Ultimately, figuring out the truth behind every different weight-loss surgery can be impossible. Each procedure is unique and has different myths and misconceptions.  There are a lot of misconceptions and assumptions about weight loss surgery that can be hard to trust. Here are the top 8 bariatrics myths that patients ask us all the time.

#1 Is My Stomach Going to Stretch Out?

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False: Stretching out your stomach is one of the most popular bariatric surgery myths around. Weight loss surgery patients and those who are considering weight loss surgery, particularly gastric bypass surgery, are often worried that they may “stretch” their pouch again after undergoing the procedure.

There are also many bariatric patients who, several years after surgery, still wonder if they have extended their stomach pouch since they no longer have the same fullness they did in the first 18 months after undergoing the surgery. Is it possible to stretch the stomach pouch created by gastric bypass or gastric sleeve? If your pouch does stretch, what can be done to reverse the effects?

First, try doing the pouch test to see how big your stomach may have stretched.

Stretching Your Pouch/Sleeve

Your pouch will naturally stretch a little over time; however, it is unlikely to extend to its original size. Although you experience physical symptoms and emotional regret after a particularly rich meal, it is very unlikely that you have caused permanent damage. That said, you control your body and the way you treat it. Here are some tips to manage your stomach pouch or sleeve to ensure you maintain a healthy weight in the coming years:

#2 Should I Avoid Carbonation?

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True: Avoid soda and sparkling soft drinks. Regular sodas and fizzy drinks contain a lot of sugar and calories, which can cause you to quickly gain weight and cause secretion syndrome if you undergo gastric bypass surgery.

Diet sodas have zero calories, but ironically, they can still make you gain weight. Many studies show that diet sodas cause certain hormonal reactions that cause the body to store more fat. In addition, if you drink a soft drink, even sparkling water / carbonated water, while you eat, the drink pushes food through your stomach faster. This means that food does not stay in your pocket for so long and you lose the feeling of fullness and increase the chances of you eating more.

Finally, the gas released by the drink can make the food forced through the bag enlarge your stoma (new stomach pouch from gastric bypass surgery), which will also allow you to eat more at the same time, which goes against the weight loss process. Stick with water, tea without caffeine and, coffee (in moderation), and other non-carbonated drinks for better results.

See guidelines for drinking coffee and caffeine after gastric sleeve surgery

#3 Not Allowed to Drink From a Straw After Surgery

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True: The reason why the use of straws or chewing gum is not allowed is that air can get into your new stomach pouch. It does not seem to be harmful until you have extremely painful air bubbles in your bag and have to wait for them to rise or fall.

Another reason is that the air takes up space in your pocket which could be filled with proteins. Because the stomach is full of air, you get less protein than you could have if you opted out of using a straw or chewing gum. Even if your straw is in your cup and you have a lot of liquid, when you pull this straw before the liquid enters your mouth, you will still breath in too much air into your stomach.

DO NOT USE A STRAW AFTER SURGERY. 

#4 Drinking Soda Causes Dumping Syndrome

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True: Soda should be avoided after any form of gastric weight loss surgery because it can cause several problems. Soft and carbonated beverages such as soft drinks are best excluded from your bariatric surgery diet because they can cause the dumping syndrome.

If you have had a gastric bypass, eating or drinking something high in sugar can lead to dumping syndrome. This complication is caused by the sugar in the diet that enters the small intestine at an abnormally fast rate, which can lead to symptoms such as weakness, nausea, cold sweats, paleness, heart problems, and diarrhea.

Learn more: 10 Practical and Effective Tips to Stop Drinking Soda and Energy Drinks

#5 You Must Eat Small Amounts  of Food Only

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True: AVOID OVEREATING! Before weight loss surgery, many patients would not think twice before taking seconds, thirds … even quarters during a meal. After weight loss surgery, you can only eat a few bites because the pouch makes you feel full with less food. In the first few months after your procedure, write down exactly how much you are eating to feel “full”.

Avoid helping yourself for a few seconds when your stomach is at full capacity. Also, eat slowly to let in that feeling of “fullness”. By measuring your food, taking your time during a meal, and being attentive when you are full, you can avoid stretching your pouch.

Learn more: Risks of Overeating – Before & After Weight Loss Surgery

#6 I Can’t Eat and Drink at the Same Time

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True: Eat and drink slowly. Eating or drinking too quickly can cause dumping syndrome. Food and liquids enter the small intestine quickly and in larger amounts than usual, causing nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating, and possibly diarrhea.

To avoid dumping syndrome, choose foods and liquids that are low in fat and sugar, eat and drink slowly, and wait 30 to 45 minutes before or after each meal to drink fluids. Take at least 30 minutes to eat and 30 to 60 minutes to drink 1 cup (237 milliliters) of liquid.

Learn more: Dumping Syndrome Guide: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options

#7 I Have to Eat Protein First for Every Meal

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False: Concentrate on protein-rich foods. Immediately after surgery, eating foods rich in protein can help you heal. Foods that are high in protein and fat are a good long-term option after your surgery. Try adding lean cuts of beef, chicken, pork, fish, or beans to your diet. Low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt are also good sources of protein.

Learn more: How to Track Macros After Gastric Sleeve Surgery – Carbs, Protein, & Fats

#8 Can I Take Extended Release Pills?

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False: Bariatric surgery reduces the surface of the stomach, which causes several problems with medication and the absorption of vitamins/minerals. It is important to take into account the formulation of each medication.

In general, medications are available in the form of liquids, tablets, and immediate-release capsules. They can also be products of extended-release, sustained-release, and time-release products. This is definitely one of the top bariatric surgery myths, and we need to uncover it.

Immediate release products:

  • Dissolve and are absorbed immediately in the stomach

Extended-release and sustained-release products:

  • They are designed to deliver medication over an extended time period.
  • Many times, they need different parts of the stomach and small intestine to deliver the appropriate amount of medication.
  • Gastric bypass surgery turns your stomach into a small pouch and shortens your bowel. Products that are extended-release and sustained release will not be absorbed properly. It is best to avoid these products.

Therefore, immediate-release products are the best option for a patient after bariatric surgery.

Keep in mind that some medications come in the form of a transdermal patch, which can be applied to your skin, or in the form of a sublingual formulation, which is placed under the tongue.

If you have difficulty determining if a medication is an immediate release, consider a liquid formulation because many medications that come as a liquid are immediate-release products. You can also ask your pharmacist which products are appropriate for you to take.

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Medications to Avoid

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There are medications that should be avoided after any weight loss surgery, including gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and adjustable gastric band surgeries. These medications are aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These medications can irritate your stomach after surgery and increase your chances of developing a gastric ulcer.

Pay attention to the combination or multi-symptom products, since these products may contain medications that you should avoid. It is important to read all the ingredients in a product to make sure these medications are not part of the product.

Understanding what’s real and fake is the goal when uncovering the most popular bariatric surgery myths. We provide our patients with a full understanding throughout the entire weight loss surgery process.

Contact us today to learn more!

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