Occasionally patients who undergo a bariatric operation will develop some element of protein deficiency after the surgery. The degree of protein deficiency is closely related to the rate of weight loss. Because of this a patient who has a Gastric Bypass is more likely to have some protein deficiency than a patient who has had the Gastric Sleeve operation. Protein deficiency is rare after Gastric Banding. Of course, a mechanical complication of an operation – such as partial obstruction of the gastrojejunal anastamosis from a marginal ulcer after Gastric Bypass – can also lead to protein deficiency. This is really a form of malnutrition.
We recommend that patients who have had Gastric Bypass supplement their protein intake beginning 1 week after operation, up to 6 months post-op. Supplementation is best taken as whey powder. Powder can be mixed with soft food, and later solid food. It has fewer calories than protein shakes, and contributes more to a feeling of fullness after eating. The daily amount of supplementation should be 10-15 grams, although more may be necessary if deficiency develops despite these levels. Firm recommendations for supplementation after Gastric Sleeve do not exist, however, some supplementation is probably wise for the first 6 months. We do not recommend protein supplementation after Adjustable Gastric Banding, unless malnutrition occurs secondary to a complication.