Vegan After Weight Loss Surgery

The Physicians Committee

Connect with Us

Find Us on Facebook

subscribe to the exam room in itunessubscribe to the exam room on stitcher subscribe to the exam room on Google play

Chuck Carroll exam room podcast host
Chuck Carroll
Chuck shed 265 pounds by conquering food addiction and devoting himself to a healthier lifestyle! Eight years later, he’s maintaining the weight loss by eating a plant-based diet. Going vegan once seemed unthinkable to Chuck, but now it’s going back to eating processed meat and dairy that would be inconceivable.

Neal Barnard M.D.
Neal Barnard, M.D.
Dr. Neal Barnard, a real-life rock star and authority on plant-based living, motivates and inspires both new vegans and those who have been plant-powered for life.

weight loss surgery

Vegan After Weight Loss Surgery

Every year tens of thousands of people living with morbid obesity turn to weight loss surgery in hopes of finding a solution to a problem that is not only threatening their quality of life, but life itself. Regardless of the type of bariatric procedure they elect to undergo, each patient is tasked with navigating a new nutritional course. Their journey will extend beyond simply making healthier food choices. Most will be tasked with rediscovering their body’s relationship with food—how it is tolerated and more importantly, how it is digested.

Nutrient deficiencies can be a common problem for post-op patients due to the reduced stomach capacity. Additionally, in some procedures such as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), the surgeon will reroute a newly created stomach pouch (often the size of a golf ball) to bypass a portion of the small intestine. It is in the bypassed portion of the small intestine that vitamins and nutrients would have experienced the highest rates of absorption. 

Little research has been done on the effect of countering malabsorption with a nutrient-dense, whole-food, plant-based diet. And that is what we will explore on this episode. 

Chuck Carroll lost 265 pounds after undergoing RYGB in the fall of 2009 and has kept off every pound. It wasn’t until years later that he switched to a plant-based diet after discovering the vast health benefits it provides. The dietary change also led to an additional 15-pound weight loss.

With the assistance of Stephen Neabore, M.D., and Aly Luning, R.D., C.S.O.W.M., from the Barnard Medical Center, Chuck had his nutrient levels thoroughly examined through a series of blood tests. On this episode, the trio explore the results, which you can download below, and examine the effect of a whole-food, plant-based diet on a post-op bariatric patient.

Is it possible to go vegan following weight loss surgery? The answer is a resounding yes, according to Chuck and Dr. Neabore and Luning. Their consensus is shared by bariatric surgeon and plant-based advocate Garth Davis, M.D.

On The Show

The Results Are In… Chuck’s Bloodwork: Download the blood results.

Plant-Based Weight Loss Surgeon: Dr. Garth Davis joins Chuck to discuss how he introduces his bariatric surgery patients to plant-based diets and the results that he’s witnessed from the thousands of procedures he’s performed. According to Davis, there is a major difference between those who adopt a plant-based diet following the procedure and those who do not. 

Vegan Post-Op Menu: Long before undergoing the procedure, weight loss surgery patients are given strict dietary menus to follow as they progress through the recovery process. Luning, who has a background working with bariatric patients, has created a seven-day, plant-based menu to compare to the traditional menu that is distributed.


post-op traditional menu


post-op vegan menu

Why Wait? Chuck and Aly discuss the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet immediately following surgery and hypothesize doing so can help combat food addiction.