Posted - May 12, 2009

Alcohol after Gastric Bypass Surgery

Getting drunk after a glass of wine? It may seem like a long shot but a small study shows that people who undergo gastric bypass surgery get drunk faster and take longer to sober up.

The study tested 36 participants – both men and women – 17 who did not have surgery and 19 that did have surgery. The participants were given five ounces of red wine and were then administered a breathalyzer test to check alcohol levels in five-minute intervals until blood alcohol levels reached zero.

What they found was sobering. More than seventy percent of surgery patients reached a blood level of .08 – legal intoxication. Two reached levels above .15 – which is seriously intoxicated.

The control group? Most of them never went above .05 on the breathalyzer.

Not only did the gastric bypass patients get more intoxicated, but it took them longer to sober up after the alcohol was ingested. On average, the surgical group took 108 minutes to sober up from the five ounces of wine, wherein the control group sobered up at an average of 72 minutes.

What does this mean for anyone who has chosen to lose weight and start a new lifestyle using gastric bypass surgery? It means that gastric bypass patients who consume alcohol should evaluate their behavior and be aware of the following:

  • Alcohol is a calorie dense liquid which makes it harder to lose weight if you drink it
  • Alcohol is a stomach irritant so you should refrain from drinking it for the first 6-12 months following your surgery
  • Alcohol is rich in carbohydrates and may cause dumping syndrome
  • You will absorb about four times as much alcohol from a given drink after surgery as you did before surgery
  • You may be above the legal blood alcohol level to safely drive a vehicle after just one glass of wine or its equivalent
  • If you drink alcohol, wait 24 hours before driving a vehicle or operating heavy machinery

ATTENTION patients of Dr. Al-Kalla

Dr. Al-Kalla will be leaving Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas at the end of July. If you would like continue as his patient, please let us know and we can assist in getting your medical records transferred.

You may also choose to stay with Weight Loss Specialists of North Texas and we’ll gladly transfer your care to another provider on staff.

Thank you.