New Jersey Bariatric Center
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Protein supplement intolerance

By Dana Babeu, R.D. | July 8, 2019

Strategies for Protein Supplement Intolerance

You prepared in advance for your bariatric surgery, followed all the instructions on your checklist and stockpiled a 2-week supply of your favorite protein shake - only to discover it no longer appeals to you! You know how important protein is for postoperative recovery and safe weight loss, so what do you do now?

Here are some strategies to try when taste changes or digestion issues affect your protein shake tolerance:



  1. Try a different consistency - Sometimes a traditional shake is too thick when you’re newly post-op. Fortunately, there are a number of water based options available that many patients find more tolerable, particularly during the first 2-4 weeks following surgery.  Some options include: Bipro Protein Water (sold in our office), Isopure Infusions powder, Isopure Zero Carb, Atkins Lift, Dymatize ISO 100 Clear and Premier Protein Clear Protein Drinks. 
  2. Try a different texture - Changing the texture of a food can improve tolerance. Many patients enjoy freezing their protein water or shake in ice pop molds and eating it frozen. For another option, try adding unflavored protein powder like Celebrate to sugar free flavored gelatin for a tasty protein jello. Ready-to-eat Power Pak High Protein Pudding contains 30 grams of protein per serving and can be thinned with milk or water if desired.   
  3. Rethink preparation - A shaker bottle for mixing your protein powder is great when you’re on the go, but the result can be a bit gritty. Try making your shake in a blender before you head out, it can make a big difference in the final product. 
  4. Change up the liquid - Cow’s milk, water, decaf coffee and milk alternatives like unsweetened almond, soy, rice and hemp - are all suitable choices and can alter a shake’s taste and digestibility. Some patients swear by throwing a few ice cubes in a blender with their powder or ready-to-drink option as this makes for a creamier tasting shake.
  5. Go savory - The liquid phase immediately following surgery can feel like sweetness overload for some patients, particularly if your sense of taste is heightened. If this sounds like you, a salty or savory option may be the key to meeting your protein goals. Celebrate Chicken Soup Protein Powder contains 27 grams of protein per serving and can be mixed with water, broth or stock. Campbell’s 98% Fat Free Broccoli Cheese Soup, Cream of Celery, Cream of Chicken and Cream of Mushroom (strained if necessary) can be introduced during phase 1 and mixed with Celebrate Unflavored Protein Powder for a delicious soup with 20 grams of protein. (Be sure to check with your nutritionist before introducing thick soups and strain as needed.)
Dana Babeu, RD, is a registered dietitian at New Jersey Bariatric Center, a medical & surgical weight loss center with offices in Springfield, Somerville, Hoboken, East Brunswick, Hackettstown and Sparta, New Jersey. She provides pre-operative and post-operative nutritional counseling to New Jersey Bariatric Center’s Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve, LAP-BAND (gastric band) and revision patients, in addition to dietary counseling for patients in our Medical Weight Loss program.
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