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Dr. Terry Simpson

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Protein Requirements The average person needs to consume about 0.45 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily. The protein requirements for a person will increase if they are doing a lot of exercise, and certainly will increase if the person has had weight loss surgery.

Protein requirements for people that have had weight loss surgery & those who have not

Dr. Terry Simpson’s weight loss surgery book Getting to Goal and Staying There – the manual for Lap-band Surgery
Our workbook, Getting to Goal and Staying There:
Lessons learned from successful patients, features a chart showing the protein requirements based upon the type of weight loss operation a person has had (shown below). Some weight loss operations bypass a part of the small intestine that absorbs protein, therefore these patients will need more protein than the average person.

Athletes may require up to one gram of protein per pound in order to facilitate muscle building and muscle repair. The more exercise one does, the more the body needs to build muscle and maintain it, the more protein the body requires.

400-500 cm
Proximal RNY
200-400 cm
Distal RNY
100 - 200 cm
5 foot55 grams55 grams60 grams70 grams
5'2"58 grams58 grams65 grams70 grams
5'4"63 grams63 grams70 grams75 grams
5' 6"66 grams66 grams72 grams78 grams
5'8"71 grams71 grams78 grams85 grams
5' 10"75 grams75 grams82 grams89 grams
6 foot82.8 grams82.8 grams90 grams100 grams

Proteins are used by the body to build muscle, rebuild tissue, repair tissue, and can even be used as a source of energy. The body does not store protein. If you do not consume enough protein, your body will break down muscle tissue. Your body can only absorb so much protein at a time, and if you consume more protein than your body can absorb, that protein will simply be eliminated. Protein has calories but more important, protein is used to build body parts. Your body remakes itself every seven years. Yup, you are not the same person you were years ago. Your body rebuilds and remodels itself all the time. In order to build the basic cellular structure, your body needs protein. Athletes need even more protein because the increased activity leads to muscle breakdown and the need for muscle repair (this is why you see a lot of gyms selling liquid protein drinks).

Protein is made of building blocks called amino acids

Lap-band weight loss surgeon Dr. Terry Simpson MD cooking meat protein on barbeque pit cartoon
There are two types of amino acids:
those known as “essential” (because the only way to get them is through what we eat), and those that the body can manufacture from other amino acids. The amino acids you must get from your diet (that is, those that your body cannot build), are lysine, tryptophan, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, methionine (and/or cysteine), phenylalanine (and/or tyrosine), threonine, and valine. Arginine is also an essential amino acid but is required for children more than adults. If your body gets these essential amino acids, it can build the other amino acids.

Meat, dairy, soy, and eggs contain sufficient forms of all amino acids to prevent protein deficiency. Vegetarians have to be certain to include tryptophan and lysine in their diets, as these two amino acids are not found in many plant foods. They are, however, found in some grains. Protein deficiency is of particular concern in children whose parents have adopted a vegan lifestyle.

Protein deficiency in weight loss surgery patients

Protein deficiency is uncommon in the Western world except in patients who have short gut syndrome, but it can occur in patients who have had weight loss surgery. Deficiencies can also be found in people who run marathons, exercise a lot, or have severe trauma such as burns or major surgery. For patients who have had part of their small bowel bypassed (RNY gastric bypass or duodenal switch surgery), deficiencies can be avoided by increasing protein intake. Sometimes increasing intake is not enough and these patients may require supplemental enzymes (pancreatic) to help digest food in the stomach. On rare occasions, it is necessary to revise the operation so that more small bowel is available to absorb protein.

Common signs of protein deficiency include nausea and vomiting, a lack of appetite, swelling (edema) of the lower extremities, loss of hair and sometimes nails, low blood pressure, and muscle wasting. Advanced protein deficiency can lead to liver failure, ascites (fluid in the abdomen), and even death.

Some people have fatty liver disease. These patients might be placed on a liquid protein diet for a week before surgery in order to decrease the size of the liver, making laparoscopic surgery easier. There is no evidence that this is appropriate long-term therapy for fatty liver, although weight loss is the cornerstone of treatment for fatty liver disease.

Protein as an appetite suppressant

Protein makes a person feel full—or has an effect on satiety. People who are on a liquid phase of their postoperative recovery or on a liquid diet for other reasons can become quite hungry. Using protein drinks during these periods is particularly important so patients feel full with minimal calories.

Two types of protein drinks are commonly available; those based on soy proteins and those based on whey proteins. Whey is a byproduct of milk. There are two milk products: curds and whey (“little Jack Horner sat in corner eating his curds and whey”). The whey part of this milk is used to manufacture a variety of protein drinks.

Protein drinks are good as a snack because they allow a person to feel full with fewer calories. Besides, they are quick and convenient. It is far better to have a protein drink as a snack than snacks that dieters commonly use. Many protein-based diets recommend snacks such as peanut butter, nuts, fat filled meats, cream cheese, cheese for snacking. Not all of these items are protein-based foods and none of them would not be recommended as snacks for anyone serious about weight loss.

Whey-based protein drinks are generally better tolerated than soy based. Also, they are easier for the manufacturer to flavor so they taste better.



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