Bariatric surgery is a surgery performed on the lower digestive system to induced weight loss for patients who are critically overweight/obese. This surgery is performed typically when other methods of weight loss have not been successful.
Bariatric surgeries are known to cause subclinical serum protein depletion in a lot of patients, and this is related to a reduced ability to absorb macronutrient post-operation. This may be further complicated by a reduced intake of food and calorie deficit if the patient has a decreased appetite after surgery.
To prevent the postoperative complication of protein deficiency, it is important you consume a larger quantity of good quality protein to make up for your digestive system’s malabsorption while your body adapts. A protein source with low carbs, low fat, and an adequate amount of fiber can really help bariatric patients after surgery. Healthy protein bars can be a one such source that fits the bill.
In this article, we review the best protein bars for bariatric patients. The table below provides a snapshot of our top selections, and we go into detail about each product below.
Best Recommended Protein Bars for Bariatric Patients
#1 – Quest Nutrition Protein Bar
The Quest Nutrition Protein Bar contains 20 grams of protein in each bar and it is gluten-free.
Features and Benefits
- 12 Protein Bars: A box of Quest Nutrition protein bars contains 12 brownie or chocolate chip cookie dough flavored protein bars.
- Great Flavor: The chocolate brownie protein bar by Quest tastes like a soft brownie fresh from the oven.
- Dairy-Based Protein: The chocolate chip cookie dough protein bars by Quest are entirely made with dairy-based proteins that provide your body with nine essential amino acids. The bar is packed with chocolate chips and has 21-gram protein, 4-gram net carbs, and 1 gram sugar.
- Fiber-Rich Protein Bar: All Quest protein bars have 14 grams of fiber in each bar.
- Sweet Without Added Sugar: These protein bars do not contain any added sugars. You can enjoy the delicious taste of chocolate chips without worrying about sugars.
Why Should You Buy It?
This protein bar is a fiber-rich protein bar with 14 grams of fiber, making it a healthy option for bariatric patients. It is keto-friendly as well.
Why It’s Our Top Choice
The Pure Protein Bars, High Protein, Nutritious Snacks to Support Energy, Low Sugar, Gluten Free, Variety Pack, 1.76 oz (Pack of 18) is our top choice for the best protein bar for bariatric patients because of the following reasons:
- 18 Protein Bars per box.
- Anytime Protein-Rich Snack.
- Pre-workout and Post-workout Fuel.
- Comes in a variety of flavors.
- Also great for building muscle.
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#2 – Pure Protein Bars
The Pure Protein Bars contains 21 grams of protein in each bar. The dimensions of each bar is 9 x 6 x 4.25 inches. These bars are available at a bulk discount price from Costco.
Features and Benefits
- 18 Protein Bars: There are 18 Pure Protein Bars in the Chocolate Variety Pack. Each bar weighs 1.76 ounces.
- Gluten-Free: These Pure protein bars are an excellent combination of high protein and great taste. This chocolate variety pack contains delicious protein bars that have up to 21 grams of protein for quick and sustained energy with only 3 grams of sugar. The protein bar is gluten-free too.
- Anytime Protein-Rich Snack: The Pure protein bars are made to fuel your on-the-go active lifestyle. It is stuffed with a high-quality protein blend for both instantaneous and sustained energy. It is full of flavor as well to satisfy your sweet tooth. This protein bar is perfect to fuel your workout and maintain a nutritious balanced diet.
- Pre-workout & Post-workout Fuel: These protein bars are one of the best protein bars for before or after a workout. You can take a protein bar roughly an hour before a workout to provide yourself the necessary carbs and protein for energy along with lean muscle support. You can also treat yourself with this protein bar after the workout to recharge yourself and help the muscle recovery process.
- Multiple Flavors: The box of Pure protein bars contains three different chocolate flavors including Choc PB, Choc Deluxe, and Chew Choc Chip to satisfy all kinds of your chocolate cravings.
Why should you buy it?
The Pure protein bar is one of the best protein bars for building muscle mass in the market. It comes in three great flavors too.
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#3 – RXBAR Coffee Chocolate Protein Bar
The RXBAR protein bar is gluten-free and contains 12 grams of protein. It comes in 21 other flavors too. With simple packaging and clear descriptions of ingredients, these bars have gained plenty of notoriety since their launch.
Features and Benefits
- High Protein Snack: You can enjoy this snack whenever you want either during breakfast time and lunchtime or as a pre- or post-workout snack.
- Gluten-Free Snack: This protein bar is is a gluten-free snack making it perfect for people who are following the paleo diet. It is a guilt-free snack that you can eat without worrying about gaining weight again. The RXBAR protein bars are a perfect protein bar for a healthy lifestyle.
- Anytime Protein-Packed Fuel: The RXBAR protein bars are an ideal choice as an on-the-go snack, office snack, or just a wholesome treat whenever you are feeling hungry. You can enjoy a bar whenever you feel tired and need a healthy protein-rich snack to munch.
