The Bariatric Food Pyramid – A Visual Tool for Long-Term Success

Bariatric surgery encompasses several surgical techniques classified as restrictive or malabsorptive, based on the main mechanism of weight loss. Clinical studies and meta-analyses show that bariatric surgery decreases morbidity and mortality when compared with nonsurgical treatments. A successful long-term outcome of bariatric surgery is dependent on the patient’s commitment to a lifetime of dietary and lifestyle changes. The surgery is considered a tool that is most successful when combined with a change in diet and exercise routines. The changes caused by surgical intervention require stringent adherence to diet guidelines to obtain adequate nutrition. While your surgeon will equip you with diets and programs necessary for your post surgical needs, a long term nutritional plan for lifelong maintenance is vital.

Based on the current knowledge of dietary strategies and behaviors associated with beneficial long-term nutritional outcomes in post-bariatric surgery patients, researchers have developed a “bariatric food pyramid”, that can be used as a teaching tool and reminder to patients.


Image from Obesity Surgery Violeta Moize

For those of you who have undergone bariatric surgery, you know your daily food consumption differs from others; meeting your nutritional requirements requires a change in thinking to avoid any nutritional deficiencies.

A few quick tips from the bariatric food pyramid are as follows:

Everyday Items

  • Calcium & Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Multi Vitamin and Multi Mineral
  • Vitamin B 12
  • Fluids – preferably water
  • Exercise


  • High protein
  • low fat
  • 4-6 servings a day – see pyramid for portion guidelines

High Fiber, Low Calorie

  • Vegetables
  • low sugar fruits
  • high sugar fruits
  • Vegetable oils
  • 2-3 servings a day – see pyramid for portion guidelines

 Whole Grains & Cereals

  • Cereals
  • Legumes
  • Tubers
  • 2 servings a day – see pyramid for portion guidelines

Pyramid Tip (Basically foods to avoid)

  • high saturated and trans fat foods
  • high sugar foods
  • carbonated and/or alcoholic beverages

Given the nature of the operation and the physiological demands of this very special patient population, it is not surprising that there is a strong focus on high-quality protein, balanced with nutrient-dense complex carbohydrates and healthy sources of essential fatty acids. Hopefully this tool will help both therapists and patients better understand nutrition recommendations for a healthy long-term post-op diet.

Read more online at:

If you are in the Las Vegas area and considering bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his team of experts with help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.

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