Objective The effects of food tolerance (if any) on diet quality several years post-surgery remain unclear. Our study aimed to assess food tolerance and diet quality after three bariatric procedures; adjustable gastric banding (AGB), sleeve gastrectomy (SG) and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGBP), 2–4 years post-surgery. Methods This prospective, cross-sectional study assessed weight loss, food tolerance and diet quality in 130 subjects (14 obese pre-surgical controls, 13 AGB, 62 SG and 41 RYGBP). Inclusion criteria selected patients who underwent bariatric surgery between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2008, at a single bariatric clinic. Non-parametric tests (Kruksal–Wallis and Mann–Whitney) along with Spearman's correlation coefficient analysis were used. Results Superior food tolerance was reported by the control (24.5), SG (24.0) and RYGBP (22.0) groups, compared with the AGB group (15.5; P < 0.001). The control and AGB groups consumed significantly more high-calorie extra foods (9.2 and 7.7 daily serves respectively) compared with the SG (3.4 serves) and RYGBP (4.0 serves) groups. There were several significant correlations between food tolerance and dietary intake including breads and cereals and meat and meat alternatives. Conclusion The control and AGB groups consumed significantly more high-calorie extra foods, a result that was paralleled by poor weight loss and food tolerance outcomes for the AGB group. A significant positive relationship between food tolerance and diet quality was established. Poor food tolerance and thus compromised diet quality need to be considered as post-surgical complications of the AGB procedure.