We all know it’s important to eat right – and drink right – after weight loss surgery. However, there is a fair amount of misinformation out there about just what that means. I’m going to give it to you straight and debunk some of the more common weight loss surgery nutrition myths.
You can only absorb 30 grams of protein at a time.
This seems to be a pretty popular myth, but the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery says it is just a myth. Now, most weight loss surgery folks only seem to need about 60 to 90 grams of protein a day (your blood tests will let you know for sure if you’re getting enough protein) and it is better to spread that out over the course of the day, so you really only need 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal. If you take in more protein than that, you will absorb it, though.
You know you’ll absorb those calories, too, right? If you couldn’t absorb the protein, you couldn’t absorb the calories, either.
Drinking carbonated beverages will make your pouch explode (or at least stretch it).
It won’t. I promise. It might give you painful gas but it cannot stretch your pouch (or your sleeve, if you had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy or duodenal switch).
Regardless of which weight loss surgery you had, you have a small opening at the top of your pouch or sleeve where food and liquids enter. If you had the lap band or Rouz-en-Y gastric bypass, you also have a small opening at the bottom of your pouch. Because of that, liquids don’t stay in the pouch long at all, which is why they recommend not drinking with meals; drinking with meals washes food right out of your pouch. If you had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy or duodenal switch, you have a pyloric valve between your sleeve and small intestine, so liquids stay in there longer. As long as you are able to burp and pass gas, though, pressure from the carbonation can’t build up too much in your pouch or sleeve.
There are plenty of reasons to limit your intake of carbonated drinks like soda. No one considers soda to be a health food, right? Regular soda is high in calories, the artificial sweetener in diet soda isn’t very good for you (the same artificial sweetener is used in many other products post-ops often use, though, like flavored waters and sugar free pudding cups), some studies suggest soda (including diet soda) can lead to kidney problems, and so on. I don’t recommend drinking large amounts of it. You don’t need to worry about it stretching your pouch, though.
Caffeinated beverages cause dehydration.
According to the Mayo Clinic and numerous other sources, this is simply not true. Caffeine, at least in moderation, does not cause dehydration. There are good reasons why many people prefer to limit caffeine or avoid it altogether (it causes your heart to beat faster, can raise your blood pressure, may cause anxiety, may cause trouble sleeping, may cause restlessness, may cause diarrhea, may cause heartburn) and I’m not suggesting you guzzle coffee by the gallon. A cup of coffee is not going to cause dehydration, though.
Caffeinated beverages cause ulcers.
According to John Hopkins Health Library, most ulcers are caused by a bacterium called H. pylori. Caffeine stimulates your stomach to produce more acid, which can make an existing ulcer worse and exacerbate ulcer pain. As mentioned above, there are many good reasons to limit your intake of caffeine. It is unlikely to actually cause an ulcer, though.
American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Nutritional Guidelines.
Mayo Clinic. Caffeine.
Medline Plus. Caffeine in the Diet.
John Hopkins Health Library. Stomach and Duodenal Ulcers.
Also by this contributor:
Frequently Asked Questions About Vitamins After Weight Loss Surgery
Protein for Weight Loss Surgery Patients Hair Loss After Weight Loss Surgery