Caffeine after Bariatric Surgery

A Real TBC Patient

When it comes to dietary restrictions, many patients wonder if caffeine is safe after bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery can help those who have struggled to achieve a healthy weight to reach their goals and lead a healthier lifestyle. However, in order to reduce the risk of complications after bariatric surgery, it's important to follow post-surgical diet guidelines and restrictions.  In virtual consultations, our Licensed Dietician Nutritionist Linda Cardona, who specializes in bariatric nutrition, can educate patients about dietary guidelines, including consuming caffeine, following weight loss surgery.

Is Caffeine Allowed after Bariatric Surgery?

We generally recommend that patients avoid or at least limit caffeine intake after bariatric surgery. Small amounts of caffeine don’t pose a problem. If you absolutely must drink coffee in the morning, you can do so. However, if your caffeine consumption comes from high-calorie, sugary drinks, it is best to avoid these after bariatric surgery.

Why You Should Avoid Caffeine After Bariatric Surgery

Although small amounts of caffeine, such as one cup of coffee or tea, are generally safe after bariatric surgery consuming large amounts is not recommended. This is because the surgery changes the digestive system by altering how foods are processed and absorbed. Loss procedures such as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass with duodenal switch reduces the size of the stomach and bypasses some of the digestive tract. Consuming too much caffeine is thought to reduce calcium and iron absorption, which poses a particular problem when nutrient absorption is already reduced by a restrictive and malabsorptive procedure

Not only is it best to forego caffeine after bariatric surgery to limit the risk of problems with nutrient absorption, but also patients should not ingest any caffeine during the recovery period to protect the stomach and avoid empty calories. Some reasons to avoid caffeine include:

  • Excessive caffeine consumption can cause an increase in gastric acid secretion, potentially causing diarrhea or gastric reflux. Coffee stimulates gastrin release as well as gastric acid secretion. You may want to limit coffee because of its strong stimulatory effect on acid secretion.
  • Caffeine is a diuretic, which can cause dehydration through increased urination. Since water is so important to post-bariatric surgery success, it is critical that you drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated after bariatric surgery is key to a successful recovery.
  • Caffeinated drinks are often acidic and can irritate the new stomach pouch when consumed in greater quantities and concentrations. Additionally, caffeinated beverages that are also carbonated can exacerbate the problem as carbonation can stretch the stomach pouch.
  • Consuming caffeinated foods and drinks can cause weight gain as these foods are typically high in sugar, causing you to add hundreds of calories to your daily intake. After electing to undergo surgery to lose weight, why would you do that to yourself?

Foods and Drinks to Avoid

Caffeine is a common part of many people's diets. When limiting or avoiding caffeine altogether, it's important to be aware of which foods and drinks contain caffeine. Some common sources of caffeine include:

  • Tea
  • Coffee, including decaf
  • Sodas
  • Energy drinks
  • Protein and energy bars
  • Chocolate

You'll even need to be careful with caffeine when it comes to other commonly ingested substances. These include:

  • Some pain relievers (Excedrin comes to mind)
  • Chocolate or coffee-flavored ice creams
  • Weight-loss medications
  • Flavored energy waters

Schedule a Consultation

Patients who undergo bariatric surgery often have many questions about what their lives will be like after the procedure. At Tijuana Bariatric Center, we take care of the whole person, which means we care about your life after weight loss surgery. We're here to answer your questions, whether they are about drinks like coffee (with caffeine) or anything else. For any questions, please contact Tijuana Bariatric Center at 800-970-0577. We will be happy to schedule a virtual appointment to answer your questions and concerns.


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