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Protein Grams per Day: You need to know how many grams of protein you need to get each day – for the rest of your life. You surgeon’s office will have a specific recommendation for you. To give you an estimate, The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) recommends 60 to 80 grams of quality protein per day.

We recommend more. We recommend at least:

80 grams of protein per day for gastric bypass and gastric sleeve patients,
90 grams of protein per day gastric band

Here’s why we recommend more protein per day than ASMBS:

  • There isn’t a lot of research on the protein needs of gastric bypass and gastric sleeve patients after surgery. This is particularly true for the first year after surgery.

  • Because there isn’t a lot of research, we believe it is much safer to risk a recommendation that is a little high than one that is a little low. A recommendation that is a little low might result in slow muscle loss throughout the body, including the heart muscle. At the same time, a recommendation of 80 grams is within the safe level recommendations of the Institute of Medicine for the general population who can absorb the protein they consume at least as well.

  • For most gastric band patients, we believe the medical research on weight loss applies; a growing body of research specifically recommends 25% to 30% of calories from protein for weight loss success. Ninety grams of protein per day is 30% of calories from protein when the diet is 1200 calories per day, and we anticipate that most band patients will consume 1200 calories or more.

  • It is much easier to figure out whether you are getting 90 grams of protein than it is to figure out whether you are getting 30% of your calories from protein.

How do I get in 80 grams of quality protein (90 grams for band patients) per day?

It is important to record your protein intake over the course of every day. An easy way to do this is with a simple sheet of paper that has 31 lines on your refrigerator, one line for each day of a month. Make a note every time you get in protein, and add up the total at the end of each day.

Know how much quality protein is in foods. Many foods have 7 grams of protein per unit or per ounce. Examples:

7 grams of protein per one egg
7 grams of protein per ounce of beef, chicken, pork, fish
(1 ounce after cooking and shrinking)
(a common serving size is 3 ounces)

Skim milk has 1 gram per ounce of milk, so 8 grams per cup (almost 7)
Other dairy products will show the grams of protein on the label.

If you do a little arithmetic, you can see that getting enough protein from foods isn’t so easy. If you want 80 grams of quality protein, here are the amounts of one food you would need per day:

How much of this food To get 80 grams of protein
Beef, Pork, Chicken or Fish 12 ounces after cooking,
(almost a pound before cooking)
Eggs 12 eggs
Milk 10 cups of milk

Clearly you can combine some of each, but with much-reduced capacity after surgery, it isn’t easy.

That’s how protein supplements can help. One scoop of a high quality supplement powder typically provides about 20 grams of protein depending on the scoop size. If you mix the scoop of protein into 8 ounces of skim milk, that increases the total protein to about 28 grams.

Track your protein. Here’s a free tool you will find as valuable as anything else you find on this website – IF you use it: a printable page that helps you track your protein.

When you track it, you will do it. Just download and print copies of the UNJURY and tape on your refrigerator. Start today! When you track it, you will do it.