The rules are the same for gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, or duodenal switch; protein replacement supplements should be included in your diet if you can not adequately meet daily protein goals solely through food sources.
The problem is, with the abundance of protein forms on the market and the heavy claims of each seller that their supplements contain the right form and amount of nutrients, things can get confusing. Protein bars are advertised as a convenient option to provide quick nutrition for when you’re on the go.
Unfortunately, many products include ingredients that are less than ideal, from artificial coloring to highly processed sugars. Some protein bar options could pass as a modified candy bar, so it’s important to pay attention to the nutrition facts label.
Bariatric protein bars may not always be the best for bariatric patients. In this article, we provide information on when a protein bar may be considered, alternatives and more!
When to Consume a Bariatric Protein Bar?
If you are a bariatric patient, your healthcare provider has likely already prescribed an assortment of bariatric supplements, including chewable vitamins for bariatric patients, unflavored protein powders, and probiotics.
The reason behind all of the recommended supplements is that your body's ability to absorb and benefit from nutrients is altered. Not to mention, the amount of how much food you can actually take in after surgery is severely diminished.
Protein becomes a priority. Your body requires protein in order to heal, build and maintain muscle, and support your metabolism.
In most cases, it’s not recommended to eat more than 1 protein bar per day, as a majority of our nutrition should be coming from whole food sources packed with vitamins and minerals.
Many people don’t realize how many calories and carbohydrates they’re actually consuming in such a small bar, which may hinder weight loss. Below are some scenarios in which a protein bar would be an appropriate option:
- Emergency energy source (hiking, other endurance activities, out and about with nothing on hand)
- Pre and Post workout
- Road trips and travel
- Occasional treat
- If protein requirements cannot be met consistently with whole food sources
Top Things to Look for on a Bariatric Protein Bar Nutrition Label:
- Fiber: at least 4g/serving
- Protein: at least 13g/serving no more than 25g/serving
- Sugar: less than 10 g/serving
- Sugar Alcohols: be mindful of sugar alcohols as they can cause GI symptoms when eaten in excess
Are Protein Bars Good For Bariatric Patients?
During the first couple of months after a weight loss procedure, patients are advised to take bariatric proteins in a powder or liquid form for easy digestion.
Bariatric protein bars won’t be an option until your provider gives you the okay to progress to supplements with thicker consistencies. When you are cleared by your healthcare provider, below are some dietitian approved protein bar options.
Recommended Animal-Based Protein Bar Brands:1. Oatmega
- Each serving provides 250mg of DHA and EPA Omega 3’s
- Suitable for gluten-free
- Adequate fiber : 7g fiber
- Adequate protein : 14g protein
- Available at local grocery store/Wegmans or online
- Under 200 calories per serving and gluten-free
- Adequate fiber : 6g fiber
- Adequate protein : 17g protein
- Be mindful of the sugar alcohols
- Available online
Recommended Plant-Based Protein Bar Brands:1. No Cow Bar
- High fiber bar : 13 -17g fiber
- High protein : 20 - 22g protein from brown rice and pea protein
- Vegan, naturally flavored and gluten-free
- Available at local grocery store/Wegmans or online
- Lower and higher fiber options available : 6-14g fiber
- Vegan and gluten-free
- Adequate protein : 14g protein from brown rice and pumpkin seeds
- Available online
Recommended Protein Bar Brands With Vegan Friendly and Animal-Based Options:
1. NuGo Slim Protein Bar
- Vegan and animal-based protein options
- High fiber bar: 6g fiber
- Adequate protein : Vegan options with 16-17g protein from soy and animal-based options with 16-17g protein from soy and whey
- Available online and at your local grocery store (Walmart, Wegmans)
The high fiber options may be an issue for those who don’t regularly include fiber in the diet. Follow the recommendations provided by your dietitian regarding how to incorporate higher fiber in your diet.
Protein After Bariatric Surgery
Protein will always be a top priority after weight loss surgery to aid in healing, maintaining and building lean muscle mass, curbing hunger and promoting proper nutrition. Whether that protein comes from animal-based or plant-based sources, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Animal-based protein (meat, dairy, eggs, etc.) will contain all 9 essential amino acids that your body requires in order to build new proteins and support body functions. These protein sources are considered complete.
- Plant-based protein (legumes, nuts/seeds, quinoa, tofu, tempeh, edamame, etc.) usually require a variety of complementary plant-based sources to be consumed throughout the day. This is because most plant-based protein options lack at least 1 of the essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. They play an important role in almost every system of the body, from muscle maintenance to adequate mental health. Falling low in 1 or more of the essential amino acids will cause a problem over time if variety is not included.
High Protein Meal Replacement Packets
Protein shakes are typically incorporated at the beginning of your weight loss journey and initially after bariatric surgery. Having a large tub of protein is great for affordability, but not so convenient on the go.
High protein meal replacement packets are a great option to grab and go. Just pour the packet into a shaker cup and add your favorite liquid. This is also a great option if you want a variety of flavor options as opposed to having a large tub of one flavor.
Protein will be a priority after bariatric surgery. The form of protein you choose to consume will be based on your registered dietitian and provider's recommendations, as well as the food phase you are in.
Bariatric protein bars have to be selected wisely after bariatric surgery. Many people don’t realize how many calories and carbohydrates they’re actually consuming in such a small bar, which may hinder weight loss. Remember that a majority of nutrition should be coming from whole food sources packed with vitamins and minerals.
Some of these protein options may not be suitable for consumption based on diet stage and toleration after bariatric surgery. Always follow the food list provided by your healthcare provider or dietitian for food and beverage recommendations. Bariatric Fusion was not paid to endorse these products. All opinions are provided by our staff Registered Dietitian.
**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 physician or another qualified health 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.