MiladyB

Is All Protein Created Equal?

95 posts in this topic

The liquid protein weight loss diets of the late 80's revealed that dietary nonprotein calories (particularly carbohydrate) had to be high enough to "spare" protein, or one's metabolic machinery will flip into a catabolic mode, using protein (both dietary and endogenous) as fuel substrate. The liquid protein diets resulted in some catastrophic complications, including death. This experience showed that one had to be taking in a minimum of about 500 nonprotein calories to prevent this wholesale breakdown of protein for energy. Hence, my advice would be not to use these modular protein supplements at all unless one is taking in at least 500 other calories, in which case the type of supplementary protein may not be as critical (although milk proteins such as whey are probably always more desireable than collagen, which, if it did become the major source of dietary protein, is not a very complete protein.) If one can't take even 500 calories, I think that that person would be better off taking a balanced complete (meaning one with a higher score.) dietary supplement, such as Carnation Instant Breakfast or Ensure at the lower caloric intake, on the premise that a balanced under-intake is safer than what amounts to a liquid protein diet.

Jim

At my 3-month postop appointment, which was on 01/27/2011, my surgeon instructed me to consume my 60-80 g of protein from liquid protein, as it is his theory that my body is not absorbing and breaking down protein as it should just yet from food-based protein. This is based on the results of the body composition analyzer scale used in his office, which shows I am consistently losing muscle mass. While I subscribe to his theory, I feel there is another element that comes in to play with my issue -- my activity level.

Since 3 weeks postop, I have been attending Jazzercise (high-impact cardio and strength training) classes five days a week -- 60-minute classes. I also began walking 2 miles every morning around 2 months postop.

Up until my 3-month postop visit, I had been successfully taking in 80-90 g of protein from food sources without issue. My caloric intake was around 800 calories. I was losing weight at a nice pace. However, my only complaint was the fact that I didn't necessarily feel "energized" throughout the entire day and had begun to feel exhausted about 20 minutes into my Jazzercise classes. I told my surgeon that I had begun to drink half of an UNJURY protein drink before class and the rest of it after class, and I felt it was helping.

Since my last appointment, I have begun to follow my surgeon's recommendation and have begun drinking four UNJURY protein drinks a day (112 g of protein). That totals around 752 calories (a little more if I add frozen fruit). My nutritionist's goals for me at this stage is 1000 calories, so I supplement the protein drinks with veggies and fruit (typically a small organic baby spinach salad with fat-free cheese, two diced strawberries, two slices of lower sodium Oscar Mayer bacon, and a spritz of balsamic viniagrette, as well as an apple). This essentially gives me 1021 calories, 8 g fat, 127 g protein, 1121 g sodium, and 108 g of carbs.

While those numbers seems good on paper, I am beginning to wonder if drinking the liquid protein is doing more harm than good after reading the information I quoted above. It has been my thought that my surgeon's theory was only part of my problem. Perhaps I am burning through my daily caloric and protein intake and my body has nothing else to grab "fuel" from other than my muscles.

The past nearly three weeks have been incredibly stressful for me. I have no idea how I will maintain my sanity until the end of April (my scheduled 6-month postop visit). I have felt like I was pushed back to week 1 postop. The thought of having to endure an essentially liquid diet for three months is overwhelming, to say the least. I feel like food has been taken away from me, and it's tough to accept that. Although he didn't tell me I couldn't eat, I don't have many calories leftover for food...nor much room! I could lower my protein drinks from four to three a day, which would bring my caloric intake down to 600, but I worry that 84 g of protein from the liquid protein wouldn't be enough for my level of activity and fear eating protein from food sources is merely a waste of time if my body isn't absorbing it as it should.

I so desperately want to do what is right for my body; however, this new way of "eating" seems so extreme. Plus, it seems to have forced me into a stall...in fact, I have gained 2.5 pounds. I keep trying to tell myself that I am actually building muscle, which sounds good in my head, but I seem to be heading in the wrong direction -- I'm still 35 pounds away from my goal. I know, I know...I need to be more patient.

How do you know if you are getting ample protein and calories to fuel your body? How do you know if what you are consuming is causing more harm than good? I can't say as though I have any more energy since changing my diet to the four liquid protein drinks a day. I am getting my labs checked tomorrow, so hopefully this helps shed some light on this topic for me (the nurse forgot to give me a lab slip at my 3-month postop visit, so it was just mailed to me).

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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Martee,

The diet you are on seems EXTREME to me. You remember I went through 3-4 weeks with almost no weight loss back in November/ December. My doctor said I wasn't eating ENOUGH, and that by consuming mostly proteins, my body was in starvation mode. I was told to eat at least 1 cup of food at each of 3 main meals, and then smaller snacks in between. I was told I had to eat carbs, as the brain needs them for you to function. As soon as I started following his guidelines, I started losing weight again. I feel FABULOUS! I go to the gym 3x weekly, and the other days I am on the treadmill. I'm up to 60 minutes walking now, when this time last year I couldn't have done 5 minutes. Here's an example of my daily intake:

Breakfast

1 or 2 eggs

sometimes 1 piece of toast

Snack

piece of LF cheese (I love Baby Bel cheese!)

