Soda Safety After Weight Loss Surgery

Question Below Submitted By:  


After surgery, I could not eat very much in one setting so I started eating small meals throughout the day.

Unfortunately, I did not know about the evils of diet coke (that is my weak point), for I developed the bad habit of drinking diet coke with meals which enabled me to consume more, and larger portions. I may have enlarged my stoma (opening between the pouch and small intestines) as a result.

Since reading about the evils of carbonated drinks and how they enable one to consume larger portions by washing food through the pouch and enlarging the stoma, I am on withdrawal. I want to avoid having additional surgeries to adjust the stoma.

What are your thoughts about drinking soda after weight loss surgery?

Is it safe to drink at any time, such as in between meals, or should I avoid it altogether?

Is there a difference between drinking diet soda and regular soda for bariatric surgery patients?


Expert Responses to the Question Above

Surgeon response to "Soda Safety After Weight Loss Surgery"

by: John Rabkin, M.D., Pacific Laparoscopy

Dear 'Soda Drinker',

Generally, soda consumption post bariatric surgery is discouraged for many of the reasons that you outlined in your question.

However, drinking some soda IN MODERATION, enjoyed between meals, is acceptable; as you state, you should avoid drinking with your meals.

Certainly, 'diet' soda is preferable to sugared sodas as consumption of liquid calories will defeat your weight loss from your bariatric surgery which is dependent on the principle of caloric restriction to effect the weight loss; this restriction only is effective when consuming solid food so calories consumed in a liquid state should be avoided.

Furthermore, the intent of the procedure that you underwent is to restrict/limit the size of your meals (your "small meals") and you should avoid snacking between meals and/or increasing the frequency of your meals as this also will interfere with achieving the weight loss for which you underwent the bariatric procedure.

John Rabkin,
M.D. Pacific Laparoscopy

(click here for Dr. Rabkin's full bio & contact info)

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the details provided. The above should never replace the advice of your local physicians as they have the ability to evaluate you in person.

Related Pages:
- Bariatric Diet (What you eat)
- Bariatric Eating (How you eat)
- Bariatric Vitamins


Patient Responses to the Question Above

How many meals should we eat?

by: MJ


I had surgery 3 years ago. Lost 81.4 lb, but have regained about 12 lb this year. I haven't been good though, and I know the pounds I've packed up are all my fault. I've been doing everything I shouldn't: eating lots of carbs and sugary foods, drinking with meals, snacking, and not exercising. I've also noticed I can eat a lot more than what I used to be able to eat right after surgery, and that scares me a lot! I don't want to gain all the weight back so I've decided I better do something before those 12 lb become 20 or a larger monster number.
Today I started a 10-day pouch reset diet, and hopefully, once I'm done, I'll be able to go back to basics (proteins, veggies, and no sugar.) However, I feel I didn't get valuable info that I'm now trying to find from my surgeon. When I got sleeved, my doctor simply gave me a post-op diet and told me to avoid carbs and sugars, and to exercise. I was never told how many grams of proteins, carbs, and fats I should eat, nor was I explained about the consequences of drinking while eating. I also remember my diet had 5 small meals, and I've been reading a lot here about how we shouldn't snack. Were my instructions wrong? Am I supposed to only have 3 meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) throughout the day and no snacks at all? What about after exercising... am I allowed to have something? How should I divide my nutritional intake? I'd really love some guidance 'cause I don't think I got enough info from my doctor 3 years ago, and now that I'm trying to get back in track, I feel I need that info I don't have.

Looking forward to you reply and advice.



Soda addiction

by: Franquee

Letting go of Caffeine-Free Diet Coke was the hardest thing I had to do after by gastric sleeve surgery.

After learning that the gases in the soda could enlarge my stomach pouch, I vowed to never have any ever again but...I really missed it.

Even my students knew me by the always ever-present can of CFDC on my desk.

Solution: I bought the Soda Stream syrup for CFDC, just added water and although it's a flat cola, it's still the cola taste I remember.

Not perfect but a good compromise.

Sometimes, to an 8 oz glass of flat CFDC I will add 0.5 oz of the bubbly stuff, if someone around me is drinking it.

It adds the tiniest tingle on the tongue but no carbonation.

Caffeine free diet sodas

by: Kesha Woods

Is it ok to drink caffeine free diet sodas in moderation after gastric bypass surgery? Not drinking with your meal but after you have waited at least 30 minutes to an hour

I love plain unflavoured soda water

by: Anna

Hi, I am scheduled to have bariatric surgery and enter a stage of a very low-calorie diet in preparation for the surgery. I have been told that this very low-calorie diet is to reduce the fat in the liver to make things easier for the surgeon.

I do not drink tea, coffee, alcohol, milk, nor sugary drinks (personal preference - and have not drunk those things ever).

I do love soda water. and occasionally tomato juice if dining out.

