Why Nutrition is Key After Bariatric Surgery

By Carielle Nikkel, MS, RDN

If you are wondering why nutrition is key after bariatric surgery, keep reading

Success after bariatric surgery is dependent on several factors including diet, exercise, and overall lifestyle. Your body’s gone through a few physiological changes that affect your nutrient absorption. So implementing a diet rich in protein, fruits, and vegetables will be very important. Daily vitamins and supplements will also be helpful in preventing nutrient deficiencies.

Although gastric bypass and duodenal switch surgeries have greater risk for malabsorption, gastric sleeve and band surgeries can also leave you with nutrition deficiencies. There are a couple of reasons why: patients eat less than they used to, and they don’t absorb as much because of the physiological changes in their body. Some of the most common deficiencies after surgery are protein, iron, vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin K.

So, you’ll want to get these nutrients in daily:


It can be difficult to consume the recommended amount of protein every day after surgery, so a lot of people supplement with protein powder. You can also go for high-protein foods like eggs, meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products like cottage cheese and yogurt. Tofu, soymilk, nuts, and nut butters are some great vegan sources. To make sure you’re getting these in your diet, it can be helpful to consume them before other foods on your plate. UCSFhealth.org recommends at least 65-75 grams of protein daily after surgery.

Why Nutrition is Key After Bariatric Surgery protein


Red meat is high in iron, but post-op it can be hard to tolerate. That’s why iron supplements are usually recommended, especially for menstruating women. Other foods moderately high in iron include beans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, tofu, dark leafy greens, prunes, and dark chocolate.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is one of the most common deficiencies after bariatric surgery because the alteration of digestive tracts interferes with absorption. But you can get it from animal products including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy.

Why Nutrition is Key After Bariatric Surgery Vitamin b12


Calcium deficiency is also very common. 1200mg-1500mg is the typical daily recommendation, of which you can get from dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese, almonds, broccoli, kale, and beans.

Why Nutrition is Key After Bariatric Surgery- Calcium

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is made from healthy bacteria in the gut, but it gets compromised after bariatric surgery. Not obtaining enough can lead to bone problems such as osteoporosis. Some vitamin K-rich foods include green leafy vegetables like kale and chard. It’s also found in fish, fermented cheeses, meat, and eggs.

As much as we’d like to do our best getting nutrients straight from the source, it can be rather difficult. So Persona offers doctor-approved, personalized Bariatric supplements based on your type of surgery and lifestyle, delivered to your door. Their recommendations meet the guidelines of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and they cross-check your medications against a database of over 850 medications to ensure there are no drug-nutrient interactions. To start  your program today, visit: https://www.personanutrition.com/products/bariatric-vitamins/

If you’re looking for the highest quality vitamin and mineral supplements, personalized for you, please go to www.personanutrition.com and take their online nutrition questionnaire, providing individualized vitamin and mineral recommendations. Take advantage of their knowledge and use it to your health’s benefit.

Sources for Why Nutrition is Key After Bariatric Surgery:

  1. Vitamin B12 Deficiency Can Be Sneaky. Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/vitamin-b12-deficiency-can-be-sneaky-harmful-201301105780 Accessed October 31, 2018.
  2. Bavaresco M, Paganini S, Lima TP, Salgado W Jr, Ceneviva R, Dos Santos JE, Nonino-Borges CB. Nutritional Course of Patients Submitted to Bariatric Surgery. Obes Surg. 2010 Jun;20(6):716-21.
  3. Vitamin B-12. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-b12/art-20363663 Accessed October 31, 2018.
  4. ASMBS American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Estimate of Bariatric Surgery Numbers, 2011-2017. https://asmbs.org/resources/estimate-of-bariatric-surgery-numbers. Accessed October 31 2018.
  5. Andrès E, Loukili NH, Noel E, et al. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency in elderly patients. CMAJ. 2004;171(3):251-9.
  6. Peterson LA, Zeng X, Caufield-noll CP, Schweitzer MA, Magnuson TH, Steele KE. Vitamin D status and supplementation before and after bariatric surgery: a comprehensive literature review. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2016;12(3):693-702.
  7. Life After Bariatric Surgery. UCSF Medical Center. https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/life_after_bariatric_surgery/. Accessed March 15, 2019.

This information (Why Nutrition is Key After Bariatric Surgery) is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment.

Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article (Why Nutrition is Key After Bariatric Surgery)

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