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The Dos and Don'ts of Coffee After Surgery

The Dos and Don'ts of Coffee After Surgery

When to Avoid Coffee Before and After Surgery 

The recommendation is to avoid regular and decaf coffee for 2 weeks before your surgery and no regular or decaf coffee for 1 month after surgery. 

Why Do I Need To Avoid Coffee?

When it is okay to resume having your daily cup of coffee, remember to limit your coffee to 1 cup daily, or about 8-12 ounces. This is the size of a Tall (small) at Starbucks. 

How to Order Coffee

The general idea is to keep your order simple and select the smaller size. One small cup of coffee can have about 90-120 mg of caffeine. 

I recommend purchasing a regular coffee or americano, either hot or iced. Frappuccinos, macchiatos, and other specialty or seasonal coffee drinks are typically very high in carbohydrates from the milk used and high in sugar from the syrups or in-house blends added to the coffee. These beverages cannot be modified to a lower sugar and lower carbohydrate beverage.

Adding Sweetness and Flavor

When trying to add sweetness or flavor to your coffee, ask about their sugar-free syrup options. The majority of coffee shops offer sugar-free vanilla syrup, however a few others including Dutch Bros, have a wider selection of sugar-free syrups. You can also sprinkle a little cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin spice for added flavor.

When thinking about zero calorie sweeteners, Stevia and Monk fruit are the best options. They are all natural and plant based, do not contribute to blood sugar spikes, and are similar in sweetness to natural sugar. 

Adding Cream or Milk

When adding creaminess to coffee, half and half is a great option as it is low in carbohydrates and sugar. About ¼ cup of half and half contains 78 calories, 3g total carbohydrates, 0g total sugar and 2g of protein. 

Almond milk is another great option, however slightly higher in carbohydrates depending on the brand used. About ¼ cup of almond milk contains about 2g of carbohydrates, 2g of sugar, and 0.3g of protein. 

Be cautious with oat milk and cow’s milk (1%-4%), as they are much higher in sugar and carbohydrates. 

Example Coffee Orders

Just remember, when in doubt, keep your order simple. The more complex your order, the more likely it will become a high calorie drink that contains a lot of carbohydrates and sugar. Take a look at the nutrition menu for your favorite coffee shops! They are easily accessible online. For example, do a quick search for Starbucks Menu, click on your favorite drink, and look at the nutrition information. This is typically located at the bottom of the page. 

Katie Ott, MS, RD

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