Bariatric Shakes

Whether you make your own bariatric shakes or choose to purchase pre-made ones, protein drinks are an important part of your diet after weight loss surgery.

These are some of my favorite ready-to-drink (RTD) protein shakes and when to use them:

Note: These bariatric shakes can all be used after gastric lap band, gastric sleeve, or gastric bypass surgeries, unless otherwise noted.

IDS Whey Liquid Protein
3.8 ounces
180 calories, 42 grams protein, 2 grams carb, 0 grams fat, 0 grams sugar
Flavors: Grape, Orange, Fruit Punch, Blue Raspberry, Watermelon

IDS New-Whey Liquid Protein is a compact, highly bioavailable liquid protein beverage. It's packaged in an easily portable, virtually unbreakable plastic vial. No refrigeration is needed - just pour over ice, or chill before drinking.

My recommendation: With a whopping 42 grams of protein in ~ 4 ounces, these bariatric protein drinks are great to use when the volume of food and liquid you can eat is extremely limited, as in the first few days or weeks post surgery.

8 ounces
60 calories, 15 grams protein, 0 grams carb, 0 grams fat, 0 grams sugar
Available in 2 fruit flavors.

My recommendation: This is a good bariatric shake if you prefer juice type drinks vs thicker, milkier drinks.

Cytosport Whey Isolate Protein Drink

16.9 ounces
130 calories, 32 grams protein, 1 g carb, 0 grams fat, 0 grams sugar
Flavors: Tropical, Tangerine, and Watermelon

My recommendation: This protein drink is a larger bottle than some of the other protein drinks and is therefore good for use when you can consume slightly larger portions of liquids.

Pure Protein

12 ounces
150-170 calories, 35 grams protein, 1 gram sugar, 90%DV calcium. Sweetened with Sucralose and Acesulfame K.
Available in Vanilla Cream, Strawberry Cream, Banana Cream, Cookies & Cream, Frosty Chocolate, Chocolate Mint

My recommendation: This protein drink is a good choice if you like a thicker, "milkier" texture. The vanilla cream flavor can be used as a substitute for cream in coffee or milk on cereal. Freeze the cookies and cream flavor in popsicle molds for high protein popsicles!

EAS AdvantEdge Carb Control

11 ounces
110 calories, 17 g protein, 2-3 g carb, 0-1 g sugar.
Flavors: French Vanilla, Chocolate Fudge, Rich Dark Chocolate, Strawberry Creme, Cafe Caramel

My recommendation: This is also a great choice if you like thicker, "milkier" drinks. The French Vanilla or Cafe Caramel could also be used in place of cream in coffee or in place of milk on cereal.

VHT Extreme Smoothie
11 ounces
160 - 170 calories, 35 grams of protein and 60% DV of calcium.
Sweetened with Sucralose (Splenda). Available in Chocolate Dream and Vanilla Cream.

Note: This RTD shake is milk based and therefore is not acceptable if you are lactose intolerant. It's also not suitable after gastric bypass surgery.

Bariatric Shakes: How Much Protein Do I Need?

Recommendations vary, but you can use 60-80 grams per day as a general (lifelong) guideline. However, follow YOUR bariatric center's specific guidelines if they differ.

Solid Food Contributes to Your Overall Protein Intake TOO

It's useful to know how many grams of protein you need to eat every day so you can understand how your bariatric shakes contribute.

For example, you don't need to drink two 40 gram bariatric shakes if you're eating solid food too. Keep in mind that every ounce of poultry, fish, meat, or cheese has 7 grams of protein:

Food Amount Grams Protein
chicken 1 ounce 7 grams
turkey 1 ounce 7 grams
fish 1 ounce 7 grams
canned tuna/salmon 1/4 cup 7 grams
beef, pork, lamb, veal 1 ounce 7 grams
cheese, nonfat/lowfat 1 ounce 7 grams
cottage cheese, nonfat/lowfat 1/4 cup 7 grams
milk, skim/nonfat, or 1% 1 cup 8 grams
yogurt, nonfat or lite 6-8 ounces 6-14 grams
Greek yogurt, nonfat 6-8 ounces 13-14 grams
egg 1 7 grams
egg whites 2 7 grams
egg substitute 1/4 cup 7 grams
beans 1/2 cup 7 grams
tofu 1 ounce 2-5 grams
peanut butter 2 Tablespoons 8 grams
nuts/seeds 1/4 cup 5-6 grams
protein powders/protein shakes 1-2 scoops/3-20oz varies

The Negative Side of Premade Bariatric shakes

Ready to drink protein shakes are certainly a convenient way to boost your protein intake. However, if you're concerned with the quality of what you eat, keep in mind that you'll be drinking artificial sweeteners and food dye along with your protein.

If this concerns you (and it really should...), I recommend making your own bariatric shakes using "clean" protein powder (the list of ingredients shouldn't look like a chemistry lab) and your own fruit.

My favorite "clean" protein powders that don't have artificial colors or flavors (and if they're sweetened, it's only with Stevia):

Read more about lap-band diet.

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