Foods to Avoid Before Surgery

More than 15 million people in the U.S. have surgery annually, according to MedlinePlus 1. The reasons for surgery vary and can include preventing or relieving pain, decreasing symptoms or improving body functions. If you are preparing for surgery, there are certain foods that you should avoid to prevent complications or uncomfortable symptoms.

All Solid Foods

The National Institutes of Health advises that you eat nothing in the 24 leading up to your surgery. It suggests sipping on water may be acceptable. Consult your doctor about this. Similarly, the University of Michigan advises that children should eat nothing after midnight preceding an operation. An empty stomach is required for proper use of anesthesia. In addition, eating poses a greater risk for vomiting foods into the lungs during the surgery.

Gums, Mints and Candies

The National Institutes of Health advises that you should not consume gums, mints or candies after midnight before your surgery. It advises that you limit what you drink and eat to avoid vomiting food into your lungs during surgery.


According to the National Institutes of Health, you should not consume alcohol within 24 hours of your surgery. A study in the 2010 "BMC Health Services Research" says ceasing alcohol consumption before surgery can reduce the risk of complications. This study states that people who smoke and consume alcohol daily can develop two to four times more complications after surgery than those who do not.