It is important to establish and maintain a regiment of diet and exercise after bariatric surgery. Read: Is Exercise More Important Than Diet There might be plenty of food you do not normally eat in your bariatric diet, while foods that you have enjoyed may have to be eliminated or minimized. Read: How Does the Bariatric Diet Work Sugar and artificial sweetener, and those foods that contain them, should be avoided. Here’s why…
The body fuels itself by converting carbohydrates into glucose. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that contains very few nutrients. It is found naturally in fruits and vegetables and is added to nearly all processed foods.
Gastric bypass patients can experience dumping syndrome after eating foods that contain sugar or fat.
Dumping syndrome is a phenomenon that occurs in as many as 50% of gastric bypass patients. It is characterized by diarrhea nausea, and cramping. It presents when food moves too rapidly through the stomach and into the small intestine. This forces the digestion process.
The condition usually passes on its own and does not require medical attention. It is unpleasant though, and bariatric surgeons direct patients to avoid foods that contain sugar. Read: Soda Suicide in America
Bariatric patients often use sugar substitutes to address the problem of dumping. Artificial sweeteners are the most commonly used sugar substitute.
Bariatric Surgeons Recommend
Bariatric surgeons offer straightforward and sound advice. They recommend that patients maintain a bariatric diet that is low in sugar and fat. Such a diet must be life-long, and meals should be protein-based. It also is in your best interest to avoid artificial sweeteners. Read: Lifelong Eating After Bariatric Surgery
The premise behind artificial sweeteners is basic: reduction of sugar and calories in your diet without sacrificing sweetness. The FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners: saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. It has also approved two natural low-calorie sweeteners, stevia and erythritol.
Take the time to read labels. Sugar-free does not always mean low in calories; in fact, some have a comparable amount of calories. Eating such packaged products does virtually nothing to promote or maintain weight loss and do not belong in a bariatric diet — or any diet for that matter.
One of the most concerning problems is that many artificial sweeteners pose health risks.
Dangers of Aspartame and Sucralose
The chemical sweetener Aspartame that is in NutraSweet, Equal, NatraSweet and other substitutes, has the possible side effects of seizures, hallucinations, and brain tumors.
Sucralose, or Splenda, is of special interest. Studies have shown that it can enlarge the liver and kidneys and has the side effects of skin rashes, diarrhea, headaches and stomach pain.
Sucralose has been found in waste water, surface water, and ground water. A testing of water treatment plants found sucralose present in 15 of the 19 plants that supply drinking water. Sucrolose was also found in 8 of the 12 water distribution systems.
Sucralose is a compound that cannot be broken down by the chemicals that are used by water treatment facilities. It may taste like sugar, but according to Dr. Mercola, Splenda is closer to DDT in composition.
In addition, sucralose kills healthy bacteria. Animal testing shows that the amount of good bacteria in animal intestines was reduced by as much as 50%. This disturbance compromises the balance between the micro-organisms that sustain immunity.
The testing of Splenda on human subjects has been minimal. Although the FDA has deemed Splenda safe by reviewing studies performed on animals, the results are open to dispute. Animal testing outcomes show a significant reduction in red blood cells, greater infertility among males, kidney damage, and spontaneous abortion in half the rabbits that were tested. Twenty-three percent of the rabbits that were tested died as a result of the treatment.
So how did sucralose get in drinking water? It is expelled unaltered in urine and feces.
Stevia and Erythritol
Stevia is a plant native to South America whose leaves have long been used their for their sweetness. Stevia is natural, does not promote weight gain and avoids the harmful side effects of many artificial sweeteners now on the market.
Dr. Joseph Mercola, best-selling author of natural health information, believes Stevia is the best sweetener available today. Stevia is a plant-based sweetener, not a chemical-based sweetener like aspartame and sucralose. Stevia is commercially available under a variety of brand names that international scientists associated with the World Health Organization say are safe.
Pure Stevia extract, like this stevia on Amazon, is often found in the vitamin supplement section of health food stores. It is safe to consume and may cost less than brand name stevia products in the grocer’s aisle.
Note well the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a limit of no more than 1.8 milligrams of stevia per pound per day, which means no more than two or three packets containing about 100 milligrams of stevia if you weigh about 150 pounds. Those on blood pressure or diabetes medications should check with their doctors before using stevia-based products, as they may interact with these medications. People allergic to ragweed may be allergic to stevia as well.
Erythritol is known as a sugar alcohol. Erythritol seems to cause fewer digestive problems than other sugar alcohols like xylitol. It occurs naturally in some fruits and fermented foods, but the kind you see added to low-sugar and sugar-free items is man-made. The fermentation of wheat or cornstarch creates a crystalline product that can then be added to foods, much like sugar.
Some sugar alcohols can cause digestive distress, as the body doesn’t fully absorb these alcohols. But erythritol seems to cause fewer of these problems compared to other sugar alcohols. This may be due to the fact that erythritol is absorbed into the bloodstream and excreted in the urine, instead of going through the colon for excretion.
I like the quality and price of Now Foods erythritol. And the WHO didn’t set a limit for erythritol because of the relatively limited risks associated with its use.
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life