- No Added Sugar: This protein bar does not have any extra added sugars, which makes it a good option for bariatric patients,
- Healthy Ingredients: The coffee-chocolate bar contains Dates, Cashews, Egg Whites, Almonds, Cacao, Coffee, Sea Salt, and Natural Coffee Flavor. The other flavors comes with their own variations of simple, healthy ingredients too.
Why should you buy it?
This protein bar has enough protein to meet your needs, and it does not contain any added sugar. It is an attractive option for bariatric patients.
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#4 – ONE Protein Bars
The ONE Protein Bars contain 20 grams of protein in each bar. Each protein bar weighs 60 grams.
Features and Benefits
- Gluten-Free: This maple glazed doughnut protein bar is gluten-free and tastes as pleasant as it sounds. It contains 20 grams of protein and just 1 gram of sugar, which makes it a complete guilt-free snack.
- Low Sugar: All the flavors of this ONE protein bars from peanut butter chocolate cake to salted caramel, provide you 20 grams of protein and just 1 gram of sugar in each serving making it a guilt-free snack. The gluten-free bars are a perfect snack when your energy is low.
- Great flavor: Even though this protein bar is high in protein and very low in sugar with just one gram of sugar in each bar, it still has a highly indulgent flavor which makes this protein bar a great treat that you will never get tired of eating.
- Ingredients: This protein bar includes multiple healthy ingredients, including Protein Blend, Isomalto-Oligosaccharides (Vegetable Source), Vegetable Glycerin, Polydextrose, Vegetable Oil Blend (Palm, Palm Kernel), Maltitol, Sunflower Seed Butter, Natural Flavors, Soy Lecithin (an Emulsifier), Sea Salt, Maltodextrin, Nonfat Dry Milk, Sunflower Oil, Tapioca Starch, Whey Protein Concentrate, Distilled Monoglycerides, Sucralose, and Calcium Carbonate.
Why should you buy it?
This protein bar has a delicious and sweet flavor and just one gram of sugar. It is a great option for bariatric patients as diabetics alike.
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#5 – Built Bar 18 Pack Protein and Energy Bars
The Built Bar Protein Bars contain 17 gram of protein in each bar and it is gluten-free.
Features and Benefits
- Mixed Box: The mixed box of the Built Bar protein bars contains one bar of each of the following flavors: Coconut, Banana Nut Bread, Cherry Barcia, Orange, Coconut Almond, Peanut Butter Brownie, Salted Caramel, Toffee Almond, Raspberry, Peanut Butter, Double Chocolate, Mint Brownie, German Chocolate, Carrot Cake, Lemon Almond Cheesecake, Cookies ‘N Cream, Apple Almond Crisp, and Caramel Brownie.
- Perfect Texture: Most standard protein bars are gritty, dense, and difficult to chew, but the protein bars by Built Bar are fluffy, light, and covered in excellently tempered exotic chocolate offering the perfect texture, which creates a great eating experience. With every bite you take, you can feel like you are having a chocolate dessert.
- Well-Rounded Protein Bar: This is a well-crafted bar without any coloring, artificial flavoring, or preservatives. The protein bar does not contain any wax or other unwanted junk.
- Anytime Healthy Snack: The protein bar by Built Bar is suitable to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s a high protein and low carb protein bar that is remarkably healthy and also incredibly delicious.
Why should you buy it?
The protein bars by Built Bar contain 18 flavors in a single box with one bar of each flavor, providing you with a lot of variety. It also has one of the smoothest textures compared to other protein bars in this category. If you find a flavor that you enjoy, Built Bar also offers packs of its protein bars in single flavors.
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Buyer’s Guide: Best Protein Bar For Bariatric Patients
As we’re in search for an efficient protein source for post-bariatric surgery, the quality and quantity of protein is something we want to look at. Check whether the bar’s protein sources are suitable for your body. If you are allergic to soy, you will want to avoid soy-based proteins. Gluten-free protein bars are an option for bariatric patients as they tend to be fairly healthy and easy to digest. Generally, protein bars on the market contain anywhere from 15 to 25 grams of protein per bar.
The protein bars with more protein content are generally more expensive but are likely to have a higher balance of protein relative to their sugar content or other fillers. Bars with less protein tend to be less healthy with a higher sugar to protein ratio and tend to be a poorer value when considering how much protein you are getting for its cost. A bar with less than 10 grams of protein may be considered more of a snack bar that contains some protein rather than a dedicated and appropriate , and so you may want to look a healthier bar option with more pure protein.
Low Carbs and Fat
A bariatric protein bar is intended to supplement for protein and can be tasty too, but should ideally be lower in carbs and trans fats so that you are not promoting other health problems for yourself (like raising your blood sugar) on your way to recovery after weight loss surgery.
A simple, self-explanatory factor yet as important as anything other factor to consider. You want a protein source that is healthy and provides plenty of protein. However, you’re much more likely to consume it regularly if you enjoy its taste.
