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Does Coffee Count Toward Your Hydration Goals

Coffee and utensils on wooden table

For many years, it was thought that coffee and other caffeinated drinks like black and green tea acted as diuretics, offsetting their value as a hydrating drink. We were often told that if we drank a cup of caffeinated tea or coffee, it should be offset with the same amount of water. But is this advice still accurate? Does coffee indeed have hydration benefits? The answer is nuanced and depends on where you are in your weight loss or bariatric surgery journey.

Coffee can be a hydrating option for those who have not had bariatric surgery or are at least several months to a year out of surgery. There are a couple of things to note; however, first, you will likely begin to lose some of that hydration benefit if you drink too much coffee over the day. We suggest you limit your caffeine intake by consuming only 3 cups of tea or coffee. The benefits of coffee or tea will also be diminished depending on what you put in it. Drinking it without any sugar or milk is ideal. While 0-calorie sweeteners don’t add to your caloric intake, they may still trigger the desire for sweets in the future, and they have been shown to increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

If you are early in the recovery process after bariatric surgery, coffee, and caffeinated drinks should be avoided. For one, the acidity in the coffee and the caffeine can combine to be very irritative and cause you to experience stomach upset. In some, this can cause discomfort to the degree you may not hit your food and nutrition goals.

When Can I Start Drinking Coffee?

Typically, coffee can be consumed six or so months after surgery. Decaffeinated coffees and teas are certainly better, but they still have trace amounts of caffeine, so minimizing the amount you drink is also essential. Ultimately, it’s best to drink water as it will give you the best hydrating effect. It may not be as delicious as other hydration options, but nothing stops you from putting just a touch of fruit essence, like a slice of lemon, orange, or cucumber, to make the flavor more palatable.

Remember that bariatric surgery should be a lifestyle change, not a jail sentence. It would be best if you did not cut out everything that you enjoy. However, sacrificing coffee for the first six months after your procedure is a small price for the exceptional benefits you will ultimately achieve because of your surgery. Of course, if you have questions about caffeine or any other food or drink you typically consume, we encourage you to contact the office or reference your postoperative packet.

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