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Throw Away The Soda – Bariatric Edition

One of the best tips you will ever receive as a bariatric client is to not consume your calories in the form of drinks.  Sugary sodas and sweetened beverages will sabotage your nutritional regimen and the weight will hang on.  Sodas are especially a terrible thing to put into your body on a regular basis.  It is a concentrated sugar or a chemical sweetener mixed with phosphoric acid and laced with stimulants – there is nothing healthy about sodas.  It can also be quite uncomfortable for a client who has undergone bariatric surgery as the acid and carbonation can irritate the smaller sized stomach and leaving them feeling gassy, bloated and sore.

We all know that we need to kick our soda and energy drink habit before bariatric surgery but how can it be done with minimal withdrawal ?  You see, soda contains caffeine and aspartame or high fructose corn syrup – both are addictive and that’s why sometimes it feels like there is nothing quite as satisfying as a cold can of coke.  Did you know that 75% of soda is consumed by 25% of the population ?  Sodas are filled with sugar and are extremely addictive and we should not touch the stuff.  Our bodies do not even know what to do with liquid sugars and these are what lead to weight gain in children and also in adults.  

Why are soft drinks so bad for us ?  there are conditions and specific situations which can be aggravated with the influx of soft drinks which include:  food addiction, obesity, depression, asthma, diabetes, tooth decay, gum disease, behavior problems and stress eating just to name a few. 

Bariatric clients have only so much space in their new stomach.  There is a pile of competition for good use of a smaller space.  When you drink soda, you may be using space that could be used for real, live, healthy, good quality foods.  Soda contains phosphoric acid which can cause decreased absorption of calcium.  This is already a concern as a bariatric patient post surgery so don’t allow soda to impact the situation and make it worse.

We have all read online somewhere that soda will stretch our new stomach pouch.  This is a perfect fear tactic but if you ask your surgeon directly, he or she will explain to you that your new stomach cannot allow a high enough gas pressure to build up within it to stretch it out.  An understanding of the pouch will show you that a basically a bag with a hole in it cannot have a high enough gas pressure to build up within it to stretch it out.  There are so many other reasons to stay away from soda, but it’s not because it will stretch the stomach.

So how can we give up this sweet addition ? Substitute the soda or energy drink with something healthier.  Instead of just quitting, substitute with sugar free beverages or add fresh fruit to your water or sparkling water.  You shouldn’t compare the new drink with your old one. Try to enjoy the new fresh flavors and appreciate that it is a better alternative.  If you have more alternatives you will form new habits and it will be encouraging to quit the soda for good.

Throw away all the soda.  Cleanse your home of unhealthy beverages so that it is not there to tempt you.  Stay focused on your goal and for about two weeks prior to your surgery, start reaching for your new favorite substitutes.  This is the perfect time to reconsider your health decisions so you are able to make healthier choices.  By dropping the bad habits such as drinking soda, you are doing yourself a big favor for the years to come.

About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery patients for over a decade and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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