How To Select a Protein Powder

Where possible, it is best to meet your protein requirement with whole food. This provides your body with a combination of beneficial nutrients, rather than just protein. However, it can be challenging to reach your protein requirement in the early stages following weight loss surgery as you can only eat small amounts and may not tolerate all food textures. For some people, these challenges may continue longer term. If you struggle to meet your protein requirement from food, a protein powder can be an effective way to increase your overall protein intake. When using a protein powder, we suggest you limit your intake to a maximum of 30g of protein from a supplement each day.

How To Select a Protein Powder

The nutritional value of a protein depends on the amino acid profile and its digestibility. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and fall into two categories; essential and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be made by our body, so it is important to obtain them through the food we eat. The more essential amino acids that a protein contains (there are nine in total), the higher the nutritional value of that protein. Protein from animal sources such as eggs, dairy, meat, fish and poultry contain more essential amino acids than plant based sources, and are therefore more easily digested. Below we provide selection criteria for both the higher quality, animal based powders and the vegetarian or vegan plant based powders.


Whey Protein Isolates

Whey protein isolates contain all nine essential amino acids. In addition to this, research suggests that a particular amino acid, leucine, has an important role in stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Whey protein is rich in leucine and is also rapidly digested. Whey protein isolates, or WPIs, are therefore considered a superior form of protein.

When choosing a WPI, look for those that include:

  • At least 85-90g of protein per 100g
  • Less than 2g of fat per 100g
  • Less than 2g of sugar per 100g.

Our top picks for unflavoured whey protein isolate powders include:

You can also use the above criteria to choose flavoured WPI powders. Our top picks for flavoured WPI powders include the following and each variety has multiple flavours available:

  • Bare Blends WPI
  • BN PurePro WPI
  • Bulk Nutrients WPI
  • Cyborg Sport WPI
  • Protein Supplies Australia WPI
  • True WPI 90

Note: Vanilla flavour was used for comparison with criteria.



Whilst collagen has been increasing in popularity, it has long been considered an inferior form of protein as it lacks tryptophan, one of the nine essential amino acids, meaning it is not considered a ‘complete’ protein. However, collagen supplements mix very well and tend to be gentle on the stomach, making them well tolerated. This has led to their increased popularity among the weight loss surgery community. Pleasingly however, a product has been developed which not only mixes easily and is well tolerated, but it has had tryptophan, the missing essential amino acid added during manufacture, therefore making it ‘complete’. We highly recommend this now ‘complete’ collagen product, Tasteless Protein Collagen by Feel Good Protein, and it is available via our online store.

One thing to note is that true collagen powders are always derived from animal sources. Vegan collagen supplements are not made from collagen, but rather contain ingredients that aim to support your body’s natural collagen production. In this case, it is preferable to select a vegan friendly option listed below to help increase your protein intake.

When choosing a collagen powder, again look for those that include at least 85-90g of protein per 100g.

Our top picks for collagen powders are:

  • Feel Good Tasteless Collagen Powder
  • Bulk Nutrients Hydrolised Collagen Peptides
  • Protein Supplies Australia Pure Collagen Peptides
  • My Protein Collagen Protein
  • True Collagen Hydrolised protein.


Egg White Protein

Egg albumin, or egg white protein, is another high quality protein source containing all essential amino acids. It is therefore a great option for those who find the taste of whey protein isolate off putting.

When selecting an egg white powder, look for those that include over 80g protein per 100g.

Examples of egg white protein powders include:

  • Protein Supplies Australia Paleo Pro Complete Protein
  • U Protein Egg White Protein Powder
  • Naked Egg White Protein Powder.


Soy Protein

Of the plant proteins, soy protein isolates are high quality and well absorbed. Although it is considered a complete protein it is lower in leucine when compared to a whey protein. There is some evidence to suggest that women with existing or previous breast cancer should be cautious in consuming large quantities of soy foods.

When selecting a soy protein powder, look for those that include over 80g protein per 100g.

Examples of such soy proteins include:

  • Bulk Nutrients Soy Protein (natural soy protein isolate)
  • Bulk Powders (BP) Soy Protein Powder Raw
  • My Vegan Soy Protein Isolate.


Pea and Rice Based Protein Powders

For those unable to tolerate dairy, egg or soy based powders, or those looking for a vegan alternative, a pea or brown rice based protein powder is a great option. As they are plant based, they do lack a range of essential amino acids, however mixing the two varieties together improves their nutritional profile and provides a complete protein source.

When selecting a pea and rice based protein powder, look for those that include over 80g protein per 100g.

Examples of such powders include:

  • Bare Blends Plant Protein (Cacao + Cinnamon, Vanilla and Coconut)
  • Vegan 85 Protein Blend.


Seed Based Protein Powders

Seed-based protein powders such as hemp, chia and flax provide nutty flavours and a gritty texture, but unfortunately are of a lower protein quality. It is preferable to opt for one of the above varieties.

The above information is taken from our Weight Loss Surgery Protein Planner. If you want to take the guesswork out of planning your protein intake following weight loss surgery, be sure to check it out.

Protein Powder and Weight Loss Surgery

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