Caffeine & Alcohol After Bariatric Surgery: What You Need to Know

Drinking caffeine and alcohol after bariatric surgery

At VIDA Wellness and Beauty Center, we firmly believe that it’s important for bariatric patients to understand the changes they have to make after weight loss surgery and how their bodies will respond to common foods and drinks, such as alcohol and caffeine. Since we often get the question “Can I drink coffee and alcohol after Bariatric Surgery?”, we want to help answer your questions regarding these two common beverages, and help you feel better prepared for your post-bariatric life.

The first thing we always remind our patients is that there’s no better way to help your body heal and make the most of a bariatric surgery than by watching your Eating and Drinking Habits. Sometimes, it’s the little things you have to consider the most in order to take care of yourself post-op. While we talk about all things alcohol, caffeine, and bariatric surgery, we’ll explain how to handle this better following your procedure.

 

Can You Drink Coffee After Bariatric Surgery?

The short answer is no. Our surgeons advise patients to avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks after their surgery. However, we don’t believe in just saying ‘no’ to our patients, because we understand how drinking coffee and tea is normal for everybody. We want to help you understand why you should avoid caffeine after bariatric surgery:

  • Bariatric surgery changes the way your body digests food and drinks. Some of the surgeries are malabsorptive, which means they limit the vitamins and nutrients your body absorbs. Since we need to prioritize proper nutrient absorption, avoiding caffeine is the best idea. Caffeine makes nutrient absorption more challenging for your body, and being a bariatric patient means having to pay special attention to this!
  • Caffeine also increases digestive issues such as diarrhea and gastric reflux. While these are uncomfortable for the general population, they can create serious after-surgery complications for bariatric patients.
  • Caffeinated drinks are acidic, which can irritate your stomach. Following bariatric surgery, it’s important to avoid irritating foods to avoid gas and vomit.
  • Caffeine is a diuretic. Drinking too much caffeine increases urination, which can lead to dehydration. Following any surgery, you don’t want to risk dehydration!

Don’t ignore caffeine in other types of beverages. Apart from coffee, pay attention to the labels on drinks such as teas, flavored waters, sodas, energy drinks, and protein shakes.

Here is what you can do instead: drink water and natural fruit water. Our patients have loved infusing water with fruits like berries and peaches! If you want a hot drink in the morning, ask your surgeon for a recommendation for naturally caffeine-free herbal infusions. Weeks after the surgery, you may have a chat with your surgeon and explore the possibility of having a cup (8 oz) of decaf coffee in the morning.

 

Alcohol after Bariatric Surgery

If you are having bariatric surgery, the way your body reacts to alcohol will change as well. While having a glass of wine with dinner or a couple of beers on a hot summer afternoon may be normal for you, your ‘normal’ will change after weight-loss surgery. When our patients ask: ‘Can you drink alcohol after a gastric sleeve or a gastric bypass?’ The short answer is ‘not for now.’

While you are actively trying to lose weight, the first 10 to 18 months after the surgery, you should avoid alcohol completely. After this period of fast adjustments to your body, our surgeons don’t expect you to eliminate alcohol entirely from your diet, but we do remind you that it’s best to limit your consumption as much as possible.

Drinking Alcohol After Bariatic Surgery

Drinking alcohol after bariatric surgery won’t be the same as it was before and the damaging effects alcohol has on your body are only worsened, here is why:

  • While different bariatric procedures help weight loss at different levels, they all have something in common: a change in your gastro-intestinal tract which means that will pass faster to the intestinal part and get absorbe faster means that you won’t be able to metabolize alcohol as well, and you will get drunk considerably faster.
  • In most surgeries, a portion of your small intestine is bypassed, and this is where most alcohol absorption happens. Since the function of your intestine is modified after the surgery, your system will absorb more alcohol, instead of breaking it down.
  • Alcohol is caloric! Once you’ve gone through surgery, you need to eat healthy. Alcohol contains no nutrients and most drinks, especially darker alcohols, are full of sugar. Mixed drinks and cocktails are basically a sugar-loaded dessert in a glass. These can be counterproductive to your healthy diet.
  • Alcohol can cause dehydration too.

So, after having bariatric surgery, before having a drink or a cup of coffee, ask yourself: are the calories worth it? How will I feel after drinking this? Will my body benefit from this drink? If you have any doubts regarding alcohol, caffeine or your diet after bariatric surgery, don’t wait and contact VIDA Bariatrics at 1 (619) 610-1667.  Our surgeon’s are here to support you and help you have a balanced diet that you can incorporate into your routine. We’ll gladly help answer all your questions!

DR. GABRIELA RODRIGUEZ RUIZ MD Ph.D. FACS

Dr. Gabriela Rodriguez specializes in General and Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery. She brings to VIDA Wellness and Beauty a wealth of experience in bariatrics. Dr. Rodriguez is a founding associate of the Mexican College of General Surgeons. A world-class bariatric surgeon with double certification in the US and Mexico.