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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

But wait! I need my coffee & diet coke!

Yesterday we talked about the importance of water for a WLS patient. That leads to another commonly asked question: Why not coffee & soda?

Bariatric guidelines strongly recommended against any liquid besides water during the phase of rapid weight loss: specifically, drinks containing caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase heartbeat, increase blood pressure, and interrupt sleep. Caffeine is known to cause nervousness or irritability. The effects of caffeine seem to be exaggerated for the WLS patient because liquid is rapidly dumped into the small intestine and absorbed quickly by the body. In addition, caffeine is a diuretic, which causes the body to lose water by increasing the amount of urine. This is only water loss, not weight loss – it can cause dehydration.

Before surgery many of us were hooked on caffeine drinks for the energy boost they provided. You will find, as I have, that the consistent intake of lean protein and restrictive diet prevents the energy highs and lows experienced by unchecked eating behavior. Sugary carbohydrates have long been blamed for severe energy swings, and a gastric bypass patient will not be frequently indulging in such chemical chaos. A small steady diet of lean protein sustains a constant energy level and caffeine will not be missed.

Carbonated beverages, both diet and sugared should be avoided. The carbonation is uncomfortable for the tiny tummy and the sugar and processing ingredients induce the body to a state of panic. The body functions are working around the clock to heal the wounds of surgery and sustain life on limited energy intake while flushing the waste and toxins related to obesity. If you feed this overworked system a beverage beside water it must extract the water from the processing ingredients and eliminate the waste products you fed it unnecessarily. Doesn’t it make more sense nurture your healing body with pure clear water?

After your weight loss is stabilized it is acceptable to moderately incorporate other beverages into your day. Do not forsake your water intake for other less beneficial beverages. These days, rather than drink a pot of low-budget coffee in the morning I enjoy one lovely, good quality cup of coffee in the afternoon after work. I consider it a splurge and a treat, not an addiction.

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