Protein for extreme weight loss

Having a quality protein powder is essential to weight loss and to help your body restore health. Getting enough protein after a weight loss surgery is a major concern to patients; this is justified as many weight loss surgical patients have issues related to malnutrition that include hair loss, muscle break-down, being prone to infections, general weakness; hit a weight loss stall; or even worse…face the dreadful weight regain.

One of the most popular protein supplements today is whey as it is the most easily absorbed and tolerated protein source. But, whey can be used with different purposes and not all protein powders are created equally. There are whey products that are mass gainers that include carbs and fats which contribute to excess calorie; not for bariatric patients. Some, especially those that are pre-made, tend to contain chemicals that interfere with fat burning at the liver; not for bariatric patients. Others, are suspect of protein spiking; definitely, not for bariatric patients!

How to choose? Next, you can find my answers to this very most common question.
First, we need to deep e into its quality and its cost.


Protein in general is an expensive nutrient and generally the macronutrient that defines the cost of food. Any type of food. If it doesn’t have much protein, it will not cost much. Say for example that you want cheap ham; well, processed ham has modified starch and “ham” flavorings and colorings -may taste as ham but it will have very little protein or no protein at all. If you decide to choose this, you are actually paying for very expensive starch, chemicals and almost no protein. It may feel as you are being smart about it and getting a real bargain. But in reality, you are not bringing any nutrients at cellular level to work with, rather you would be increasing the toxic load to your liver, sabotaging its efforts to lose fat. Not really the smartest choice.

Protein is expensive. And, extracting protein and bringing it into a concentrated form… doesn’t come cheap.


Whey in particular can be one of the most expensive protein sources, but you are getting what you are paying for! To preserve essential nutrients, it processing requires the use of filters and low temperature to maintain its highly bioavailable undernatured proteins.

High quality protein powders usually do not contain artificial flavorings, colorings or additives as doing so counteracts the purpose of getting the purest form of protein. The ingredient list should have whey as the first ingredient and pretty much, it should be the only ingredient. This gives you variety and flexibility to use it in any way you want and create your own flavor, preferably from using organic (frozen or fresh) fruit and/or vegetables, extracts or spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, chai, masala… the sky is the limit. Please see the chart below for ideas on add-ins to your protein shake.


A “diluted whey” is easily identifiable as it would be one of many ingredients of a “Proprietary Blend” as opposed to being the main or only ingredient. In labels, listing ingredients in descending order of predominance by weight means that the ingredient that weighs the most is listed first, and the ingredient that weighs the least is listed last. A “proprietary blend” allows to hide a formula from the amount used out of any ingredients to the content of toxic ingredients. Bariatric patients need to be aware of this as protein shakes become a staple food and the use of what I call “chemical cocktails” bioaccumulates toxins in such a way that it will greatly impact their health, from gut function to brain health.

Since everyone has a different tolerance to toxic load, the impact could be immediate from having a diarrhea episode to lack of energy or, overtime, generalized conditions such as joint pain, muscle pains, skin rashes, brain fog, mood swings, or weight regain.

Protein powders that have higher amounts of 20g of protein on the label are suspect of using diluted whey as more than 20 grams of whey produces osmotic diarrhea -something the manufacturing companies like to avoid. Of course, any protein powder that contains milk as an ingredient is just a very high-priced dried milk powder, no matter how cheap it sales for.

In the following example, you can see that whey concentrate is the least of the ingredients of the proprietary blend, being milk protein concentrate the first and whey the last -without disclosure of the amounts used for each.

Take a look at the following disclosure of ingredients (Premier Protein):

On the other hand, you need to know about “protein spiking”. The current method used to measure the amount of protein in a protein powder involves measuring the nitrogen content. Nitrogen is used because protein is made up of amino acids that contain nitrogen, so measuring nitrogen content of a protein powder indicates the amount of protein it “has”, assuming that the protein powder contains complete proteins, such as whey, casein and/or egg protein. Unfortunately, many protein powders have “extra” amino acids added to them, which may lead you into thinking that this is good, the problem is that the amino acids added do not provide any benefit, they are added for their nitrogen content.
Amino acids such as taurine and glycine are cheaper than whey. So, doubt of any protein powder that has more than 20g per serving.


Another consideration is to choose whey that comes from cows that do not contain the synthetic Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). Being overweight implies a disrupted endocrine system, the food you eat, including whey, should aid in recuperating hormonal balance, not make it worse.


And, last but not least, it is best if your bariatric protein powder is fortified with L-Glutamine. Research has shown that L-Glutamine can minimize muscle breakdown and improve protein metabolism, which in turn helps to metabolize fat. L-Glutamine is also an important nutrient to boost immune system and it is the primary energy source for intestinal health. This is very important as it is well known that people who have excess of weight have disruption of the ecological equilibrium in the gut, L-Glutamine and a comprehensive nutritional plan that includes probiotics help reshape the gut microbial balance and improving nutrient absorption, a relevant matter after bariatric surgery.


Think of whey as a pure ingredient. Just like eggs can be turned into eggs benedict, frittata, deviled or scrambled eggs… whey can be turned into dessert, gelatin, pudding or a delicious smoothie! Choose a high-quality protein powder and make it yours with high quality ingredients. Don’t fall into commercial “tasty and convenient” traps as you’d end up paying more from missing the most important ingredient and including unwanted ingredients.

Add-ins to your shake will boost its texture, taste, and nutrition content. Have fun and enjoy! (choose organic when possible):

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To a long, healthy, productive, and happy life,
Lucía Chavez

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