Watch your Alcohol Intake, Gastric Bypass Patients

Posted by Admin on February 17, 2011
Gastric bypass patients are educated about food and the importance of limiting their food intake and practicing careful moderation. However a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, shows that gastric bypass patients need to be careful with their alcohol intake as well. This study showed that patients who had gastric bypass take longer to process alcohol, which could lead to overindulging while drinking.

It’s been shown through previous studies that gastric bypass patients have difficulty adjusting to the physical and psychological changes after the procedure, including an increased risk of depression, alcoholism and other substance abuse issues. This research indicates that for patients who underwent a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) operation, they had considerably higher breath alcohol content (BAC) and took significantly more time to return to a sober state after drinking, compared with BAC levels tested prior to having their procedure.”  The study was done with 19 morbidly obese patients before their RBY procedure and then following the procedure.

The senior author of the study, John M. Morton, MD, MPH, FACS, and an associate professor of surgery at Stanford (CA) University said that, “Despite its [bariatric surgeries] benefits, we want to raise the potential concern for RYGB patients who continue to drink after their operation because they may tend to overuse alcohol, which can, in turn, lead to weight regain, nutritional deficiencies, and/or alcohol dependence."

The researchers indicate that based on these results, new guidelines should be given to gastric bypass patients, specifically, according to the head of the study, Dr. Morton, "Our recommendation to all of our RYGB patients is never drink and drive and to limit consumption of alcohol to one standard drink (one 12-oz beer, 5-oz wine, or 2-oz liquor) for every two hours. The key to safeguarding bariatric surgery benefits is to provide appropriate patient education."

Sally Garneski
Weber Shandwick Worldwide

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