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Product Review: Bariatric Advantage Calcium Citrate Chewy Bites 500 (Pineapple-Mango flavor)

When I think of vitamin companies that have been around, reliably, since I was a new post-op, Bariatric Advantage is one of only a few companies that comes to mind. In the interest of full disclosure, I buy their products all the time. I also grab as many as they’ll let me get my grubby hands on at OAC Convention!

Why? Well…there seem to be a million and two bariatric vitamin companies these days. And I believe that’s good. However, since there’s nobody out here regulating bariatric vitamin companies, not every vitamin is a good vitamin.

I’ve learned in years past it’s not just what’s in a vitamin, but also how it’s made, where it’s made and how the ingredients work together. There are a handful of companies out here that devote a lot of effort to not only ensuring their offerings are created to work uniquely to the benefit of bariatric patients, but also to communicating their standards in a transparent way.

Bariatric Advantage is one of those companies. And for that, I am thankful!

With that said, let’s jump into this product review.

Calcium Citrate Chewy Bite 500 (Pineapple-Mango flavor): What the hell is it?

I feel like calcium has a few main ways it can be made. It can be made into a swallow pill, of course. But those tend to be huge (or, in the case of Citrical Petites, they are not huge but you have to take more than one to get your recommended dosage). They can also be made into a dry chewable (and that’s usually my favorite way to take them) and also a chewy bite.

With chewy bites, for me, two things are essential: quality and flavor. We’ll get to flavor in a moment, but first, let’s talk about quality.

The Pineapple-Mango chewy bite is one of TEN flavor options they carry. Ten. Wow. I’m going to resist a “when I was a new post-op…” moment there and just say that’s a lot.

Each bite has 15 calories, 0.5g fat, 4g carbohydrates, 2g sugar alcohol (maltitol) and no protein. It contains sucralose, which is the base ingredient for Splenda, and also contains soy.

So far as micro-nutrients, let’s turn to the Bariatric Advantage website:

Bariatric Advantage® Calcium Citrate Chewy Bite 500 is specially formulated for metabolic and bariatric patients. ASMBS guidelines call for 1,200-1,500 mg of calcium per day for most metabolic and bariatric surgery patients except Biliopancreatic Diversion Duodenal Switch (BPD-DS) patients, for whom the recommendation is 1,800-2,400 mg per day.

Bariatric Advantage® Calcium Citrate Chewy Bite 500 delivers 500 mg of calcium as calcium citrate.

Calcium citrate:

  • Can be taken with or without food
  • Does not require stomach acid for absorption
  • Is better absorbed than calcium carbonate, and is recommended for metabolic and bariatric patients
  • Delivers 500 IU of vitamin D3, which is required for calcium absorption
  • Vitamin D3 is the clinically preferred form for metabolic and bariatric patients

This all agrees with what I’ve been taught about the kind of calcium I should take, and the amounts I should take. So quality-wise, we’re looking good.

But how does it taste? Let’s find out.

The Taste

So chewy bites aren’t my absolute favorite thing. I don’t hate them. Chewy stuff just isn’t what I go gaga over. In that scenario, taste is of paramount importance.

You may be surprised to know that of all the types of flavors chewy bites come in, I’m most fond of fruity flavors. Again, just my preference! I’d choose a fruity flavor over a creamy chew bite (like caramel or chocolate) any day.

I love pineapples. And I even like pineapple flavored stuff. Mangoes? I’m sort of ambivalent about them. There are very specific situations when I crave them. Like…it’s 100 degrees and I want a slushie so I dice up some mango and throw it in a blender with some ice, lemon juice and unflavored protein powder.

Yummmmmm.

Anyway, this vitamin impressed me a little. You really do get a very true pineapple flavor. It’s not artificial. I even picked up that sort of rind-y flavor that lingers from the skin of the pineapple. The mango flavor was pretty legit also. There’s this…aftertaste…in mango…that after 30+ years of eating them, I haven’t decided whether I like or not. But it’s in there. I was impressed!

The one thing I was looking for in trying this vitamin was the “brightness” of the fruit flavor. You see, fruit flavors can either be flat or bright in my world. Bright means there is enough acidity to make the fruit taste fruity (and usually this is achieved with a bit of lemon juice). Flat is when you do not do that and it’s just a dull sweetness that leaves you wish you’d eaten something, anything else!

I think owing to the fact that pineapple is a citrus (read: acidic) fruit, the flavor was very bright! It was kind of like a Starburst (except I personally have never tasted a Pineapple-Mango Starburst, nor do I even know if such exists).

All in all, I liked it very much! And I’ve been using it too. I usually take a variety of types of calcium to get to my daily dosage (I am aim for 1,500 mg a day). It’s been easy to work these into my routine. Even though I don’t have to take it with a meal, I usually do (mostly because that’s the most effective time for me to remember to take vitamins) and I usually do it as that one sweet bite after my meal to cleanse my palate.

The Cost

The Calcium Citrate Chewy Bites 500 are sold on the Bariatric Advantage website in bags of 90 chews (so about a one-month supply if you were taking them for all your calcium doses each day) for $33.95, which comes out to about $0.37 per chew.

Like I said, I mix and match my calcium throughout the day. I don’t take any one product for all my doses. This is as much for variety as it is for cost. I mix over-the-counter calcium (approved by my surgeon) with bariatric “treat” vitamins like this one.

All that is to say the price seems reasonable to me, not only because I trust the quality of Bariatric Advantage’s products, but also because it would not be a monthly purchase for me. A bag lasts me more like two months because I diversify!

But what say you? How do you determine value for bariatric vitamins? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

And be sure to check out this, and many other wonderful bariatric products, on the Bariatric Advantage website!