Part 2: The 411 on Protein Powders

protein powder blog (2)Yesterday, in Part 1 we learned why a high protein diet is essential for successful fat loss. Today we are going to take a closer look at what makes up the different kinds of protein powder and how they are different from one another. 

Picking the right protein powder can be a daunting task. The seemingly endless options can be extremely overwhelming especially when every brand is telling you that they are the best. This begs the question: what is the best protein powder for me after bariatric surgery? Even better, are protein supplements even necessary?

Protein powders have several advantages and there are strong reasons to include them in your diet:

  • Very convenient for on the-the-go meals/snack
  • Excellent for hitting daily protein targets
  • Can be cost effective on a cost per gram of protein basis
  • Come in a wide range of flavors and can be mixed in with various meals

  • For bariatric patients we are looking for the highest quality protein, low carbohydrate and low fat products. This profile alone does not completely narrow the field, but it’s a start. And protein powders/supplements are not absolutely necessary for losing fat. However, there are benefits to including protein powders in your diet and it’s important to find the best source that works for you. Including protein supplements in your diet will help you get the 60-80 grams that many surgical programs recommend. This study posted by the Endocrine Society even recommends 60-120 grams of protein per day.

    Whey Protein

    Of all of the protein powders we will examine, Whey Protein is the most popular by a huge margin. You get a lot of protein for the price, it generally tastes good and has a great amino acid profile.

    Simply put, whey is a byproduct of cheese production. After the milk isglassofmilk curdled and strained what is left is whey. It was discovered that whey is a complete protein and packed with leucine (an amino acid that is a big player in initiating protein synthesis). Whey is a very rapidly absorbed protein (due to the amount of leucine) and has a very high Net Protein Utilization (92%) which is ideal for sports athletes and bariatric patients alike. Whey protein is great for any time of the day; however, it’s a particularly strong choice after exercise.


    Casein protein is another very popular form of protein and like Whey, it is also found in milk. Unlike whey, casein protein is a very slow digesting protein so it is able to provide a sustained slow release of amino acids into the blood stream. Because of this it is widely thought that a slow-burning protein such as casein is ideal for before bed. This is because you get a prolonged supply of protein and amino acids while you are asleep.

    Egg Protein Powder

    It is rare that you find someone who regularly consumes Egg Protein Powder. Not because it’s inferior to whey or casein protein, it’s just less popular. It is actually an excellent source of protein. There are a few primary benefits of egg protein:


  • High biological value – biological value is measured by how efficiently your body can utilize forms of protein. Egg protein has a Net Protein Utilization of approximately 94 according to this study. This means 94% of the protein consumed can be used in your body
  • Digested even slower than casein
  • Egg protein powders are derived from egg whites so fat and carbohydrates will be very low

    Soy Protein Powder

    Soy protein is protein that is taken from soy beans. Once the beans are dehulled and defatted the beans are processed into various commercial products. Soy protein is a viable choice for building and maintaining muscle mass.soybeans

    There is a bit of controversy when it comes to soy food, especially for men. There are studies, like this conducted at Harvard University, that show evidence that high level of consumption of soy in men led to decreased sperm count. Men in the highest intake category of soy foods had on average 41 million sperm/ml less than men who did not eat soy foods.

    However, another study showed that consumption of soy protein and isoflavone does not affect sperm quality. At this point there is no clear answer and there is certainly no reason to abandon soy altogether. After all, it is a great source of protein and will not be harmful in moderate servings.

    Rice Protein Powder has an equal biological value to beef. It is a great choice for vegetarians and individuals who have an intolerance to lactose.
    Pea Protein Powder equally as good as rice protein and has a large amount of leucine.

    As stated earlier in the post, what is most important is that you find the protein source that works best for you and your needs. As a bariatric patient we need a high quality, fast absorbing protein. Just remember that not all protein powders are created equal, and while the most expensive product is not necessarily the best, you will probably get what you pay for!

    Thank you so much for tuning into Part 2! Now that we’ve covered the six most popular protein powders you won’t want to miss Part 3 when we reveal the number one protein supplement for weight loss and the evidence to back it!

    To Your Health!
    The Bari Life Team
    Improving the health and wellness of bariatric patients around the world by providing the most complete bariatric vitamins & supplements that are highly effective and clinically proven.

    Shop Bari Life:
    Questions? Email!

  • Leave a Reply