To start off, pick flavors you think you’ll enjoy, and then keep going for those ones once you’ve settled on flavors you like. Many packages have multiple flavors, which are extra convenient, as you won’t have to buy multiple packages to begin with and can try many altogether.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can protein bars replace whole foods?
Protein bars help you feel energized and satiated until your next meal and should not be a . However, over-reliance on protein products like protein bars can mess with your metabolism and can lead to health consequences if it becomes the exclusive protein source in one’s diet. Protein bars can be considered a health supplement, and supplements do not offer as full a nutritional profile as whole foods, so it’s better to use the protein bars only as a snack before or after a meal, and occasionally as a meal when you are on the go or travelling.
Q. What are some other good sources of protein aside from protein bars?
Solid whole proteins like meats and nuts are always an option, but for a patient with malabsorption after bariatric surgery, it may initially be tougher to digest chunks of meat or nuts that are not fully masticated and broken down before the intestines.
With that said, a or is a great choice as it is a blended liquid, and liquid can be absorbed readily and quickly in the intestines. The in shakes can be from that mixed in( is a popular premixed with ), or meat that has been blended in. Blended meat shakes are not universally popular, but they may be worth a try for you (a blended meat shake can be found online).
On the flip side, whey protein powder is widely available and mixes in with water, milk, or milk alternative drinks easily. Thankfully, there is a very large market for whey protein as it is consumed for exercise and by athletes, so there are many good brands to choose from. Some popular whey protein manufacturers include Gold Standard, Muscle Pharm, and Kaizen. We recommend a whey protein with less sugar or .
Speaking of milk, dairy and soy products like yogurt and tofu are a decent source of protein as they are soft and contain moderate amounts of protein.
Q. How can protein deficiency be diagnosed?
In most cases after bariatric surgery, it can be expected that the patient will have some sort of reduced ability to absorb macronutrients while the body adapts to its new digestive system. Your doctor may recommend that you increase your intake of healthy proteins for a while.
Protein deficiency can be diagnosed via blood tests that examine total protein, albumin, and albumin to globulin (A/G) ratio. These blood tests can indicate whether a patient’s protein levels are around optimal or low. If the two liver proteins albumin and globulin are out of balance, this can be an indication for certain organ-related disorders or autoimmunity.
Q. What happens if you do not get the right amount of protein after bariatric surgery?
Your body needs extra protein throughout the period of accelerated weight loss to sustain your muscle mass and maintain your body’s metabolism. Obtaining a sufficient amount of daily protein can becomes significantly tougher after bariatric surgery because alteration of the lower digestive system can temporary reduce ability to absorb such nutrients as protein.
If you have intake an insufficient amount of protein during this period, the body can eventually take its required protein from your muscles to maintain metabolism and body function, potentially leading to muscle atrophy and weakness.
Q. Aside from protein, are there other nutrient deficiencies I should look out for after bariatric surgery?
Accompanying protein malnutrition, patients after bariatric surgery may experience additional macro and micronutrient deficiencies that can lead to diseases like anemia and osteoporosis if not addressed. These nutrient deficiencies often include crucial vitamins and minerals, and may carry over from deficiencies or health conditions prior to surgery. Obese patients prior to surgery may have existing deficiencies of nutrients that notably include vitamin D and iron. For more information, read here.
Consult your physician and perhaps a nutritionist to gain a fuller understanding of what nutritional deficiencies you may need to address after your bariatric operation. Nutrient deficiencies can be monitored via blood test, and an appropriate bariatric diet should be planned for the immediate period after surgery to prevent unwanted complications.
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Parting Words – A Delicious Snack Doubles as Important Supplement
The period immediately following bariatric surgery can be an exciting time for an individual, with promising weight loss following obesity. However, this period should also be closely monitored and planned as the body has just undergone drastic alterations in one of its most important organ systems, that being the digestive system. With potential malabsorption of nutrients and reduced hunger, it is essential that a patient ensures they are intaking enough protein sources so that their body has enough to do maintain its metabolism and do all of its jobs.
These protein sources should be healthy, lean, and quality foods . Protein bars are great as they can serve as a yummy snack and provide a significant intake of protein with each bar. In this article we have reviewed some of the most popular protein bars on the market. Needless to say there are many to choose from.
In our opinion, the Quest Nutrition Chocolate Brownie Protein Bars, High Protein, Low Carb, Gluten Free, Keto Friendly, 12 Count is the best choice among the various options because not only does it come with a good dose of protein, but also comes in great flavours and 14 grams of fiber.
The RXBAR, Coffee Chocolate, Protein Bar, 1.83 Ounce (Pack of 12), High Protein Snack, Gluten Free is our next best choice because it comes in simple packaging with clear ingredients so that you know what you’re getting with each bite. It is a fairly expensive protein bar, however.
If you are looking for a value for money option, you can also consider the Pure Protein Bars, High Protein, Nutritious Snacks to Support Energy, Low Sugar, Gluten Free, Variety Pack, 1.76 oz (Pack of 18), which offers great value and features at a very reasonable price point.
We hope this article helps you out a little bit, and we wish you all the best in your post-operation journey back to health!