounts to maintain lean muscle in the body. This will support healthy weight loss, metabolic response, and satiety.*

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) recommends 60-100 grams of protein daily. (1) Based on individual needs, this amount may be higher.

That’s why it’s so important to use a high-quality protein supplement or high-protein meal replacement in your shake that packs at least 25-30 grams of protein per serving.*

There are a few options for protein powders to add to your shakes, including collagen, plant-based formulas (made from soy), and whey protein (whey isolate and whey concentrate).

Whey protein isolate is the best protein option after MBS because fat and lactose are removed, it contains a more significant percentage of protein, and is easily digested. (2)

Collagen is not recommended as a primary source of protein because it does not contain all of the essential amino acids necessary to support muscle maintenance after surgery. However, you can use it in conjunction with a high-quality protein for hair, skin, nail, joints, cartilage, and bone support. You may also consider a bariatric-specific hair, skin, and nails product.*

If you have specific allergies or preferences, consult your healthcare provider about which protein source is best for you.

bariatric protein shakes

The Right Liquid

Before adding full-fat milk to your protein shake, hang on! Dairy intolerance is relatively common following metabolic and bariatric surgery due to alterations made to the GI tract. Not everyone will experience this outcome, but plant-based milk is generally recommended to avoid GI distress.

For the best bariatric protein shake, we recommend mixing your whey protein powder with nut milk, soy milk, or oat milk. If dairy-based milk doesn’t give you GI distress, you can try fat-free skim or low-fat milk and see how you feel.*

Of course, you can always make your protein shake with water, too.


Most people forget about this critical nutrient! Nearly 95% of Americans don’t consume enough daily fiber. (3) Due to food restrictions, this problem can be worse for patients with metabolic and bariatric surgery. In fact, it’s not uncommon to experience constipation after MBS.

Focusing on getting enough fiber in your diet can help mitigate the risk of constipation following surgery. Plus, getting your fill of fiber can help support satiety, and soluble fiber can notably support healthy cholesterol and blood sugar.*

To get enough extra fiber in your daily protein shake, consider adding canned pumpkin, spinach, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, chia seeds, flax, and almonds. There are even some high-protein meal replacement shakes like Bariatric Fusion that contain 4 grams of fiber in just 2 scoops of protein powder.*

The benefit of getting your fiber in smoothies is that you can blend foods that may otherwise be more difficult for your stomach to digest.

Protein Shake Recipes

Now that you know the top three ingredients of the ideal protein shake, here are some of our favorite dietitian-approved high-protein meal replacement shake recipes to get you started!*

Bariatric Greens Protein Shake

bariatric greens protein shake

The classic combination of peanut butter and banana adds decadent creaminess to this tasty shake! We like to use two scoops of Bariatric Fusion’s Strawberry Banana High Protein Meal Replacement, but any flavor of Bariatric Protein Powder will do. Plus, you’ll get plenty of added nutrients from a hearty scoop of greens powder.

Note: If you’re still in the post-op recovery phase, consult your dietitian before adding hemp hearts, as seeds may not be recommended until the solid food phase.

Vanilla Matcha Protein Shake

vanilla matcha protein shake

If you’re a fan of green tea, you’ll love this mellow vanilla-infused protein shake. Matcha is a form of green tea that may support healthy inflammatory responses.*

Flaxseed increases the fiber and omega-3 fatty acid content, and half a frozen banana adds cool creaminess. You’ll also get a double dose of vanilla from pure vanilla extract and two hearty scoops of Vanilla High Protein Meal Replacement.

Note: Matcha contains caffeine, so consult with your healthcare provider on guidelines surrounding your caffeine intake after MBS.



Protein shakes are a great way to meet your daily protein needs before and after metabolic and bariatric surgery to support muscle maintenance, wound healing, and nutritional intake.*

There are many ways to ensure you never get bored with your daily protein shakes. Protein powders come in all kinds of flavors so that you can change up your shakes every day. Plus, you can get creative and add them to other foods and drinks.

Sprinkle an unflavored protein powder in applesauce or pudding to boost the protein value, or try a chicken soup protein powder mixed with broth to add a savory option. There are even cappuccino protein powder flavors that taste like a latte and can easily replace the coffee that you may be missing after surgery.

Just be aware that as you heal from surgery, you should incorporate more lean food sources of protein. Protein drinks and powders can be added throughout your day as needed to meet daily recommendations, but whole foods are always best!

Consult your dietitian regarding your diet plan following surgery to understand what food and protein powder recommendations are suitable based on your individual needs.



  1. American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). 2021
  2. Bariatric Times. 2008
  3. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2017; 11(1)

This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your bariatric surgeon or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition. A qualified healthcare professional can best assist you in deciding whether a dietary supplement is suitable based on your individual needs.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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