What About Alcohol After Weight Loss Surgery?

Steph Wagner

May 21, 2016

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Alcohol After Weight Loss Surgery-


Wondering when and if you can have a drink after Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve or other weight-loss surgeries?

Hey, it’s a fair question. And it doesn’t make you an alcoholic for wondering ;)

The first thing you should do is ask your surgeon his or her recommendation on how far out you should be from your surgery before introducing an alcoholic beverage. As I’ve mentioned many a time on this site, every bariatric program is different and recommends things differently! Make sure you’ve asked your specific program.

I’ve worked for doctors that recommend waiting 6 weeks and others that recommend waiting 6 months.

Why 6 months?!

There is one notable thing to consider when it comes to alcohol after bariatric surgery. The hard truth is that there is a higher risk for dependency than had you never had the surgery. Yep, research shows there is a risk of “transfer addiction.” When the possibility to use food for coping has been eliminated, some patients have struggled with abusing alcohol instead. It’s important to know of this risk, mention it to your support system and stay honest with yourself if you are using alcohol beyond what is healthy.

That being said. Yes, you can have a drink again.


You’re going to feel it a LOT faster. Be aware of this too! Especially the first time you have a drink after surgery, take it very slow and designate a driver. Or stay at home. Seriously. You don’t know how fast it might hit you. Alcohol is metabolized much faster after surgery,especially if you are a Gastric Bypass or Duodenal Switch patient.

All the disclaimers aside, now let’s talk about what you can drink.

In my practice I recommend avoiding drinks that are carbonated or high in sugar. (I’m sorry! That means most beers and margaritas!)

Most beers because dark beers often use nitrogen instead of CO2…so if you like Guinness then you’re in luck ;)

Mixed drinks may require you get a little more creative to avoid high sugar or carbonated drinks like coke. You might consider using Crystal Light or Diet Cranberry Juice for a mixer. Here’s a recipe for a “Cherry Bomb Cocktail” as an example.

Wine tends to be the easier option, if you like it. Choose a red wine or at least a lower sugar white wine. Take it slow and stay up on your water intake.

Yes, you do have to be more diligent in what you are drinking, how much you are drinking annnnd who you are drinking with. But you can still have your occasional drink at a social function or on a romantic dinner with you loved one.



Steph :)

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