To Drink or Not to Drink: Alcohol (What you should know)


All forms of alcohol should be avoided for at least 3 months following weight loss surgery, particularly the increasingly popular gastric sleeve procedure. This is due to early limitations in your capacity to adhere to nutritional requirements. Alcohol has no nutritional value; it is nothing but empty calories; so, given the need to uphold both nutritional and water requirements, adding alcohol to the mix really does hurt your chances of getting enough of either.


Our bodies metabolize alcohol almost immediately, prioritising this process over other metabolic processes with sugar and fat, thus interfering with the absorption of essential vitamins and nutrients you would otherwise get from food. Too much alcohol within such a limited capacity following surgery upsets the balance required for healthy glucose levels in the blood and could be a pre-requisite for diabetes later down the track.


If we consider that 1-2 standard drinks per day for women and 1-3 standard drinks per day for men are the recommended maximums, with a healthy, active lifestyle and healthy diet, then you can pretty much do the maths on where you fit post-gastric sleeve surgery. Considering an 75/80% reduction in the size of the stomach leads to 75/80% in portions, even at maximum amounts of 2 and 3 for women and men respectively, I would suggest no more than 50ml of wine per day or no more than 280ml of mid-strength (3.5%) beer per day. That’s ½ a standard glass of wine or roughly ¾ of a mid-strength beer.


Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, I know! However, you may have to consider, if you’re a drinker with a heavier drinking past, what you didn’t make provisions for those days has now left you having to make provisions for nowadays. Grin and bear it and be happy you’ll get to enjoy a longer, healthier life.