Fast Facts About Protein
I know you’ve heard protein is important, but what makes it so special?
- Protein is made up of amino acids that are the building blocks of body tissues including muscles, blood vessels, hair, skin and nails. If you don’t get enough protein after surgery, you will not heal as well, and might see more muscle loss, hair loss and brittle nails.
- Protein provides energy: 1 gram of protein provides 4 calories. The average person needs a minimum of 60-80 grams protein a day, which means a minimum of 240-320 calories you eat daily should come from protein. After surgery protein will be your main source of energy (AKA calories) because carbohydrates and fats will be limited. Getting an adequate amount of protein will help optimize your energy level.
- Your body cannot store protein efficiently like it does fats and carbohydrates. This is why it’s important to eat enough protein each and every day.
- Protein requires more calories to digest compared to that of carbs and fats. In other words, it takes more calories to digest 1 gram of protein than 1 gram of carbohydrates or 1 gram of fat.
- Since protein takes longer to digest, it keeps you feeling fuller, longer. And who wouldn’t prefer that?!
- Protein has been found to decrease appetite; carbohydrates have been found to stimulate appetite.
- Good sources of protein include: fish, chicken, turkey, pork, red meat, eggs, cheese, (parmesan, Swiss, mozzarella, and cheddar have the highest amounts), cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, milk, nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews and peanuts have the highest amounts), and lentils (one of the best sources of plant-based protein).
It is clear that protein plays a vital role in our overall health, but it is important to note that it is possible to get too much protein. Contact your favorite Bryan Bariatric Advantage dietitian (that’s me!) to find out exactly how much protein is safe for you to consume in a day.
Liz Wray, RD, Bryan Bariatrics Advantage