To drink or not after weight loss surgery?

Jul 18, 2016


A common question that people have either when they are preparing for surgery or are navigating their new lifestyle after surgery is “Can I drink alcohol?” This is a question that has been hotly debated for some time. Luckily, ASMBS (American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery) has recently released a position statement on alcohol use before and after bariatric surgery.

The studies reviewed in the development of this position statement showed an increase risk for alcohol use disorders after bariatric surgery. There have been anecdotal reports of “addiction transfer” from food to some other addiction, such as alcohol.

Scientific studies also consistently show increased rate of absorption of alcohol after surgery as well as a longer time to eliminate alcohol. In other words, people felt the effects of alcohol more strongly after just one drink, were over the legal limit to drive after just one drink, and took a longer time to “sober up” after just one drink compared to before having surgery.

Safety issues aside, think about your personal goals. An average drink contains around 120 calories. Having one drink per night could lead to at least a five pound weight gain in just one year. The health benefits of even red wine are likely outweighed by the risks of weight gain. If you are trying to lose weight, alcohol makes it more difficult. Alcohol also significantly increases the risk of ulcers after bariatric surgery.

In conclusion, it is not recommended to drink alcohol after bariatric surgery. 

Questions? Email me at Marlena Farley

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