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Why Does it Matter if I Drink with My Meals

By Pam Davis, RN CBN


Nearly all bariatric programs have specific recommendations regarding your eating and drinking patterns after surgery. The most consistent recommendations are to drink a minimum of 64 ounces of no calorie or low calorie fluids daily and avoid drinking with your meals. Most people find the single hardest change is to not drink with meals.


My clinicians find that when patients are struggling to meet their weight loss goals or they’ve regained a few pounds, one of the habits they frequently have resumed is drinking with their meals. Gastric banding, sleeve gastrectomy and roux-en-y gastric bypass all work using a restrictive component, meaning you feel full with a smaller amount of food. You want that feeling of fullness to last. When you drink with your meal, you are thinning the consistency of your food. So, it will take more to fill you up and the food can move through your stomach quicker, which will decrease how long you feel full.


Try this experiment at home. Dump a container of cottage cheese into your kitchen sink without turning the water on and see how long it takes that cottage cheese to slowly empty down the drain. Now dump a second container of cottage cheese into your sink and turn the water on with just the slightest trickle of water and see how quickly that cottage cheese empties down the drain. So for best results, do not drink with your meals. Wait at least 30 minutes (ideally an hour) after eating to resume drinking.