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Gastric Sleeve Surgery and Alcoholic Beverages: What Patients Should Know

By Fernando Garcia on July 28, 2014

A drinking cup full of beerPatients who visit Dr. Fernando Garcia in Tijuana will receive ample information on what life is like after they undergo weight loss surgery. Even safe, low-maintenance weight loss procedures like gastric sleeve surgery will involve changes to your life after, though many of them are easy adjustments that benefit your overall health. On this blog, we've previously looked at how your diet changes after gastric sleeve surgery as well as how your exercise routine may differ after gastric sleeve surgery.

We receive many questions about drinking wine, beer, and spirits after undergoing bariatric surgery. Let's look into this issue right now.

Can people who have undergone gastric sleeve drink alcoholic beverages?

Yes, but it's important that they wait before having alcoholic beverages and that they avoid certain beverages as well.

Weight loss surgery causes major changes to your body and your response to certain foods and beverages. Because of this, it's important that alcoholic beverages be slowly reintroduced into a person's diet, and that the bariatric surgery patient be conservative and mindful of any amount of alcohol consumed.

Does alcohol affect bariatric surgery patients faster than non-patients?

Yes.

Patients who have undergone a gastric sleeve or a gastric bypass will feel the effects of alcohol faster than those who have not undergone surgery. Sometimes a single glass of wine may be as potent to gastric sleeve patient as three glasses of wine to a non-weight loss surgery patient. A little bit of alcohol may also lead to a drop in blood sugar, so be mindful of that.

How long should I wait after bariatric surgery before I have an alcoholic beverage?

As a general rule, avoid having any alcoholic beverages for at least six months after weight loss surgery. This will give your body ample time to heal and also give you ample time to adjust to your new dietary needs and lifestyle changes.

When having your first drink, only have a sip or two. You may find your sense of taste differs. Go slowly, and do not rush in reintroducing alcoholic beverages to your diet. This will help you understand your new alcohol tolerance and preferences.

Are there any kinds of alcoholic beverages I should avoid?

Yes.

Given the changes to your metabolism and digestive tract, it's a good idea to avoid carbonated beverages (e.g., beer, champagne) and any beverages that contain sugary mixers. Both of these can lead to discomfort in the stomach and are generally things to avoid following weight loss surgery regardless of alcohol content.

Other Tips for Having Alcoholic Beverages After Bariatric Surgery

Apart from going slow, avoiding carbonation, and staying away from sugary mixers, we recommend that patients only drink alcohol while eating a meal. This will help with the absorption of alcohol into the system, and will help prevent serious intoxication from occurring too quickly.

Obviously because of the increased potency of alcoholic beverages, bariatric surgery patients should never drink and drive, even if they are only having a little bit with a meal. If you need to drive, don't drink; if you do drink, have a designated driver with you or call a cab to get you home.

Discuss Bariatric Surgery with Our Team

To learn more about your life after undergoing weight loss surgery and how we can help you achieve excellent health and wellness, be sure to contact our bariatric surgery center today. Dr. Fernando Garcia looks forward to meeting you in person and going over all of the pros and cons of surgical weight loss.

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MessageOur Staff

Dr. Garcia is awesome. I chose bariatrics vertical sleeve surgery. I've lost 85 lbs. since January 2017. No complications... I regret not doing this years ago. Debbie M.

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