5-6 LF Triscuit crackers

Lunch

Usually leftovers or a Weight Watchers meal

Snack

Carb Master Yogert or a protein bar (I use EAS Myoplex Lite, 15g protein, 26 carbs, 190 calories). If I don't have a protein bar for this snack, I will have it after dinner.

Dinner

We do a lot of stir fry meals at my house... chicken or beef sliced very thin, loads of vegies, rice. Yes, I eat the rice, too!

Evening Snack

Either cheese or protein drink (EAS Myoplex) or protein bar

I have lost a total of 70 pounds, and would not want to have lost faster than I have. I feel SO good, and a very rapid weight loss is not as good for you.

LeeC likes this

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What about rice protein products from Sun Warrior? I can't find their PDCAAS score, though I do have an email out to them asking for it. It appears to be a very good option, especially for those who are allergic to diary.

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What about rice protein products from Sun Warrior? I can't find their PDCAAS score, though I do have an email out to them asking for it. It appears to be a very good option, especially for those who are allergic to diary.

Apparently, rice has a PDCAAS score of 0.47: http://lewisplanic.hubpages.com/hub/The-Best-Protein-Powders

Rice protein powder is distilled from brown rice and has lower amounst of essentaila and non-essenetial proteins. It is also a good choice for those with dairy allergies. The PDCAAS score comes in at .47 but if mixed with milk it goes up to .97 and mixed with peas or beans its 1.0.

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corrine, what about milk protein isolate? the quest bars that i eat list whey protein isolate first, and then milk protein isolate second in their list of ingredients. i have become pretty dependent upon them because they are 160 calories, 20 grams of protein and only 4 net carbs.

so am i absorbing all 20 grams of protein if it's a combo of whey & milk protein isolates?

many thanks.

xxoo

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corrine, what about milk protein isolate? the quest bars that i eat list whey protein isolate first, and then milk protein isolate second in their list of ingredients. i have become pretty dependent upon them because they are 160 calories, 20 grams of protein and only 4 net carbs.

so am i absorbing all 20 grams of protein if it's a combo of whey & milk protein isolates?

many thanks.

xxoo

Milk protein isolate is a mixture of all of the proteins found in milk (namely, a variety of whey proteins and casein - in what proportions - who knows). And we know that casein is not so good for WLS patients.

The fact that Quest bars list whey protein isolate first is a good sign but legally, the bars only have to contain 1% more whey isolate to be legally allowed to list it before milk protein isolate.

You're far enough out that I'm assuming you're not relying on those bars for the bulk of your protein Julie so in honesty, I wouldn't worry about it. As protein bars go, Quest are a good choice

This is good reading http://idahomilkproducts.com/content/what-difference-between-milk-protein-concentrate-and-milk-protein-isolate

There are, however, numerous Milk Protein Isolates (MPI) that are manufactured in much the same manner as casein/caseinates. They are nothing like a true MPC or a truly filtered MPI. These types of proteins are also called Milk Protein Isolates. These types of MPI’s are usually manufactured by precipitating casein and/or casein/whey protein aggregates from skim milk and washing the curd to purify the protein – much the same process as casein/caseinate manufacture. In fact, most of the Milk Protein Isolates on the market today are not much different from a caseinate with a little bit of whey protein mixed in.

In actual fact, there is no legal definition anywhere in the world for a Milk Protein Isolate. The name was derived from proposed Food Codex Alimentarious Guidelines for protein products wherein a protein concentrate was defined as a powder having a protein content between 40% and 89% and a protein isolate powder would have a minimum protein content of 90%. Under these proposed guidelines, the protein content is a “dry basis” protein content, meaning that an MPI powder need only have an “as is” protein content of about 86% to be called an “isolate”. There are many manufacturers of MPI in other countries who blend caseinates with whey proteins and call the blends MPI. The majority of MPI’s available today (those that are manufactured with a precipitation step in their processing) do not accurately reflect the FDA’s opinion of a milk protein – having the same proteins as they are naturally found in milk and in the same ratios as they are naturally found in milk. The majority of MPI’s for sale today do not contain all of the whey proteins as found in milk and certainly not in the ratios as naturally found in milk. Be very careful to ask questions about the protein that you are buying. Was it manufactured solely from a filtration process or was precipitation and alkali added anywhere during the processing?

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thanks so much corrine!

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What about rice protein products from Sun Warrior? I can't find their PDCAAS score, though I do have an email out to them asking for it. It appears to be a very good option, especially for those who are allergic to diary.

I got a response back from Sun Warrior, and they claim that their rice protein has a PDCAAS score of 1 (or 100 depending on the scale used). They do claim to use a different process to extract the protein for their product. I asked them to post the information on their website.

Is there a listing of exactly what it takes to achieve a score of 1 somewhere on the internet?

