Drinking Alcohol-After-Bariatric-Surgery

Can You Drink Alcohol After Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

Can you still drink alcohol after gastric sleeve surgery? Find out how alcohol use changes after sleeve surgery.  

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    Last Updated on April 17, 2024

    Drinking Alcohol After Bariatric Surgery — Is It Safe?

    Gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, is a life-changing procedure that helps individuals achieve significant and sustained weight loss – but many patients wonder if they can still consume alcohol after gastric sleeve surgery.  

    To sip or not to sip? Can you still enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, or raise a toast on special occasions?  

    In this article, we’re going to stir and shake things up a bit as we dive into the do’s and don’ts of alcohol consumption after your gastric sleeve surgery. It’s not just about whether you can lift a glass, but how that glass fits into your new, healthier lifestyle.  

    Let’s pour into the details.  

    Keep reading to learn:

    1. Understanding gastric sleeve surgery
    2. How alcohol affects the body
    3. Can you drink after gastric sleeve surgery?
    4. Bariatric surgery after-care programs  

    Understanding gastric sleeve surgery

    Before we dive into the topic of alcohol, let’s briefly revisit what gastric sleeve surgery entails. 

    Weight loss surgeries take place either as a weight management solution, or an effort to improve or cure obesity related medical conditions. 

    Gastric sleeve surgery involves the removal of the stretchy portion of the stomach, leaving behind a banana-shaped “sleeve.” This smaller stomach reduces food intake and leads to significant weight loss. But there’s more to it than just shrinking your stomach’s capacity.

    This surgery also has a profound impact on your body’s hormonal balance.

    By removing a part of the stomach we’re also reducing the production of hunger-inducing hormones, like ghrelin. This hormonal change is a crucial aspect of the surgery, as it not only limits your food intake but also naturally diminishes your appetite.

    It’s this dual action – physical restriction and hormonal alteration – that makes gastric sleeve surgery a powerful intervention in your weight loss journey.  

    How alcohol affects the body


    After bariatric surgery, your body’s response to alcohol shifts, becoming more responsive, making even a small amount have a stronger impact.  

    With the increased speed of weight loss following surgery, your body processes alcohol differently than it used to. As well, the reduction of stomach size after surgery means your food intake is lower. The less food processing in your stomach means alcohol will hit you harder. 

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    All this isn’t meant to scare you away from alcohol – however, you should know that after a sleeve surgery, you will be more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, which could have an impact on how your body tolerates alcohol consumption. 

    Why is it important to understand after sleeve surgery? 

    Having all the facts about the effects of alcohol on the body after sleeve surgery will help you to make informed decisions about your health. 

    After a sleeve surgery, your body’s response to alcohol will be different. One main thing you should consider is your risk of Intoxication. Smaller stomach size and faster alcohol absorption increase the risk of intoxication. What used to be a moderate drink might now have a more significant impact. 

    So, with that in mind, we come to the big question: can you still drink alcohol after gastric sleeve surgery?

    Can I drink alcohol after weight loss surgery? 

    As a bariatric surgeon, my answer to my patients is always: yes – in moderation.  

    We usually ask patients not to drink any alcohol for about three months after the surgery to give their bodies time to heal and adjust to the changes.  

    After that, we recommend that our patients keep a careful eye on their alcohol consumption for a few different reasons. 

    First, your absorption is going to be much faster.  Imagine injecting alcohol straight into the veins – it’s going to hit a little harder after surgery. When your absorption is faster, you can quickly become intoxicated on much less alcohol, so you need to be very mindful of this.
    Second, alcohol and food often go hand-in-hand.  If you’re drinking, you need to still be very mindful of your eating, because you don’t want to sabotage the success of the sleeve surgery with excessive food consumption. 
    Third, there is a risk of a transfer of addictions.  If you (like me) struggle with an addiction to food, then sleeve surgery may be taking away a coping mechanism you’ve relied upon throughout your life. Replacing one addiction (food) with another (alcohol) is a slippery slope, and you’ll need to be mindful of that as well. 
    See also  Recovery After Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Timeline, Symptoms


    Before you head to the liquor store, or out to the bar with friends, use this checklist to make sure you’re prepared to pace yourself. 

    Alcohol after gastric sleeve: Self-care Checklist 

    • Moderation is key: If you choose to consume alcohol, moderation is crucial. One drink occasionally may be acceptable, but it’s vital to be aware of your body’s response – after your surgery, one glass of wine could put you on the floor.
    • Prioritize hydration: Alcohol can be dehydrating, so ensure you stay adequately hydrated by drinking water before and after alcohol consumption.
    • Stick to light snacks: If you like to snack while you drink, remember to be mindful of this. Stick to small snacks to minimize your intake.
    • Share your journey: Your friends and family may be prepared to help you meet your goals. Sharing your journey can help reduce the peer pressure of being offered drinks or food that you feel guilty turning away.

    Consult with a healthcare provider 

    When in doubt, consult with your healthcare provider.  

    It’s important to recognize that individual responses to alcohol can vary significantly, with or without a gastric sleeve.  

    What’s tolerable for one person may not be for another. Factors such as tolerance, metabolism, and personal preferences play a role.  

    Above all, it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare provider or bariatric surgeon before consuming alcohol after gastric sleeve surgery. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific situation and health status so that you can make informed decisions about your long-term health and happiness. 

    Bariatric surgery after-care programs  

    In summary: moderate alcohol consumption comes with considerations and potential risks, especially given the changes in digestion and alcohol absorption post-surgery. 

    As always, your health and well-being are paramount. If you choose to consume alcohol, do so with caution and awareness of your body’s response.  

    See also  8 Gastric Sleeve Surgery Myths You May Need To Know in 2024

    If you find that you’re drinking more as a coping mechanism, or to manage emotions and stress, contact your bariatric surgeon or family doctor at once to talk about counselling services.  

    Keep reading to learn about the after-surgery care you should expect at a clinic that has your holistic health in mind. 

    What is a boutique bariatric experience? 

    At The Sleeve Clinic, we provide a boutique bariatric experience. What does that mean? It means that: 

    • Every single patient receives unparalleled one-on-one attention
    • Patients receive an extremely high level of surgical expertise and care
    • You never feel rushed
    • No one falls through the cracks
    • You feel connected and well cared for
    • Cutting edge 5 year Aftercare program available to you 100% virtually, with 24/7 staff availability to answer every question or concern 

    If you’re curious about alcohol consumption, if you’re struggling with managing your intake, if you’re worried about your ability to maintain changes following your surgery – we’re here to help you through it. 

    Considering gastric sleeve surgery ?

    If you’re thinking about sleeve surgery, here are some next steps to take: 

    Please note that the information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance regarding weight loss surgery.

    If you are considering sleeve surgery you can book a consultation with our weight loss clinic in Toronto here: Contact us!  


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    As one of the leading weight loss surgeons in Canada, Dr Gmora has gained a reputation for being a master of his surgical craft and producing outstanding weight loss results.