Because your stomach is so much smaller after surgery, meals must be consumed in smaller proportions. Most doctors recommend eating three small meals per day that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Sugary or very fatty foods should be avoided. Other habits and foods can lead to overfilled stomachs, as well. Patients should try not to snack between meals or drink during or immediately after eating. Additionally, gas bubbles from carbonated or sweetened drinks may put the stomach at risk and should be cut from your diet. While you eat, it is important to slow down. Chewing thoroughly and consuming thoughtfully can make you more aware of how much you have eaten.
While much of your dietary changes will involve downsizing, bariatric surgery can affect your ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients from food. Thus patients must also add supplements to combat potential deficiencies. Certain nutritional supplements can help to maintain normal micronutrient levels. Additionally, while you should limit what you drink during and after meals, you need to consume at least six cups of fluid each day to keep hydrated. Doctors will typically recommend high-protein liquid supplements, skim milk, and sugar-free or non-carbonated beverages.
Adjusting to an exercise regimen can be especially difficult. Prior to surgery, many patients have led sedentary lifestyles, often because of related conditions. For this reason, it is important to begin with a gentle exercise routine, such as walking, shortly after surgery. In the months after your surgery, your doctor can guide your transition to more comprehensive exercise routines. These typically involve cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and stretching. For the best results, your routine should last at least 30 minutes and be repeated several times each week.
Smoking and alcohol consumption can often lead to weight gain and other health complications. Most surgeons require a psychological evaluation that addresses this concern before approving a patient for surgery. These healthy habits are one of the most important changes you will need to commit to. If addiction is an issue, the dramatic after-effects following the procedure can make recovery all the more difficult.
Understanding the Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Bariatric Surgery
Due to the changes to the digestive system, patients feel the effects of alcohol much more strongly, and consequently, should eliminate it from their diet completely. The team at Tijuana Bariatrics can help patients understand the interaction between alcohol and bariatric surgery and help them prepare for this change.
The Increased Effects of Alcohol after Surgery
By physically shrinking the stomach, bariatric surgery often leaves patients considerably more sensitive to alcohol. Since it does not need to be digested, alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream much faster than most foods or liquids. In fact, a small portion of it is absorbed directly through the stomach, rather than in the intestine.
When a pre-bariatric patient consumes alcohol, the stomach produces an enzyme which helps to break down the fluid before it enters the bloodstream, diminishing the effects. However, since a majority of the stomach is removed in many bariatric surgeries, post-bariatric patients produce much less of this enzyme. Consequently, their blood alcohol levels are much higher than in non-bariatric patients who have consumed the same amount of alcohol
Further enhancing the problem is that food slows gastric emptying, and therefore reduces alcohol absorption. But it has been found that many gastric bypass patients follow the restriction of no eating while drinking, which causes alcohol to be absorbed even faster. This effect of alcohol is particularly exacerbated during the rapid weight loss period, immediately after their surgery. Additionally, certain surgeries, such as gastric bypass, can further intensify the sensitivity.