Protein Shakes vs “Real-Food”- Is One Better?

Protein Shakes vs “Real-Food”- Is One Better?

Most doctors and dietitians agree that you should follow a routine that works best for you.

How patients meet their protein goals varies from patient to patient, but meeting your protein goal is job #1 after bariatric surgery and in maintenance.

Note from a Fellow Bariatric Patient:

I often hear other patients say that their doctor wants them to stop drinking protein shakes and consume only “real food.” That sounds great in theory, but here’s what’s true for me.

Many years of maintenance have taught me that I can only eat about 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day, otherwise I gain weight. 

I aim for about 100 grams of protein each day, but I If I am exclusively eating “real” food, I end up getting more than 1,500 calories. “Real food” generally comes with more carbs and fat.  And the scale creeps upward...while my self-esteem dives downward.

Simply put, I cannot live within my caloric restraints, and meet my protein goals, if I don’t use protein shakes.  So now, more than seven years postop, I still do three protein shakes/supplements a day. 

Here’s what my day looks like:

Breakfast: Unjury Chocolate Splendor shake: 21 grams of protein

Mid-morning snack: Decaf coffee mixed with an Unjury Vanilla Ready-to-Drink shake: 21 grams of protein

Lunch: “real food” protein, about 15-20 grams (with fruit or veggies)

Dinner: “real food” protein, about 15-20 grams (with veggies and grain or potato)

Night time snack: Unjury Chocolate Splendor protein shake or “ice cream” after dinner: 30 grams of protein

Honestly, I don’t enjoy fish or meat enough to eat it multiple times each day and frankly, I don’t tolerate much more than 3oz at a time, so getting all of my protein from whole food sources just isn’t realistic for me. When I don’t use my shakes, something else usually slides into their place that quickly causes weight gain.

Using the menu plan above normally gets me 100-110 grams of protein each day. My doctor is 100% onboard with my approach and it has resulted in me maintaining a 150+ pound weight loss for six years. It simply is an easier way to both get adequate protein and keep me from fixating on food.

In my opinion, protein shakes are “real food.” They come from cows milk and they are vital to me maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight.

I hope you find a balance of good protein sources that work for you!

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