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Caffeine and Bariatric Surgery

Coffee makes the world go ‘round, giving adults the extra dose (or doses) of energy they need to make it through their busy days. That burst of energy is due to caffeine, a highly effective stimulant that is safe when consumed within moderate doses. But what about caffeine and bariatric surgery, can you have caffeine post-op?

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Effects of Caffeine and Bariatric Surgery Patients

After bariatric surgery, regardless of which procedure they choose, patients need to follow their new dietary guidelines. Since their new stomach is much smaller after treatment, getting proper hydration and nutrition can be challenging. This is why our patients must choose foods and drinks that will hydrate them, provide valuable vitamins and nutrients, and support healthy weight loss.

Photo of Coffee Bean for an article about caffeine and bariatric surgery And as delicious and refreshing that cup of joe can be, it is, unfortunately, lacking in many of these areas. Coffee and other caffeinated beverages can have adverse effects on individuals recovering from bariatric surgery. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning that it is dehydrating. Some additional effects of caffeine include:

  • Caffeine is an appetite stimulant, which will make you feel hungry.
  • Caffeine is also highly acidic, which increases the already high risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) after bariatric surgery.
  • Most people drink coffee with milk, cream, and sugar, which are considered empty calories that can make weight loss difficult.

Now for the million-dollar question…

When Can I Drink Caffeine Again?


Ideally, we do not encourage patients to consume coffee or other caffeinated drinks post-op because of coffee’s potentially damaging effects on individuals recovering from bariatric surgery.

The Be Slim Bariatrics team stance on caffeine and bariatric surgery is that they recommend a minimum strict 30-days avoidance of decaf coffee and 3-month avoidance of caffeinated coffee as well as other caffeinated beverages. This includes tea (black and green), energy drinks, and soda. And although 3-months is the minimum, if a patient experiences acid reflux or other forms of gastric distress during bariatric surgery recovery, they may need to avoid coffee for even longer.

Coffee should not be consumed until a person has completely recovered from their bariatric procedure and is no longer experiencing any ill side effects of the surgery.

Once recovered, patients can slowly reintroduce coffee or other caffeinated beverages back into their diet. However, the amount of coffee consumed should be minimal. It is recommended that patients limit their consumption to one or two 8-ounce cups of coffee per day, at most, to avoid complications.

How to Drink Coffee Post-Op


In addition to limiting the amount of coffee they drink, patients should also be careful about how they drink their coffee. Gone are the days of creamy mocha Frappuccino and extra sugary lattes. Black coffee, for example, has no calories, but not many enjoy the bitter taste on its own and will still quite often opt for milk and sugar. And that’s perfectly fine! There are still plenty of ways to enjoy a cup of coffee that won’t undo your weight loss progress.

Some new coffee additions to consider include:

  • nonfat milk or milk substitutes that have been fortified with calcium
  • sugar-free dairy and non-dairy creamers

Most grocery stores now sell these products on their shelves for easy accessibility, while others can be found online. Some of the options listed are enriched with up to 20 grams of protein per serving! This makes it much easier for some patients to meet their new nutritional requirements, as the average patient must now consume around 60 grams of protein per day.

In the end, it’s not really a farewell to caffeine but rather a re-introduction. When done safely under the care of our nutritionist, coffee can be a part of a healthy diet.

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