Alcohol Intake and Bariatric Surgery

alcohol and bariatric surgeryIn many cultures, alcohol is a central part of life. Many adults drink socially at special events, dinners out, or casually around the home. However, alcohol and bariatric surgery do not necessarily go hand in hand. While alcohol is not generally linked to dangerous conditions when consumed moderately and responsibly, use after surgery can have significant negative effects. If you are used to alcohol consumption at any level, it may be necessary to adapt your habits both before and after undergoing a surgical weight loss procedure.

Your Diet After Weight Loss Surgery

Bariatric surgery changes the size of your stomach, strongly impacting how you can eat and what you can eat. Patients fully recovered from surgery are limited to small portions, protein-heavy diets, and a reduced intake of foods with high carb and sugar contents. In addition, beverages must be consumed at least one to two hours after eating; when food and drink are enjoyed simultaneously, beverages may fill up the stomach prematurely in a way that can increase malnutrition risks. As such, diets should be planned very carefully, focusing on nutrient-rich dishes rather than filling yet unbeneficial substances, like alcohol.

Alcohol and Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery stimulates weight loss by reducing the size of a patient’s stomach, leading to a smaller appetite and an inability to eat large, unhealthy meals. This change to your body’s biology can radically alter how different substances are processed and absorbed, including alcohol. A study that evaluated blood alcohol content before and after surgery found that a single glass of red wine that caused a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .024% prior to surgery resulted in a BAC of .059% three months after surgery and .088% six months after surgery. A drink that may not have registered before surgery could be dangerous after surgery, especially as the body changes throughout the healing process.

Can I Keep Drinking Alcohol?

Even if you only drink socially on special occasions, alcohol use is not suggested after bariatric surgery. Alcohol contains empty calories with little nutritional benefit, filling your stomach with the wrong things without leaving room for the right ones. One glass may be all it takes to put your blood alcohol content over the legal limit. Bariatric surgery patients who do choose to drink on occasion should not drive after doing so, and should significantly limit intake, regardless of previous tolerance.

The lifestyle changes that accompany bariatric surgery, like a reduction or cessation of alcohol consumption, may not be easy, but they are necessary to ensure a healthy recovery and a healthy life. If you would like more information about alcohol and bariatric surgery or would like to learn more about weight loss surgery and what Olde Del Mar Surgical can do for you, register for an online seminar or call at 858-457-4917 today to explore what we have to offer.

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