Protein is an essential macronutrient for building muscle, supporting metabolism, and keeping you feeling full. For those recovering from bariatric surgery, getting enough high-quality protein from food alone can be challenging. This is where protein waters may help bridge the gap.
So… what exactly is protein water though, and can it help achieve those health goals?
What is Protein Water?
Protein waters, protein-infused waters or protein drinks refer to beverages that have had supplemental protein powder added to regular water. This gives a nutrition boost by increasing the protein content in each serving.
They are essentially water that has been fortified with protein. The amount of protein per serve can range anywhere from 10 to 30 grams.
The most common proteins used in drinks are:
– Whey protein isolate (WPI)
– Whey protein concentrate (WPC)
– Plant-based proteins (soy, pea, rice protein)
Protein powder is soluble, so it blends seamlessly into water without changing the consistency. The protein itself is tasteless, so the waters take on the flavour of any added fruits, tea, or other natural flavours.
Some brands contain extra vitamins, electrolytes, branched-chain amino acids, creatine, or other ergogenic aids. However, the main benefit protein waters provide is the boosted protein content.
Benefits of Protein Water
Increased Protein Intake
The main reason people drink protein waters is the high protein content in each bottle or serve. This can help increase daily protein intake, which is especially beneficial for bariatric patients who need concentrated nutrition.
Protein is vital for preserving lean muscle mass, keeping you feeling fuller for longer between meals, supporting metabolism and recovery from exercise. Protein waters provide an effortless way to supplement your diet with extra protein.
As the name suggests, protein waters provide hydration from the water content. Dehydration is a common risk after bariatric surgery, so sipping these protein drinks can assist with maintaining fluid intake throughout the day.
The water also helps deliver the amino acids and peptides from the protein powder quickly to muscles throughout the body. Staying hydrated improves this delivery, and is a risk for bariatric patients to prioritise post-surgery.
Consuming enough protein is crucial for building muscles. Protein provides amino acids that are the building blocks for maintaining and growing muscle tissue.
Protein waters allow bariatric patients to increase protein consumption even when solid food intake is minimal, making them helpful for preserving lean muscle after surgery.
Research shows protein is the most satiating macronutrient. When protein dissolves in the stomach, it releases hormones that supress appetite which keeps you feeling fuller for longer compared to fats or carbohydrates.
Drinking a protein water between meals or as a snack can increase satiety, curb cravings, and prevent overeating at mealtimes. This is a recommendation for patients to take on board to limit any cravings, or obsessive eating habits.
Supports Exercise Recovery
Protein is vital for repairing exercise-induced muscle damage and building muscle tissues back up stronger after training. Protein waters support workout recovery by supplying muscles with amino acids to optimize repair and growth.
If you are exercising regularly, consuming 20-30 grams of protein post-workout helps maximize results. Protein waters offer a convenient and lighter way to meet these needs.
While offering benefits, there are also some potential downsides to consider:
Pre-made protein waters tend to be quite expensive compared to making your own protein shakes or drinking regular water. Check the price per gram of protein when purchasing protein drinks to ensure you are getting good value.
Added Sugars and Artificial Ingredients
Check the ingredients list of any protein water, as some may contain added sugars, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and other additives you want to avoid. The intake of sugar-based products will cause increased hunger and potential weight gain from excessive consumption for the short term.
Go for unsweetened, all-natural options when possible.
May Cause Digestive Upset
Some people report bloating or an upset stomach after consuming protein shakes, especially whey protein. Start with small amounts of protein water to assess tolerance. Ensure you stay well hydrated.
Contains Animal Products
For vegans or those avoiding dairy, take note that whey and collagen proteins are animal derived. opt for plant-based protein powders instead.
Not Whole Foods
While providing protein, powdered drinks lack the micronutrients, fibre, and structure of whole foods. Focus on getting most nutrition from whole food sources and use supplemental drinks for convenience.
Tips for Choosing a Protein Water product
Follow these tips when selecting protein water:
– Check the ingredients list and nutrition panel. Aim for at least 15-20g protein per serve.
– Look for unsweetened, natural flavours to avoid added sugars.
– Seek non-GMO, antibiotic-free protein sources when possible.
– opt for protein from collagen, whey, egg white, soy, or pea instead of cheaper milk protein concentrate.
– Avoid protein waters with many added vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other extras you do not need. Simple is best!
– Look for recyclable, BPA-free packaging.
DIY Protein Waters
While ready-to-drink protein waters are convenient, you can also easily make your own at home!
Simply mix protein powder into water, add your desired fruits or flavours, shake, or stir to combine et voila – you have a homemade protein water!
This allows you to control the ingredients, tailor flavours to your tastes and adjust protein amounts to meet your needs. You will also save money compared to pre-made options.
Try these delicious recipes:
Berry Protein Water
– 1 scoop unflavoured whey protein
– 1 cup water
– 1/2 cup mixed berries
Orange Creamsicle Protein Water
– 1 scoop BN Slim vanilla whey protein
– 1 cup water
– 1/2 orange, juiced
Matcha Protein Water
– 1 scoop unflavoured whey protein
– 1 cup water
– 1 tsp matcha powder
Protein waters can be a useful addition after bariatric surgery to increase protein intake from liquid nutrition sources. Choose the high-quality, all-natural drink options or easily make your own at home.
Focus on getting most nutrition from whole foods and use protein waters moderately as a supplemental drink when needed to support your health goals.
Explore the benefits of protein water in our newsletters to further discover the best options for you, and even try your hand at crafting our delicious DIY protein water recipes at home.
Your path to a healthier you start here!