Last updated on Tue, 16th Feb 2021
The last time I had a drink of alcohol was in the middle of August. It was just before my pre-surgery diet started. And since then I’ve not touched a drop!
When I sit down and think about it, it’s about three and a half months ago, or 15 weeks. That might possibly be the longest time in my adult life when I’ve not consumed alcohol.
I wouldn’t say I’m a heavy drinker. I used to be, back in my 20s and 30s, when I would go to the pub several times a week and have enough drink to get drunk. But now I’m in my late 40s I would probably have no more than a couple of beers with dinner, or share a bottle of wine with my wife. And even then it would average out at only once a week.
Except for the last 3 months since surgery, I’ve not had anything, and to be honest I don’t miss it.
I don’t have any cravings to have a drink. I suppose it helps that I’m not supposed to drink any liquids during meals, and so the link between having a drink with dinner has been broken.
It also helps that – in these COVID times – there’s no social occasions happening where drink is available.
Alcohol for bariatric surgery patients
Surgeons normally suggest that gastric bypass patients don’t drink at all for the first 6 month after surgery. During this period of rapid weight loss, alcohol can cause damage the liver. It could also lead to Hypoglycemia when the blood sugar level drops to dangerously low levels.
After the 6-month point, it’s advisable to only drink in small quantities. With the altered digestive system, alcohol arrives in the small intestine (where it is absorbed) a lot more quickly than it would have prior to surgery, and also stays around for longer. So a person will get drunk quicker on less drink and stay drunk longer.
There’s also the risk that people might transfer their food addiction into an alcohol addiction. If in the past they have turned to food in response to their emotions – to reduce stress, depression or anxiety – then it’s possible they may turn to alcohol instead. Studies have indicated that as many as 20% of people who have had a gastric bypass will develop some form of alcohol or substance dependency – that’s three times the rate as in the general population.
And so the advice seems to be to avoid drinking altogether if you can. But if you do drink, then only have a small amount, and drink infrequently. And always allow a much longer time to sober up than in the past.
There’s also the thing to remember that alcohol is really high in calories but low in nutrients. So a few drinks can often slow down weight loss, or even contribute to weight gain.
Personally I think I’d rather get my calories from food.