Weight loss surgery can be extremely effective in helping individuals lose weight and keep it off for life. Research shows weight loss surgery typically results in much higher success long term than lifestyle intervention alone (diet and exercise).1 More quality research studies are needed to continue to evaluate the effectiveness of weight loss surgery, but results thus far are more than promising.
While bariatric surgery can be a very effective tool, it’s important to remember that weight loss success after surgery relies on the patients taking advantage of the tool while following a healthy diet for life. Eating too many calories each day will result in gaining the weight back. Oftentimes this happens when patients are grazing or snacking throughout the day. This is why our team at the Lake Health Bariatric Surgery Center places so much emphasis on educating our patients about nutrition strategies that we have seen help so many patients stay on track over the years to ensure long-term success of their weight loss surgery.
The importance of protein with each meal
One of those nutrition strategies is eating 20 – 30 grams of protein at each meal. We find that patients who gain the weight back typically report snacking on a regular basis because they are not feeling full from their meals or they skip meals regularly. Research studies have found that eating adequate protein can possibly increase the feeling of fullness after meals which may help individuals reduce or eliminate snacking between meals, resulting in lower daily calorie intake and ultimately weight loss or maintenance. Not only do we see this in research studies, we find this to be true in our patient population.
Along with increasing satiety and reducing the urge to snack, protein may also be beneficial for weight loss for other reasons. Research suggests protein takes more energy to digest compared to carbohydrates and fats which can contribute to increased energy expenditure.2 Additionally, adequate protein intake helps prevent a decrease in lean body mass which also may help maintain resting energy expenditure and contribute to weight loss.3
What are good sources of protein?
If you have access to the Nutrition Facts label of a food product, always check for protein grams for an accurate number. In general, refer to this handy table for popular sources of protein:
|Food (serving)||Protein (grams)||Food (serving)||Protein (grams)|
|Skinless Chicken Breast (3 oz) |
Lean Steak (3 oz)
Roasted Turkey (3 oz)
Lamb (3 oz)
Pork Tenderloin (3 oz)
Salmon (3 oz)
Tuna (3 oz)
Shrimp (3 oz)
Lobster (3 oz)
Scallops (3 oz)
|Nonfat Greek Yogurt (6 oz) |
Cottage Cheese, 1% fat (4 oz)
Skim Milk (1 cup)
Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese (1 oz)
Low-fat String Cheese (1 piece)
Large Egg (1 egg)
Tofu (1 cup)
Tempeh (1 cup)
1.O’Brien, Paul E et al. “Long-Term Outcomes After Bariatric Surgery: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Weight Loss at 10 or More Years for All Bariatric Procedures and a Single-Centre Review of 20-Year Outcomes After Adjustable Gastric Banding.” Obesity surgery vol. 29,1 (2019): 3-14. doi:10.1007/s11695-018-3525-0
2. Oliveira CLP, Boulé NG, Sharma AM, et al. A high-protein total diet replacement increases energy expenditure and leads to negative fat balance in healthy, normal-weight adults [published correction appears in Am J Clin Nutr. 2021 Feb 2;113(2):488-489]. Am J Clin Nutr. 2021;113(2):476-487. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqaa283
3. Moon, Jaecheol, and Gwanpyo Koh. “Clinical Evidence and Mechanisms of High-Protein Diet-Induced Weight Loss.” Journal of obesity & metabolic syndrome vol. 29,3 (2020): 166-173. doi:10.7570/jomes20028