Your weight loss surgery is over, and the most challenging part of this whole journey is behind you…right? Well, not exactly. After surgery, your next step in recovering from obesity is to lose weight and maintain a healthy BMI – and that means saying goodbye to the fizz and caffeine of soda pop.
Although it’s tough to quit soda, there are good reasons why weight loss surgery and soft drinks don’t mix. The first is related to your new, smaller stomach size. For example, if you’ve had Lap-Band® surgery, the inflation of your stomach pouch caused by drinking even a sip of carbonated beverage can cause your pouch to strain uncomfortably against the band. Gastric bypass patients and sleeve gastrectomy also report feeling uncomfortable from the gas produced by even a mouthful of soda.
Why? In short: The gas in the drink comes out and expands your stomach like a balloon. Your new stomach pouch can be stretched out over time if you drink carbonated beverages after your surgery. What’s more, carbonated beverages – like soda pop, ginger ale, sparkling cider and even tonic water – increase hunger and contribute to weight regain.
In general, any drink that lists carbonated water as an ingredient – with or without added flavoring – is on the forbidden list. But this doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to tap water and coffee. Zero-calorie, zero-fizz fruit-flavored waters, such as Fruit2O, are great alternatives for weight-loss surgery patients. You can also try fruit-based “ades”, like lemonade and orangeade. And powdered, sugarless soft drink mixes, like Crystal Light, Wyler’s Light Drink Powders, and Sugar Free Kool-Aid, are all fine as well.
Sadly, it’s not just soda that’s off the menu. Despite its high vitamin content, fruit juice is a no-go for gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy patients as well. The high sugar content in juice may lead to dumping (and no fruit smoothie is worth that!). And, for anyone who has had weight loss surgery, the fact that most fruit juices are high in calories can cause a major setback when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. As an alternative, consider beverages flavored with artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda or TruVia, which is made from stevia plant extract. Green tea is not only refreshing, but also good for your health, and there’s not a calorie in sight. The same goes for herbal tea.
In the end, however, it’s always going to be better for you to drink plenty of pure water, and to avoid drinking fluids for 30 minutes before or after a meal so you don’t flush food through your stomach pouch. By follow these few simple tips you can help keep your pouch happy, your body hydrated, and your weight right where you want it!
Dr. David Provost has more than 20 years’ experience as a surgeon and has helped thousands of patients during his career. He is a recognized expert in bariatric surgery and performs weight loss surgery in Denton, Texas, at the Presbyterian Hospital of Denton.