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You Ask, I Answer: Drinking Fluids During Meals a Bad Idea?

Pouring Water into GlassAs a bariatric patient, we’re not supposed to drink anything while eating or for a while after.

It has to do with the “pouch” our surgeries create that help us feel full on small amounts of food, and the drinking flushes the food through meaning we get hungry faster, eat more, etc.

Anyways… someone said something on a site I’m on about how nobody should be drinking while eating, since even a normal stomach would have a similar reaction.

Is there any merit to that?

– Rob (last name withheld)
(Location unknown)

None whatsoever.  This is why armchair nutritionists on online message boards should rarely be trusted.

What you are referring to, Rob, is a condition known as dumping syndrome.

It’s quite common following bariatric surgery, and occurs when food travels from the stomach to the small intestine much more quickly than it should.

A small number of exceptions aside, individuals who have not had bariatric surgery do not need to worry about this.

As I always say, our bodies are very, very smart machines.

A regular stomach not only acts as a large reservoir of now-liquified broken down food (it can hold roughly 1.5 to 2 quarts!), but also transports that into the small intestine in a controlled fashion thanks to a powerful, ring-shaped muscle known as the pyloric sphincter.

Bariatric surgery results in the pyloric sphincter being bypassed during digestion, hence the possible complications.



  1. Erika said on February 1st, 2010

    Just wanted to let you know that not ALL bariatric surgeries bypass the pyloric sphincter. I had a Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal Switch. I specifically chose it because there is no blind pouch, no dumping syndrome, and therefore I can avoid many of the complications incurred by others who have a typical RNY or lap-band. However, I have a great deal more malabsorption, which has its own issues. Since having surgery I’ve become obsessed with nutrition and cooking, and your site is great! -Erika

  2. Andy Bellatti said on February 3rd, 2010


    You are absolutely right.

    For the sake of this post I was referring to the more common RNY procedure (especially since that was the procedure the person posing the question had undergone)

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  1. Former Fat Dudes! » Blog Archive » I asked, he answered: Drinking While Eating