My doctor has advised me that I cannot drink soda water after my surgery. Currently, I drink about 1.5 liters of soda water (and occasionally water) every day. I have been told that soda water stretches the stomach after bariatric surgery. Thus I do not want that stretching to happen, after all the existing preparation I have introduced in order to have the surgery.

I am not yet on a very low-calorie diet, but will be shortly.

Will I ever be able to add small amounts of soda water back into my day after the surgery?

I am also doing 3 hours of lap swimming once a week and attending the gym for two hours twice a week. This has been going on for 12 months now as the doctor said he wanted my stomach muscles in better shape before any surgery. I really enjoy the exercise. How soon after the surgery will I be able to resume my exercise level?


Headaches from not eating

by: Kali

I get headaches when I don't eat enough or not frequently enough.

I fear if I get the surgery I won't eat enough for my body and the headaches will continue.

Should I still get the surgery? Any advice would be appreciated.

by: Patrick Furlong

This is worth following up with your surgeon about. However, it is worth nothing that you can still eat, frequently, after weight loss surgery. The biggest, most notable change is in how much you eat. Portions are smaller after all weight loss surgeries, but you can eat (healthy) meals many times throughout the day.

Nothing helps

by: Sarah Sprague

My 1 month post OP and has not stopped vomiting since the days of her surgery. Nothing has helped...Oct or prescribed. She has been to 3 different ERs and nobody seems to know what's going on. I understand this is a common complication but to this degree? Nothing they've given her has helped her nausea and vomiting. Someone please help her....

Being nauseous isn't a good thing

by: Liz123

You start that your mom has been to ER at least 3 times since her surgery because of nausea. What does her surgical team have to say about her condition?
Has her surgeon met her at the ER at any time ?

Has she been told she is dehydrated? That is VERY common after surgery and can make patients ( especially those who had surgery no too long ago extremely nauseous)

If she is NOT dehydrated ( and the staff at the ER should check EACH time she goes in )

PLEASE Make sure she has been checked for dehydration.

Hope she feels better soon. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes and have her slowly sip 1-2 ounces of room temp water ( or cold if she prefers) then set the timer again and KEEP doing it / sip sip sip each time the alarm goes off.


by: MCp

I’m 5 weeks post op and for anyone considering surgery. this is a MAJOR game changer. I’m disgusted by all my favourite foods. Every type of animal protein makes me throw up. Some foods cause cramping. It’s really dishaeartening at my stage.

I tried to eat 2 bites of a cheeseburger (no bun) I immediately threw it up. The social aspect of life is hit the hardest.

On the plus side, I’ve lost 38 lbs... it’s easier for me to stick to shakes.. but that’s me.

I doctor up my shakes in the blender with blueberries, a half banana , 2 cups of spinach, 1/4 cup of Greek plain yogurt, 1/2 cup of soy milk, 1 tlbs of naturally low sugar peanut butter.

For some reason chopped cabbage salad does well for me too.

I’ve been lucky and have had no complications. I’ve never had any of the side effects except spitting up food(like throwing up but no acid.

I think it’s suppose to get better.

Good luck

Re: Nothing Helps

by: Jennifer Divine

I had this same problem. I had been to the surgeon more than a few times and we always talked about it. He thought I might be eating too fast. He thought I might be drinking too fast. We tried everything. My surgeon walks on water to me, so I know he did everything he could. I had the bypass in April of 2017. Fast forward to September, I hadn't been feeling great and the vomiting was 10 times worse this week.

I literally could not keep ANYTHING down anymore. Mind you, I had been throwing up since the beginning. I was driving in my truck and my hands and legs started to "atrophy". Everything cramped up. My whole body got warm and I couldn't grab the wheel anymore.

I had to be taken to the ER. After a long ER visit, I was told that I was not only dehydrated, but that my potassium was so low, that I would have died within about 24 hours. I was transferred by ambulance to my bariatric hospital. We had to get my potassium levels up, which was QUITE a chore and was painful, so that they could do further testing. They had me do an endoscopy.

Turns out that I had had an ulcer and the scar tissue from it, closed the hole that my food was digested down, to the point where I only had a pinpoint opening there and NOTHING was getting through. After 3 endoscopies using a balloon to try and open the hole up, they went in and surgically opened the hole. This was my experience and why I vomited so much. Might be worth getting an endoscopy for. It doesn't hurt at all. It just like taking a nap.

Good luck!

Pain in upper abdoma.

by: Donna

I had roux & Y procedure in 2007. Six months to the day I was operated on for breast cancer. When I was going through chemo I started having pain in my upper abdomen if I sat for too long or when I tried to lay down.

The only thing that relieves the pain is to stand up. I have been to doctor after doctor. As of 8-3-2018 I still have the pain, it is so severe that I cry. Has anyone had this problem and if so what helped?

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