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I have been reading this thread for the past half hour and can honestly say I have learned more about protein for WLS patients over this time then in all of my Google searches and visits to multiple supplement stores. I know that the dates on this thread are rather old and if not for another person adding the link to it in a more modern thread, I fear i would have never had the opportunity to get information this valuable. I use to be into weight lifting and at 6 weeks tomorrow, I am watching my arms and chest dwindle away. I will be cleared to hit the gym tomorrow and the right protein will be a must for energy levels and weight loss, while not losing muscle mass so rapidly. 

 

For me, this thread is a must read so I am giving it a BUMP!!!

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YAYYY!!! I am so glad you found this one. This is one of the threads I was thinking of when I mentioned I would look for other resources. Sorry I didn't get to it more quickly, but thanks for bumping it up. Perhaps it should even be pinned...

dogwalker likes this

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I posted a link to this thread yesterday - It's a great read - it's already pinned here in the Gastric Bypass Nutrition Forum.

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What about Body Fortress Super Whey Protein Shot, Fruit Punch, 17.4oz? It seems like everything on the market has Hydrolyzed Collagenic Protein Isolate in it. Some have both this and Whey Protein Isolate in them. None of them show the rating you mentioned on the labels. Do you think this one is ok?

Thanks

Craig

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excellent protein info!

Edited by Happy-Camper

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I like this protein powder for shakes:  Species Nutrition (brand) / Isolyze: Whey Protein Isolate (name)

It has 27 g protein per/scoop and no added sugar.

The Vanilla Ice Cream flavor blends well and tastes good/neutral, like vanilla.  For details of nutritional values:  http://www.speciesnutrition.com

Available on Vitacost.com and Amazon... a bit pricy compared to others, but I trust the product and know it is a quality protein powder.

Hope others find this useful.  Best Regards, HMA

Edited by HMichael

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Can anyone clarify how easy it is to eat protein bars?  If you eat them slowly do they go down ok or are they problematic?  I know it probably depends on the type/brand/texture of the bar...but in general any luck?  

I like VPX Impact Bars and they have a good nutritional profile and am hoping I will be able to continue to use them when I get past soft food stages.  Thank you in advance.  Best regards, HMA

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Can anyone clarify how easy it is to eat protein bars?  If you eat them slowly do they go down ok or are they problematic?  I know it probably depends on the type/brand/texture of the bar...but in general any luck?  

I like VPX Impact Bars and they have a good nutritional profile and am hoping I will be able to continue to use them when I get past soft food stages.  Thank you in advance.  Best regards, HMA

 

As you suspect, that is a question that is really difficult to answer. Not only does it depend on the type/brand/texture of the bar, but also on the individual's pouch and the stage of his/her WLS journey.

 

So... it's very important to consider the amount of protein (and calories, sugar, carbs, and fat) in the bar. Although there are some decent choices out there, protein bars generally have a LOT of calories, fat, calories, sugar/carbs for a relatively small protein benefit. Many also have sugar alcohols, which can cause some pretty nasty reactions in some people such as bad gas and diarrhea.

 

Also, as this thread points out, it's important to stick with higher quality protein sources, especially during the first several months of rapid weight loss and while malabsorption is highest. If possible, it's best to choose supplements made with 100% Whey Protein Isolate, but not many protein bars use this type.

 

Pure Protein, Quest, and Pantry Selections seem to be among the most popular/better choices.

 

HOWEVER, most folks who get into the habit of including protein bars on a regular basis will agree that they have the great potential to be problematic.

 

Protein bars can be included an occasional snack or meal replacement as long as you calculate the nutritional value into your daily allowances. But I honestly wouldn't recommend protein bars in general for early post op patients for the reasons I explained above.  If you do introduce them, be on the lookout for hunger returning or cravings popping up. If you notice the candy-like enjoyment from protein bars triggers cravings or increased snacking, you may want to cut them out and wait a while before reintroducing them into your diet. Oh, and STALLS. Many people have had stalls and wonder where in the world they come from only to realize that yummy, healthy protein bar is the cause.

 

Each of us is different. Although the stats suggest they are just fine, I dump like a cement truck from Quest bars. I think Pantry Selections bars are yummy and seem to be nutritionally pretty darn healthy. But there are some times when I just cannot have them because I will eat them all day instead of meals and I just know that is not a good habit. When that happens, I quit them for a few weeks then reintroduce them and do just fine with them. For me, it's all about being AWARE.

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thank you very much for sharing this! I will have to drink the atkins shakes I already bought but after that, I'll be much more discerning when reading the nutrition labels! I'm a little jealous that you all have such thorough nutritionists....mine is not nearly that interested or thorough.

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Are the PDCAAS scores listed on the bottles somewhere? That would be extremely helpful. I'd hate to think that I'm sipping on protein shakes all day for nothing. As soon as I get some energy I'm going to barrel down the stairs to check mine out. Ill also have to check out the $150 worth of stuff I ordered today when it gets here. I wish I would have asked this question before surgery.

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I wish there was somewhere to go to find which ones have the score of 1 and weed out starting with those to see which tastes best and is easiest tolerated.  I know that many of them have been mentioned here and I will make note. I have learned SO MUCH from this.

 

I really hope to only have to do the shakes in the very early stages and then move to 'real food' after that for my protein like recommended but I want to have a back up plan 

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