After your weight loss surgery, you may have been advised to avoid drinking soda and carbonated beverages due to adverse effects such as bloating and belching. Although it is a myth that carbonation after gastric sleeve and other surgeries can “stretch your pouch”, the bubbles and fizziness associated with many carbonated beverages, can cause stomach discomfort in bariatric patients.
So, what can you expect regarding drinks with caffeine and carbonation after bariatric surgery?
Anything that contains carbonation counts toward this beverage category this includes: sparkling water, soda/pop (regular and diet), seltzer water, carbonated alcohol, kombucha, etc. Basically, if it fizzes or pops, it contains carbonation.
Your program will provide you with a time period to avoid carbonation as you are healing. Most clinicians will instruct bariatric surgery patients to avoid carbonation for life. However, this is usually due more to the fact that many carbonated beverages contain added sugars and calories, which can lead to weight gain; and less to the fact that carbonation can cause clinical problems to arise.
Whether you have had gastric sleeve surgery or a gastric bypass procedure, greater than 80 percent of your stomach may have been removed. So, when carbonation is consumed, the carbon dioxide can cause you to feel bloated and uncomfortable as your stomach fills with the more carbonation you drink. You can also feel burning in your stomach, and even esophagus, as the carbonated bubbles rise.
Many carbonated drinks contain high amounts of added sugars and calories. Sodas can contain upwards of 65 grams of sugar per bottle. Diet beverages can contain high amounts of sugar substitutes that can be just as harmful and contribute a significant number of calories to your daily intake. This can lead to weight gain, as liquid calories can easily be consumed without the accompanying feeling of fullness that is associated with solid food items.
Non-carbonated beverage option alternatives: water, zero calorie flavored water, protein shakes, zero sugar powder additives to mix into water, adding fruit to water, protein shakes, decaf coffees or teas without added sugars.
It can be unreasonable to expect that a person will never consume a carbonated beverage at least once in their life after a weight loss procedure. If this does occur, do not feel guilty. Being overly restricted on food and beverage intake can have negative effects and lead to overeating to compensate for feelings. If you are going to consume carbonated beverages, choose zero or low sugar options. You can also open the can or bottle and let it sit uncovered for a period of time to allow the carbonation to settle. Always make sure to try to separate your liquids from solids when eating to allow yourself to full up on nutrient dense calories from foods.
Caffeine acts as a diuretic on the body. Consuming caffeine after bariatric surgery in large quantities on a daily basis can lead to dehydration and the possibility of developing a stomach ulcer. Dehydration can be more common after bariatric surgery because it can take longer periods of time to rehydrate since you are restricted in the volume that you can drink at one time. Each sip of a beverage you take equals about one ounce of fluid. Minimum fluid recommendations after surgery are 60 ounces daily. This would mean that you need to take 60 sips throughout the day of non-carbonated, non-caffeinated beverages to meet minimum requirements. Typical coffee shop coffee beverages can range from 300 to greater than 400 mg of caffeine per drink. Soda beverages can have over 100 mg of caffeine per bottle. Energy drinks can also range from 300 to greater than 400 mg of caffeine per drink. Most individuals drink several caffeinated beverages throughout the day, compounding their risk of dehydration even further.
Drinking alcohol after bariatric surgery should be extremely limited. Not only is alcohol a diuretic and can increase your risk of dehydration, it enters your bloodstream more rapidly after weight loss surgery. This rapid action can increase your risk of alcohol poisoning due to the amount of stomach that was removed after surgery, which acted like a reservoir prior to surgery, allowing alcohol to be processed by the liver and released more slowly.
If you do consume alcohol after bariatric surgery, chose options that are lower in sugar content, avoid mixed drink mixes which are loaded with sugar, and limit the number of drinks you consume.
Here are some low calorie, flavorful drink options to help curb those carbonated cravings:
Blend all ingredients until desired consistency
Blend all ingredients until desired consistency
Blend all ingredients at low speed until desired consistency
Blend all ingredients, adding ice cubes to thicken if desired
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