Bariatric Post Op Diet
Debunking Top 3 Urban Myths

Urban bariatric post op diet myths get perpetuated by healthcare workers and patients alike due to lack of research and lack of a standardized bariatric diet. Here's the real truth about the top 3 myths that never seem to die.

Bariatric Post Op Diet Myth #1:
You Can't Drink Coffee After Surgery

What’s So Bad About Coffee?

“Dehydration” is the #1 reason given not to drink coffee (caffeine) after weight loss surgery. After all, it’s a challenge to stay hydrated after surgery so anything standing in the way should be nixed, right?

Not so fast.

While the caffeine molecule as a drug has proven to be a diuretic, caffeine in the context of coffee or tea hasn’t.  The caffeine in coffee and tea is delivered as a liquid! So coffee and tea actually contribute to your total daily fluid intake (assuming no high calorie add-ins ;)

The myth that coffee is dehydrating has long been debunked, but for some reason it never dies.

There’s no evidence to say you’ll get dehydrated from drinking coffee or tea after surgery. So purported dehydration is not a reason to restrict caffeine after surgery. But… 

2 Things More Worrisome Than the Caffeine in Coffee

1.  Caffeine stimulates acid secretion.  This can make your GERD or acid reflux worse or aggravate an existing ulcer.

2. What you put IN the coffee. The amount of added cream and sugar is usually more of a problem than the coffee itself. If you’re like me and would prefer just a little coffee with your cream…the calories can skyrocket fast. And weight loss surgery doesn’t control liquid calories. Loaded coffee drinks are a fast track to slowed weight loss or weight regain.

The Benefits of Caffeine

Ever notice that your morning coffee helps keep you regular?

Caffeine is a stimulant…and it stimulates good things too…like your colon!

Bariatric Post Op Diet:
Caffeine--> The Bottom Line

  • Caffeine is NOT dehydrating.
  • Limit coffee early on while your stomach heals because it’s a gastric irritant.
  • Once you’re healed, coffee may be helpful to combat the constipation that’s often a challenge after surgery.
  • Nix the high calorie sugar and creamer add ins or your coffee habit could cause slowed weight loss or weight regain.

Bariatric Post Op Diet Myth #2:
Ban All Straws!

I have good news for you! There’s NO bariatric evidence to say people drinking out of straws do worse after surgery.

While drinking out of straws may cause excess gas or belching, it’s not always the case. Many people do perfectly fine using a straw. Many of my patients tell me they can drink more fluid when they drink with a straw vs without.

Bariatric Post Op Diet:
Straws--> The Bottom Line

A straw may or may not be best for you. Try it out and make a decision.

Bariatric Post Op Diet Myth #3:
No More Carbonated Beverages Ever Again!

What’s NOT True

It’s a myth that carbonation stretches your stomach back out and will ruin your surgery. 

First of all, your stomach is meant to stretch. If it didn’t, you’d die. Stomach tissue is expandable. It can stretch and then go back to its smaller version. There’s no evidence to say drinking carbonated beverages stretches your new small stomach to the point it can’t retract back to normal shape.

What IS True

  • Carbonation increases burping and passing gas
  • Carbonation causes stomach pain

OK, this just makes sense:

Tiny stomach + bubbles trying to expand but no space for them to do so = discomfort

And you have to get rid of the bubbles from one end or the other ;) 

Two Medical Reasons to Avoid Carbonation

  • It causes discomfort
  • It can trigger for GERD or acid reflux

The MAJOR Reason to Avoid Carbonated Drinks, In My Dietitian Opinion

They’re usually associated with other bad habits! Do these sound familiar?

  • Fast food + soda?
  • Skip meals all day and survive on diet soda?
  • Fuel sweet cravings with diet or non diet soda?

Remember how you want to overhaul your diet and make a lifestyle change? Here’s an opportunity ;)

Bariatric Post Op Diet:
Carbonation--> The Bottom Line

  • Definitely avoid carbonated drinks in the early post op period when you’re healing.
  • Theoretically they’re ok in the long term if they don’t give you discomfort.
  • Strongly consider NOT going back to them. Improve diet by addition, not subtraction. Focus on what you CAN drink, not what you CAN'T.

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