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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Protein For RNY Folks

I get really frustated when I read about protein shakes and wls people that are drinking protein shakes of poor quality after surgery.  Unfortunately, many people think that a protein shake is a protein shake is a protein shake.  This is not true.  There are protein shakes that are better than others, provide us more digestible protein and are a good bang for the buck.  Why would you settle on a crappy inferior protein shake that you may not be absorbing properly, that is more calories and sugar than you need and could impede your weight loss? I don't understand it sometimes.  I find that even many nutritionists give poor recommendations for weight loss folks.

The reason for taking protein shakes is because we want to preserve muscle mass as much as we can while losing.  Consuming adequate protein in your diet will help you maintain muscle mass and heal as you lose weight. It can take up to 6 months for all parts to heal properly.  Long term, you may find that protein is essential because protein helps you lose weight, whereas too many carbs in your diet tend to slow weight down.  As a long timer, I can tell you that to lose weight, I tend to need double the protein in my diet to carbs to lose.

Form is Important

The recommendations for protein shakes and powders ideally that they are WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE OR CONCENTRATE based.  These are two forms that we absorb well and are high quality proteins.   They are the best of both worlds with isolate being the top one.  As a result, you will find that powders that use isolate will indeed be more expensive.  It's a purer, cleaner form of protein.

The higher the PDCAAS score the better the quality.    The higher the price does not neccessarily mean the higher the quality (although I have found that the ones that taste best are pricier.)

Roughly (although there are lots more protein choices):

Collagen      PDCAAS:  0.08 

Soy              PDCAAS:  1.0

Milk Protein  PDCAAS:  1.0

Casein          PDCAAS:  1.0

Whey Protein PDCAAS: 1.0
You will see many, many people using the protein "shots" or "tubes" but those are made with a blend of different proteins, most of which is cheap collagen protein which as you can see above has a very poor rating. Even many programs do not have nutritionists that know this which is sad. You'll also see some bariatric sites selling this crap.  Why? Money. It's cheap to make and it's cheap to market and sell.  More profit for everyone which I find is just wrong!

Bioavailablity is Important too!

Another reason for whey isolate is because it is not only good quality, but it is digestible for us.  Some types of protein, like collagen cannot be absorbed well either.

Many programs also say no casein protein because of the higher calories.

Look at the Breakdown of Protein/Fats/Carbs

For the best stats of a shake you typically want isolate or concentrate and the following:

Typically you want around 150-200 calories in 30 grams scoop or a 400-500 ml serving.
You want AT LEAST 20 grams of protein.
You want no more than 5 grams of sugar/carbs. Look at BOTH of these numbers.  Carbs turn into sugar.  No more than 5 grams.

These carb/sugar numbers change the breakdown of protein and carbs in your shake. The more percentage of protein, the better your shake.  I personally won't do less than 70% protein or more than 20% carbs.  The lower the percentage of carbs, the better.

Here are some popular shakes: (using chocolate flavour).  This is their ratio of protein/fat/carbs.

Premier Protein.         72% protein, 16% fat and 12% carbs.
Muscle Milk Light.     53% protein, 24% fat and 23% carbs.
Pure Protein               85% protein, 5%  fat and 10% carbs.
Shakeology                44% protein, 12% fat and 44% carbs.  
Profit (Itworks)          59% protein, 13% fat and 28% carbs.
Body Fortress Isol.    80% protein, 14% fat and  6% carbs.
Body By Vi               56% protein, 11% fat and 33% carbs.

*** if you have a protein shake, you'd like me to add to this list - just message me at

Watch the Add-Ins Too!!!

The other issue that seems to crop up are the add-ins.  Once you start adding too much into your protein shake, then the less of a "pure" protein shake it becomes.  Then you start to change the nature of your shake to more of a 'carb and protein' shake.

For example, let's take a commonly used protein powder.  In this case, 1 scoop of Body Fortress - Super Advanced Whey Isolate, Chocolate.   Make that with water and ice and this shake is:  80% protein, 14% fat and 6% carbs.   That is pretty awesome.  You want the bulk of your shake to be protein.   140 calories.

Now add, a cup of skim milk and the stats change to:  64% protein, 10% fat, and 26% carbs.  226 calories.  (Hmm...notice how the carbs are going up).

Add a half a banana to this and it changes even more:   52% protein, 8% fat and 40% carbs.  279 calories.

So although you are indeed getting the SAME amount of protein, you are getting far more carbs than you need and far more calories.  Personally my cut off is no less than 70% protein.

Although some people will say that they are still losing, they will still lose on those...but can they slow down your losing? Yes and you wouldn't even know it.

Oh and if you have to add in MORE PROTEIN to your protein shake there is something wrong with this picture.  Get a good quality one that has enough protein in it to begin with without having to add milk!  Water and ice should make a good protein shake alone.  But if you can't handle it, find a powder that has a lot of protein in it alone and try almond milk which will change the composition of your shake only minimally.

You will find a lot of "sellers" of protein through various MLM companies like Shakeology, Body by Vi and Itworks.  They will tell you that it "worked" for them but quite frankly, they are making money by selling them to you, so I doubt that they would tell you anything negative about their product. 

As well, do not count on any of the "supplement" or "vitamin" facts for any shake or powder.  DO NOT STOP TAKING YOUR VITAMINS.  The supplement industry is not tightly regulated.  Do not count on these for your vitamin needs. 


  1. Great information thank you.

  2. Very good info. I prefer EAS Advantage Carb control. Your opinion?

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. I like Neolife shake. The pdaas score is 1.73 and it is predigested protein so you dont ruin your kidneys also GMO FREE