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Alcohol Intake after Bariatric Surgery

Samantha Stavola

Samantha Stavola is a registered dietitian with the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery program. In this article, Sam gives information and recommendations for drinking alcohol after bariatric surgery.

Alcohol consumption after surgery is one of our most frequently discussed topics with patients.

Generally, it’s recommended to avoid alcohol for six months after bariatric surgery, whether you have undergone the sleeve gastrectomy or roux-en-y procedure.

When you undergo bariatric surgery, the large fundus, or reservoir, portion of the stomach has either been totally bypassed or removed from the rest of the GI tract.  Because of this, alcohol enters the body more rapidly for processing, which can increase your risk of developing alcohol poisoning.

How one drink affected your body before surgery now is equal to three to four drinks after surgery.

Alcohol consumption can also increase your risk of developing a stomach ulcer by eroding the lining of your stomach wall, which left untreated, can lead to an internal bleed.

After the initial six months, you may choose to drink alcohol. We recommend only doing so on special occasions and in small amounts. Remember that the intoxicating effects of alcohol occur a lot sooner than before surgery, and alcohol can slow down weight loss.

If you do drink, consider drink options that are lower in sugar content and avoid mixed cocktails with juices or soda and added sugars. Those contain minimal nutrients, promote hunger and can cause blood sugar spikes.

If you have any questions about alcohol intake or your diet, contact your doctor, nurse practitioner or bariatric dietitian.

About this Blog

Learn about bariatric surgery and get the support you need to continue on your weight-loss journey. We offer workouts, recipes and tips from Bariatric Surgery program team members, and stories from patients like you.

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