Holidays, weddings, and special occasions are all common occurrences when celebrating includes alcohol consumption. Often much attention and focus is given at watching what we eat at parties but some caution should be used when consuming alcohol after having Lap Band or other bariatric surgeries.
Alcohol Tolerance Differs between Bariatric Procedures
You may have heard conflicting information about your ability to drink alcohol after Lap-Band surgery, or even horror stories about weight loss surgery patients who have had a dangerously high blood alcohol content after just one drink.
The warnings about WLS and blood alcohol content apply mainly to patients who have undergone Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RNY). Because of the changes to the digestive system that occur with RNY, alcohol passes directly into the intestines, where it is rapidly absorbed. This can cause patients to become dangerously intoxicated from small amounts of alcohol. Gastric bypass patients should use extreme caution when drinking, and should never drink and drive.
Lap-Band patients do not undergo the same changes in anatomy and therefore do not experience the same rapid absorption of alcohol as RNY patients. However, that doesn’t mean that Lap-Band patients don’t experience some changes in tolerance to alcohol consumption. There are some important considerations to take into account when deciding whether or not to pour yourself a glass of wine.
Many doctors prefer that their Lap-Band patients don’t drink because of the empty calories in alcohol. Mixed drinks such as margaritas, mai tais, pina coladas, and long island iced teas contain a lot of sugar and as much as 600 calories. Always consider the calories when drinking, and opt for lower-calorie drinks such as dry wine.
Some WLS patients struggle with addictions
Your doctor may prefer that you err on the side of caution as many WLS patients experience a phenomenon known as addiction transference. Because they are no longer able to overeat, they may turn to other unhealthy behaviors for dealing with stress and emotions. If you have a history of alcohol abuse, it’s best to avoid it completely.
If you want to continue enjoying an occasional drink after Lap-Band surgery, moderation is the key. Have only one drink and give it time to see how you will react. Drinking even one drink can lower your ability to make wise decisions and lower your resolve. This can make it harder to avoid overeating at parties and other temptations. Don’t consider yourself able to drive even after only consuming one drink, always have a designated non drinker when drinking away from home.
The bottom line is to err on the side of caution. Give yourself time to understand how consuming alcohol will effect you and your weight loss efforts and where it fits in to your healthy lifestyle.