Study: Alcohol, gastric bypass don't mix

March 11, 2011 at 3:13 PM

LOS ANGELES, March 11 (UPI) -- Alcohol can pose significant problems for people who've undergone gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, a U.S. study says.

The study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons says changes in the way the body absorbs and metabolizes alcohol after bariatric surgery causes these patients to register as intoxicated on a breathalyzer with less alcohol intake, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

After drinking a single 5-ounce glass of red wine before the surgery, study subjects had an average breath alcohol content of .024 percent, well below the level at which most states consider a driver intoxicated, the newspaper said.

However, three months after surgery the same amount of wine resulted in an average breath alcohol content of .059 percent, and after six months the study group averaged .088 percent, above the .08 percent most states consider the legal threshold for intoxication.

There are other good reasons to forgo alcohol after a gastric bypass, the study authors say.

Bariatric patients that have unresolved binge-eating issues are at particular risk of "transferring" their food addiction to other substances, including alcohol, the researchers say.

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