Alcohol after Bariatric Surgery

Its not uncommon for patients to ask whether they are allowed to have alcohol after bariatric surgery. I usually tell them – yes, you can. However, the effect alcohol has on the human body is magnified after bariatric surgery. 

After bariatric surgery, because of there small size of the sleeve or the pouch (for bypass), it will be difficult to eat and have a drink simultaneously. In fact, even a glass of water can be difficult to get down during meals. If the drink is carbonated, you may get abdominal cramps when the gas expands.

So you may think eating less to allow space for an alcoholic beverage, it tends to get absorbed more quickly. The maximum blood alcohol level is higher than pre-bariatric surgery, achieved faster and also takes longer to return to normal.

Alcohol reduces the amount of glucose your liver releases to maintain blood sugar levels. This causes a low blood sugar, which can be more pronounced in diabetics. Also know as hypoglycaemia – you may feel faint, get sweaty, nauseated or become irritable and anxious – not the way most people want to feel when trying to have a good time! The alcohol causes dehydration by making your kidney reabsorb less water.

Most alcoholic beverages have a high calorie and low nutrient content. That is not going to be great for your weight loss journey.

So you may get twice as drunk with half your ‘normal’ amount in half the time. It could only take 1 drink…

Be sober, Be safe.