The effect of additional protein on lean body mass preservation in post-bariatric surgery patients: a systematic review

M.M. Romeijn*, D.D.B. Holthuijsen, A.M. Kolen, L. Janssen, G. Schep, F.M.H. van Dielen, W.K.G. Leclercq

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Background As result of bariatric surgery, patients are susceptible to protein deficiency which can result in undesirable lean body mass (LBM) loss. Consumption of high-protein diets or supplements could counteract this, but evidence about the effect is scarce. This paper systematically reviewed the literature to determine the effect of additional protein intake (>= 60 g/day) on LBM preservation in post-bariatric patients. Methods An electronic search of PubMed, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library was conducted. Studies were included if patients received a high-protein diet or protein supplements for at least one month, and LBM was assessed. The primary outcome was difference in mean LBM loss between the experimental (protein) and control group. Secondary outcomes were differences in body fat mass, total body water, body mass index and resting metabolic rate. Results Two of the five included studies (n = 223) showed that consumption of proteins resulted in significant LBM preservation. Only one study reported a significant difference in the reduction of body fat mass and resting metabolic rate in favour of a high-protein diet, but none of the studies showed a significant difference in total body water loss or body mass index change between the two groups. Conclusions This paper showed inconclusive evidence for LBM preservation due to protein supplementation or a high-protein diet in post-bariatric patients. This outcome might be subjected to certain limitations, including a lack of blinding and a low compliance rate reported in the included studies. More specific and personalized recommendations regarding protein intake may need to be established by high quality research. Studies investigating the quantity (g/day) and quality (whey, casein or soy) of proteins are also needed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number27
Number of pages9
JournalNutrition Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2021


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Body composition
  • Lean body mass
  • Protein intake
  • Systematic review

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