#SleeveLife: I Walked Into My Nutritionist’s Office With Coffee – You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!

47522679 - hot coffee cup woman hand pop art retro styleThere are a lot of things that are off limits after bariatric surgery, and booze, sugar and deep-fried foods are right up there at the top of the list.

But what about coffee?

The answer, it seems, depends on who you ask. And to make matters more confusing, there’s plenty of conflicting information out there.

One month after gastric sleeve surgery, I had follow-up appointments scheduled back-to-back with the nutritionist and the surgeon, whose offices are conveniently located in the same building. First up: the nutritionist, who wanted to make sure I was getting enough protein and plenty of fluids.

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When I walked in to her office, I had what happened to be a cup of herbal tea in my hand – yeah, I do that every once in a while; don’t judge me. I put it down on the desk and took a seat. She looked up from my file. She looked at the cup.  She looked at me, and her eyes narrowed in suspicion.

“That’s not coffee, is it?”

I assured her that it was not, and even showed her the teabag.

“Good, because you’re not supposed to have caffeine. It dehydrates you.”

imagesNext up was the surgeon. Fresh off the admonition from the nutritionist, I wanted to get out in front of this one.

“Don’t worry, this isn’t coffee.”

“A little bit of coffee isn’t going to kill you,” he said as his pen scratched across the paperwork in my file. “In fact, it might even be good for you.”


“As long as you don’t load it down with sugar, and don’t drink too much, you should be fine.”

So how much is too much? He asked me how much I drink. I told him half a cup a day, maybe.

“Yeah, you’re fine.”

So, which is it? Coffee, or no coffee?

6450563_sThe American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, one of the leading professional organizations for bariatric surgeons and related healthcare professionals, has this to say about the matter: “Caffeine fluids have been shown to be as good as any others for keeping you hydrated. Still, it is a good idea to avoid caffeine for at least the first thirty days after surgery while your stomach is extra sensitive.”

The thing is, caffeine often comes packaged in a form that includes sugar – a lot of sugar (yeah, I’m lookin’ at you, Starbucks) – which will derail your weight loss quicker than anything. So that’s something to watch out for.

The bottom line, then, is this: once your stomach settles down, a little bit of coffee won’t kill you. That said, everybody’s different. If you can’t seem to tolerate the occasional cuppa joe post-surgery, don’t drink it.

Simple as that.


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