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Jay Michael Snow, MD

Healthier Alcohol Choices

Posted on August 23, 2017, in Weight Loss

After undergoing bariatric surgery,  creating healthier habits is the cornerstone to successful weight loss. Patients who have lost weight with gastric sleeve, gastric balloon, or gastric bypass need to develop healthful routines.  One of the most important is making sure that your diet consists mainly of nutritious foods that deliver high levels of nutrients and protein without adding empty calories. So… where does that leave alcohol? Many experts suggest abstaining from alcohol completely after weight loss surgery. While that is ideal, we understand that there are special occasions when you may want to partake in the celebration. We recommend making water your #1 beverage most of the time, but for the holidays, big games, or special events if you do decide to have an adult beverage, follow these tips.*



  • Know Your Limit If you’ve had vertical sleeve gastrectomy (gastric sleeve) or gastric bypass, then your body will metabolize alcohol differently than before bariatric surgery. Your smaller stomach cannot break down alcohol the same way, so you may get more intoxicated from less alcohol than you were used to prior to surgery.
  • Plan Ahead Have a small, high protein snack before going out. This will help prevent overindulging. Bring a healthy snack with you for later in the day, or help plan the party menu to include dishes that work with your diet plan. Since your body may react differently to alcohol, plan to have a designated driver even if you’re only having one drink.
  • Make Smarter Drink Choices Drinks like margaritas, sugary cocktails and premium beers are loaded with calories. Here are some tips for smarter drink choices:
    • Wine – a 5 ounce glass of red or white wine contains less than 150 calories and may have antioxidant benefits as well.
    • Bloody Mary – Avoid pre-made mixes and make a fresh bloody mary with no-sugar-added tomato juice. Pile on the veggies for extra nutrition.
    • Light Beer – light beer can be a low calorie choice, but be careful with carbonation which can make cause discomfort for some bariatric patients.
    • Hot Toddy – cozy up with hot herbal tea mixed with one ounce or less of whiskey, a squeeze of lemon, and a cinnamon stick.
    • On the Rocks – skip the mixers and enjoy one ounce of your favorite spirit with plenty of ice and garnish with fresh berries, mint or a twist of lime.


We’re Here for You

Regular alcohol consumption is not recommended for healthy weight loss success, but by following these tips and drinking responsibly, you can make smarter choices on special occasions. Dr. Jay Snow and the team at St. Louis Bariatrics are honored to be your lifelong partners in health. Feel free to contact us with any questions or call us at (314) 366-4874 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Snow or our registered dietitian.



*Occasional drinking can be part of a healthy lifestyle if it is saved for special events, in moderation, and with thoughtful planning. Always drink responsibly and within the limits of the law. Alcohol should never be used as a coping mechanism or consumed in excess. If you ever feel that you are not in control of your drinking, please call The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s free, confidential, 24/7 hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

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