How Bad is it for Gastric Sleeve Patients to Drink and Eat at the Same Time?

You might have heard that it’s best if VSG patients don’t drink water while they’re eating. If you’re used to sipping during a meal, you may wonder if it’s really all that bad—and why. Today’s blog dives into the topic, as well as tips from sleeve brothers and sisters to help you stop.

Why shouldn’t I drink while I eat?
Many people believe those following a gastric sleeve diet should hold off on liquids until the end of a meal because water will fill them up. Hence, they won’t be able to consume enough high-quality calories. That’s a small part of it, of course. After gastric sleeve in Mexico, patients’ stomachs are only a fraction of the size they were before, and getting enough calories can sometimes be an issue. The larger issue, however, is actually the opposite: drinking while you eat or immediately afterward can “push” food through your sleeve and cause you to feel hungry again too soon.

There are some good videos on the web demonstrating what we call the funnel effect, and I highly recommend watching one. Seeing what just a few sips of water can do to the food in your sleeve is the ultimate reminder. .In a nutshell, your new stomach is designed to hold food in the upper portion, where the nerve endings tell your brain that you’re full. When you sip on a liquid, that food gets pushed through to a lower part of your stomach, and you start to feel hungry again.

Help! How do I stop my eating-while-drink habit?
Habits are, indeed, hard to break. Here are some tips from fellow sleevers:
• “I leave my drink somewhere other than where I’m eating,” says Peggy.
• When dining at restaurants, Tonya says, “I don’t let my server bring me water…if they do I ask them to take it away. And at home I just don’t set any for myself.”
• “If I drink when I eat it’s inevitable that I will get sick. Believe me I don’t forget!” says Cindy.
• Liana says that scheduling her water intake and meal times is crucial. “(If) I don’t plan my eating and drinking well enough, I’ll be both starving AND super thirsty,” she says, adding that she then has to decide which need to take care of first.
• Finally, Mary, who is 19 months out from vertical sleeve gastrectomy, offers some hope for die-hard meal sippers. “It gets easier. I can’t believe how much I don’t like drinking with my meal. All those years drinking with meals. Who knew—I like it much better now.”

How do I get my water in with so many restrictions?
This is a legitimate question. It can be a struggle for many sleevers to drink enough water each day, let alone if they’re prevented from drinking during meals and for about half an hour afterward. How to cope? First, my advice is to seriously limit snacking. If you space meals far enough apart, you’ll have plenty of time to drink between meals, but if you throw a couple of snacks in there, it can have a major impact. Next, as a sleeve veteran mentioned above, plan when you’ll have those meals so you have clear windows when you can sip, sip, sip.

Like so many things about VSG, everyone has a different experience. Some won’t need to be reminded about waiting 30 to 45 minutes after a meal to eat because it feels too uncomfortable. Others won’t feel any discomfort, especially the longer they’ve had their sleeve. And for some, a sip or two during a meal doesn’t seem to have as much funneling effect that it does on others. The bottom line is that skipping water during and immediately after a meal can be a big help in reaching your goals after gastric sleeve in Mexico.

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