Why No Caffeine After Gastric Bypass?

Life after gastric bypass surgery will be different. The alterations to your digestive tract require a new bariatric diet. 

Unfortunately, for coffee lovers, your daily fix is not going to be included in your gastric bypass foods list or gastric sleeve food list initially following surgery. This will be at least for the first month after a gastric bypass surgery diet plan, which will typically consist of a 1000 calorie bariatric diet plan.

Caffeine can have different effects on the body which are not beneficial in meal plans for gastric sleeve patients or gastric bypass patients. Caffeine is a natural diuretic and can also cause blood sugar levels to drop.

Coffee and some types of tea are beverages that usually contain a high caffeine content (over 100mg caffeine). Other drinks that contain caffeine include certain sodas, energy drinks, and some protein shakes.

This article will provide the reasons why caffeine is not recommended in the first month after surgery and provide some suggestions for alternatives that you can try during your recovery.

 

Why Is Caffeine After Gastric Bypass Not Advised?

The Effect Of Caffeine On Your Body

Caffeine can have a small diuretic effect when consuming in excess. This would be around 500-600mg of caffeine. If it's only a concern when consumed in excess, why can't bariatric patients drink coffee in small amounts?

Post-operatively, your body is going through a number of changes. You will want to do what you can to promote healing and keep up on your nutrition. Caffeine can be an irritant. Since coffee is acidic, this can cause a delay in the healing of your stomach lining. Not only will this delay healing, but the irritation can lead to digestive problems like diarrhea, acid reflux after bariatric surgery, and ulcers. This makes the absorption of nutrients more difficult for your body.

Another aspect is that bariatric patients are at a very high risk for dehydration. It becomes difficult to consume anything initially following bariatric surgery, even sips of water. That being said, anything you consume should have a focus on keeping you hydrated, reaching protein goals and providing vitamins and minerals. 

Why No Caffeine After Gastric Bypass

If you become dehydrated after your gastric bypass surgery, you are more likely to develop kidney stones and end up in the hospital.

If you're filling up on caffeinated drinks like coffee and not able to eat enough protein, your body will not be able to adequately build lean muscle mass. Rapid weight loss can cause this muscle break down. If you are ever recommended diet pills after gastric sleeve or gastric bypass, you will also have to worry about getting enough daily protein.

Caffeine increases the motility of your gut and may lead to the excretion of partially digested food. This can lead to the malabsorption of essential nutrients needed for a healthy and speedy recovery and may cause low blood sugar after gastric bypass surgery.

Coffee can also have the ability to decrease the absorption of some nutrients. Specifically, calcium and iron. This is not due to the caffeine itself, but rather other contents found in tea and coffee called polyphenols. The decreased absorption of your bariatric vitamins, especially iron and calcium will have detrimental effects on your recovery and long-term health.   

When May I Reintroduce Caffeine Into My Diet?

It is recommended to limit or avoid caffeinated beverages for the first month post gastric bypass. This will allow your body to heal sufficiently and provide time to adjust to your new digestive system. After the first month, check back in with your bariatric healthcare team to see what guidelines you should be following for your individual needs. 

Your energy levels can be affected after surgery if you are not focusing on water intake, protein goals, bariatric supplements, sleep and exercise. This can have you missing your daily coffee fix. You can also have low energy after having a clear liquid diet before gastric sleeve and not being able to consume the amount of food you once did. There are plenty of ways to boosting energy after bariatric surgery without resorting to coffee.

Tips For Drinking Coffee After Gastric Bypass

When introducing coffee, start by drinking black coffee without added sugar, and gradually introduce small amounts of low-fat milk if needed. 

Be cautious when adding sugar, syrups, and creamers to your coffee, as they will add unnecessary calories into your 1000 calorie bariatric diet plan and your digestive system will not handle them well. Sugary coffee will cause a spike in blood sugar levels and then result in low blood sugar after gastric bypass surgery. They may also lead to dumping syndrome. 

If you are eating out after gastric sleeve or gastric bypass at bariatric restaurants, look for bariatric-friendly beverage options that are low in sugar and fats. Some of the best restaurants for bariatric patients are going to have healthy options, portion control, and alternative options. 

Try to limit your coffee intake to 1-2 cups per day and monitor your caffeine tolerance. A typical cup of coffee contains between 95-200 mg of caffeine, and it is recommended to have less than 200 mg of caffeine per day.

If you are using milk substitutes, look for options that are fortified with calcium to strengthen your bones. Remember to always stay hydrated when drinking coffee by simultaneously also drinking non-caffeinated, low-calorie, and carbonation-free drinks. A low-calorie protein smoothie using gastric sleeve protein shake recipes is a good option for during and after gastric sleeve diet week 3.

If you develop any reflux symptoms or stomach irritation when drinking coffee, it is best to stop drinking it completely and only start again once your symptoms have been treated. Your digestive system is different from what it was pre-gastric bypass surgery, so have patience and introduce new foods very slowly.

 

What About Decaf Coffee After Surgery?

No Caffeine After Gastric Bypass

Decaffeinated coffee is still acidic, like normal coffee, so it still has the potential to irritate the stomach and cause acid reflux. The same rule applies to decaf coffee as it does to regular coffee - only introduce it one month after surgery or when you healthcare provider says it's okay to do so.

Unfortunately, both decaf and regular coffee can have an effect on nutrient absorption. Supplements should not be taken at the same time you drink a cup of coffee. However, a bonus of decaf coffee is that it does not have the full diuretic effect. So, if you are looking to have coffee for the flavor, try decaf coffee. Remember, staying hydrated is the most important goal in your recovery after gastric bypass surgery.

 

What Are Some Of The Recommended Alternatives To Caffeinated Beverages?

  • Water (infuse your water with herbs or fruits to make it flavorful). Carbonation after gastric sleeve and gastric bypass is not recommended, so just stick to still water.
  • Low caffeine or decaf herbal teas like chamomile, ginger, and peppermint tea
  • Decaffeinated coffee
  • Natural sugar-free smoothies
  • Protein drinks for bariatric patients (protein shakes bariatric surgery) using bariatric protein powder - bariatric cookbooks can provide some interesting recipes for after gastric bypass surgery or protein drinks for bariatric patients. These protein drinks are perfect for your week 3 gastric sleeve diet or gastric bypass diet. This will become a part of the high protein foods for gastric sleeve patients throughout the weight loss journey. 

If you are looking for alternatives for boosting energy after bariatric surgery, make sure you consult with your healthcare provider and find the root to the problem before supplementing with caffeine and other energy supplements. 


    Is Alcohol An Alternative?

    No Alcohol After Gastric Bypass

    Alcohol after gastric bypass is not an appropriate alternative and should be avoided for a few months to a year after surgery due to its adverse effects on your new digestive system. 

    When you are eating out after gastric sleeve or eating 6 months after gastric bypass at a bariatric-friendly restaurant, drink alcohol at your own risk and only by the recommendation made by your provider. 

    Remember, most alcoholic beverages contain high sugar and high calories with no nutritional value. 

     

    **This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition.