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Caution note on caffeine

Some surgeons recommend that caffeine in all forms (coffee, tea, energy drinks) be avoided forever after surgery. Others say that small amounts can be allowed starting in stage 4 of the post-surgery meal plan or later, when you are able to get all your fluid requirements.


  • Caffeine causes the body to increase urination and the flushing of water out of the body. Too much caffeine can lead to dehydration, which you are already at high risk for after surgery.
  • Caffeine drinks are often acidic, which can cause irritation to your stomach.
  • Caffeine can reduce absorption of some vitamins and minerals because your digestive system has changed.
  • Caffeine often comes paired with sugary, high-calorie drinks, which can lead to weight gain and/or dumping syndrome.
  • Too much caffeine can cause digestive issues, which can lead to diarrhea or gastric reflux.

While caffeine recommendations vary by surgeon, here are some general tips to follow if you do choose to drink caffeine:

  • Avoid caffeine until at least stage 4 (5 to 6 weeks after surgery).
  • Consider avoiding or limiting decaf coffee as well. It contains small amounts of caffeine and tannins that can block the absorption of some vitamins and minerals.
  • Limit coffee or tea to 1 small cup (12 ounces or 200 mg of caffeine) a day and observe your tolerance. Stay hydrated. Aim for 64 ounces (8 cups) of no-calorie, noncaffeinated drinks a day.
  • Take all your recommended vitamin and mineral supplements, but avoid taking them with caffeinated drinks like coffee or tea. Don’t take your supplements within 2 hours of a caffeinated drink.
  • Be mindful of what you add to coffee or tea.
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