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Options to Replace Sweet Protein Drinks After Gastric Sleeve

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Avoiding Sweet Protein Drinks Post WLS

Question by a post-op gastric sleeve patient

I am tired of sweet protein drinks. What can I have instead?

Our bariatric nutritionist answers:

Artificial Sweetners to Avoid

It is common to either have an aversion to sweets after surgery or get tired of the same protein drink flavors.

Reading labels and avoiding artificial sweeteners may help in alleviating some of those sweet aversions. Here’s a small video on how to read food labels effectively.


Some artificial sweeteners

  • Saccharin
  • Sucralose
  • Acesulfame potassium
  • Aspartame
  • Neotame
  • Stevia
  • Sorbitol
  • Mannitol
  • Maltitol
  • Xylitol
  • Erythritol

Tips to use protein powders

  1. Don’t use sweeteners like sugar alcohols. They can cause physical intolerances such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
  2. Be non-conventional and add protein powder to other foods as well. Vanilla and unflavored powders are the best for this.
  3. Add a couple of teaspoons or a tablespoon of vanilla protein powder to hot cereal, yogurt, pudding, or smoothies.
  4. Unflavored protein powders are great additives to stir into cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, soup/stews, and casseroles.
One product that I really like is called UNJURY®. Along with traditional protein powder flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, they also have chicken soup and an unflavored version, both of which are generally well-tolerated by patients.

How to avoid commercial powders

  • Make your own protein drink or smoothie with plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.


Video: Whole Food Smoothie after WLS
  • Use fruit as a great natural sweetener or creamy peanut butter for a less sweet and more savory flavor.
  • Fruit gives you additional vitamins, minerals, and fiber,
  • Peanut or nut butter can have additional protein, fiber, vitamins/minerals, and heart-healthy fats as well.

Updated on November 2, 2020

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