WLS Patients Feeling Gassy & Bloated? Sugar Alcohol May Be To Blame
Sugar intake is a real concern for people who've had gastric bypass, in fact most patients fear sugar. The foremost fear isn't weight gain, it's dumping. Foods containing sugar pass too quickly through the small pouch, they are rapidly absorbed and cause insulin levels to drop resulting in dumping.
Very unpleasant. Instead of taking chances with sugar many of us reach for "sugar free" sweets or diabetic candy to satisfy our sweet tooth. Many of these products contain sugar alcohol, a natural sweetener derived from fruits and berries. Unlike artificial sweeteners that contain no calories, sugar alcohol has about half the calories of sugar. Diabetics are able to have food with sugar alcohol because it's converted more slowly to glucose and require very little insulin to be metabolized.
The jelly beans I ate contained Mannitol, a common sugar alcohol extracted from seaweed. I know they contained Mannitol because I read the package mid-way through the crisis. The package contained this warning, "Warning: excessive consumption can cause a laxative effect" Fine time to be reading labels I told myself! Mannitol is found naturally in pineapples, olives, asparagus, sweet potatoes and carrots. It's about 60% as sweet as sugar, so more product is needed to replicate the sweetness of sugar. "Mannitol lingers in the intestines for a long time and therefore causes bloating and diarrhea." Yup! That's exactly what happens all right.
What other names are sugar alcohols called?
Lactitol has about 30-40 percent of sugar's sweetening power, but its taste and solubility profile resembles sugar so it is often found in sugar-free ice cream, chocolate, hard and soft candies, baked goods, sugar-reduced preserves and chewing gums.
Isomalt is 45 - 65 percent as sweet as sugar and does not tend to lose its sweetness or break down during the heating process. Isomalt absorbs little water, so it is often used in hard candies, toffee, cough drops and lollipops.
Maltitol is 75 percent as sweet as sugar. It is used in sugar-free hard candies, chewing gum, chocolate-flavored desserts, baked goods and ice cream because it gives a creamy texture to foods.
Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH) are produced by the partial hydrolysis of corn. HSH are nutritive sweeteners that provide 40 - 90 percent of the sweetness of sugar. HSH do not crystallize and are used extensively in confections, baked goods and mouthwashes.
Should Gastric Bypass Patients indulge their sweet tooth with sugar alcohol?
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