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Is Alcohol Consumption a complete no-no after Bariatric Surgery?

Is Alcohol Consumption a complete no-no after Bariatric Surgery?

Let us understand the composition of alcohol before answering whether alcohol consumption is okay or not okay after bariatric surgery. Let us put it straight. Alcohol has no nutritional value. It is basically a type of sugar and hence has more calories. Approximately 1 gm of alcohol gives 7 kcal (1 gm of carbohydrates has 4 kcal). Since the calories are arising out of a non-nutritious food, it is called empty calories.

A study was conducted to determine the effects of alcohol on individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery and individuals who have not. There were two key findings.

  • Individuals who underwent bariatric surgery had higher alcohol breath level for the same amount of alcohol consumed than the individuals who did not undergo bariatric surgery.
  • Also individuals who underwent bariatric surgery took more time to come to normal than the other group.

This study points to the fact that the metabolism of alcohol is not the same for individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery as general population.

What happens when an individual who underwent bariatric surgery consumes alcohol

  • Small amount of alcohol can cause intoxications
  • In normal individuals, alcohol is digested by an enzyme called “alcohol dehydrogenase”. Because of the reduced size of the stomach in individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery, their stomach either does not secrete any more of this enzyme or they secrete very less of this enzyme. As a result, the alcohol consumed enters the blood stream directly and stays for longer period of time.
  • Alcohol can relax your stomach and can trigger you to eat more. Hence you not only become alcohol addicted but also a food addict which is a vicious cycle.
  • Even for a normal stomach size alcohol causes ulcer. The reduced stomach size can definitely induce ulcer.
  • After consuming alcohol, either the individual tends to take less food or more food leading to either nutrient deficiency or weight gain respectively.
  • It also aggravates the acid reflex diseases.

The best option is to quit alcohol in any form once and for all to reap the maximum benefits of bariatric surgery. This is pretty essential for a long lasting healthy results.

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