Protein... Nuts and Dairy


Hi!... Remember me?  I was looking thru the archives and I see the last email I sent was in June!  Guess, someone took the summer off, eh?  

In my defense I will say I did a lot of writing over the summer (just not the newsletter!).  My wife and I took a writing course over the summer so every week we had a writing assignment and I just didn't seem to have time for that and the newsletter.  Anyway…Hope everyone enjoyed their Labor Day weekend and survived the wrath of Hurricane Irene intact and with electricity

Dr. Michael BilofDr. Michael BilofToday I want to discuss something we talk about a great deal in the office…protein.  But before we get to that I want to interrupt the regularly scheduled program for a quick advertisement!


This Thursday I will be leading free a patient information seminar for our South Jersey Patients.  It will be held at
"The Center for Healthy Living" located at 198 Prospect St. Lakewood, NJ 08701 this Thursday Sept 8th from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM.  If you would like to register please call us at 732-269-6800 or 973-218-1990.  It is free and I will be discussing all of the options for bariatric surgery.

Now back to protein…if you have had bariatric surgery and particularly if you have had a gastric bypass you have heard me or Dr. Yurcisin or Bella or Marisol (or all of us!) discuss the importance of getting enough protein.

First lets discuss why protein is important and then what types of protein are best.  The reason we emphasize protein is because it helps patients lose weight safely.  If you don't get enough protein your body will start breaking down muscle to get the protein it needs.  As long as you get enough protein your body will preserve muscle and instead will break down fat (this is a bit of a simplification, but it is the general idea).  This is what we want…your body to break down fat and preserve muscle…this is "healthy" weight loss.  If your body starts breaking down muscle that is the "unhealthy" weight loss, when patients don't look well. So the main reason we want all of our patients to get enough protein is to make sure they lose weight in a healthy manner.  Now that we know why protein is important lets talk about the best protein sources..and also which ones to avoid.

After surgery the most important protein source is your liquid protein supplement.  I'll be happy to give you a list of good liquid supplements, but if you aren't sure about the one you are using bring it into the office and either me or Dr. Yurcisin or Bella or Marisol can tell you if it is good or not.  After the liquid supplement good food sources would be egg whites (not whole eggs, but egg whites), most fish, beans and lean meats.  A lean meat is one that is 90% lean, by the way.  Tofu is also a good protein source, but many patients don't find it very appetizing.  If you are one of those rare people who actually likes tofu…well, lucky you! is a good source of protein.

What  you will notice about most of the protein sources I mentioned is that the protein levels are high but the calories are low, that is what we are looking for high protein, low calories…so what about nuts and dairy?

Lets discuss nuts first…nuts are high in protein but also high in calories..NOT what we are looking for in our protein supplement.  So anyone who is using nuts as a protein source please don't…nuts are NOT good for bariatric patients!!  Just to be clear I am not saying that nuts aren't good food..nuts actually are good food…just not good for bariatric patients.  If you are going to have nuts you should limit yourself to 1 or 2 ounces PER WEEK…that is all.  Again, 1 or 2 ounces per week is the most you should have.

Now, what about dairy?  First, lets take a step back and think about milk.  What is milk?  Milk is what a mother feeds her young when she wants the baby to grow.  Guess what folks, we don't want you to grow…we want you to shrink!  That is why you had bariatric surgery in the first place. So dairy is not really the best choice as a main protein source.  Milk is a food that is high in everything..fat, sugar, protein and calories..makes sense, you want the baby to grow, it needs everything!  So, I hope you can see that dairy is not really the best choice as a main protein source…as an occasional supplement it is OK, but it should NOT be your main source of protein.
For example it is OK to use NON FAT milk to mix your protein supplement in, but I don't recommend  using string cheese and yogurt as your main protein sources.

For some reason string cheese seems to be a favorite of bariatric patients.  In general I would stay away from it but If you are going to use string cheese it must be NON FAT and I would only use it occasionally (once of twice per week), NOT everyday.

So, the 'take home' message is that nuts and dairy should NOT be used as main protein sources for bariatric patients…they have too many calories for the amount of protein they provide.

This isn't a quote, but a joke from Rodney Dangerfield

I went to the psychiatrist, and he says: "You're crazy."

I tell him I want a second opinion.

He says, "Okay,  you're ugly too!"

That's it for this newsletter, as always thanks for reading and trusting me and the team at Garden State Bariatrics with your healthcare.

Michael Bilof

Contact Information
Web address:
phone: (973) 218-1990

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I know that a lot of nutritional advice can be contradictory, confusing and at times downright wrong!!