Alcohol use after Bariatric Surgery (Part 1)


When food is no longer an option in the way it was prior to weight loss surgery, people sometimes seek an alternate way of dealing with issues. Alcohol provides a “high” that takes people away from the stress, frustration and emotions of day-to-day life. And for many WLS patients, alcohol does so within minutes. It is said that one drink is equal to three for a post-op patient. So the buzz, the euphoria, the escape from one’s present reality is nearly instantaneous. In fact, a person who has had bariatric surgery (other than LapBand) will be legally intoxicated in as little as 90 seconds in some cases.

Some WLS patients “only” consume this poison we refer to as alcohol when they are at “special events.” There is danger in occasional drinking, as well as drinking several times a week or daily. Alcohol is 100% empty calories, calories that irritate the stomach lining and damage internal organs, including the brain. It would be absurd for a WLS patient to sit down and eat three pieces of cake or five or six cookies or a couple of bagels. What then, makes it sensible, reasonable or otherwise “okay” to consume hundreds and hundreds of empty calories from alcohol?

It doesn’t make sense. I realize some people are going to drink alcohol now and then. If you are going to drink, I urge you to limit yourself to only one drink. Trust me, in 15 years of working in the bariatric field, I have seen truly heartbreaking scenarios as a result of alcohol misuse after surgery.

By the way, one drink equals one 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or one shot of liquor.

Keep in mind: It’s YOUR health. Your health is your responsibility. This day. Every day.