Patients should avoid caffeine for at least one month after bariatric surgery. Replace any caffeinated beverages you might typically consume with water — always the best option — or other sugar- and/or caffeine-free beverages.
Some excellent choices are:
- Crystal Light
- Sugar-free Kool-Aid
- Diet Ocean Spray
- Minute Maid Zero Sugar
- Diet V8 Splash
- Beef broth
- Chicken broth
- Vegetable broth
- Sugar-free gelatin
- Sugar-free popsicles
You can also drink decaf teas and coffee. These both make for tasty alternatives to beverages with caffeine.
Whichever drink you choose, be sure to take small sips rather than enormous gulps after bariatric surgery. Remember, your stomach pouch is much smaller than it used to be and large gulps/drinks will cause some discomfort, belching, and even hiccups!
You may find it difficult to consume the recommended amount of liquids after surgery for this reason. But remember to stay hydrated, especially during the soft protein food stage. Aim for at least 96 ounces of noncarbonated, noncaffeinated liquids each day, that also contain less than 15 calories per 8 ounces.
Also, keep in mind that you should avoid fluids with meals for at least an hour after eating.
Let us know if you have any questions about eating and drinking post-bariatric surgery. After surgery, patients will be most successful in their continuing return to full health if they monitor their water intake. This helps with nutrient absorption, among other things.
Your surgeon or health care provider can help you decide the best course of action for you. Be sure to consult with them regularly and follow their recommendations regarding caffeine intake to the letter.
Another quick point: In addition to avoiding caffeine for at least 30 days, one should also avoid carbonated beverages after weight loss surgery for life.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Caffeine causes dehydration. Carbonation can cause increased bloating and discomfort,” especially after gastric surgery. Carbonation can also cause acid reflux.
So while you may be craving certain foods and drinks, including that nice hot cup of coffee, after bariatric surgery, successful recovery requires continued diligence. Have a decaf coffee, instead. Caffeine is a diuretic, so bariatric patients must avoid it to ensure the health benefits of a good diet and adequate hydration.
Caffeine and Weight Loss
Even after you’ve reached the one-month point post-surgery, it may be best to continue avoiding caffeine, if you can. A good rule of thumb is that everything should be consumed in moderation. The same goes for caffeine.
There is a persistent myth that caffeine can help with weight loss. Again, we turn to the Mayo Clinic for advice.
“Caffeine alone won’t help you slim down,” they write. “It may slightly boost weight-loss efforts or help prevent weight gain, but there’s no solid evidence that caffeine consumption leads to noticeable weight loss.”
The rest of their advice is worth quoting in full.
“The bottom line,” writes dietician Katherine Zeratsky, is to “be cautious about using caffeine products to help with weight loss. When used in moderation (400 milligrams or less) by healthy adults, caffeine is generally safe. But too much caffeine might cause nervousness, insomnia, nausea, increased blood pressure, and other problems.”
And, of course, many caffeinated drinks also contain unhealthy amounts of calories and sugar.
So be sure to stay hydrated post-op, whether you had gastric sleeve surgery or another type of bariatric surgery. Drink plenty of water — but especially in the days after surgery. And when you’ve gone at least a month without caffeine after bariatric surgery, reintroduce it into your diet slowly and in moderation.