Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sugar Alcohols...I Learned The Hard Way!

I went through the pre-op classes just like everyone else and not once was sugar alcohol mentioned. I just reread my handouts from the class about dumping syndrome. All it says there is that "gastric bypass surgery often causes individuals to experience "Dumping Syndrome" when consuming foods or beverages that contain high amounts of sugar and sometimes spices." Well, where is the mention about sugar alcohol? Nothing.....I learned the hard way.

I was so proud of myself, five months out and I had not experienced dumping. Well here I thought I was being smart and tried sugar free Lifesavers. It would only take a few and I would start getting gassy and my stomach would bloat up with abdominal pain. I had no clue. I went to the doctor complaining of the stomach pain, thinking I had adhesions or something more serious. My surgeons PA, Brian examined me and the exam was positive in the gallbladder area. Off to get an ultrasound, sure enough my gallbladder was full of gallstones. It took a month of waiting, but I finally did have my gallbladder removed. All this time, sure enough I was sucking on Lifesavers, so the symptoms continued. About a month after having my gallbladder removed, I had a real stressful day so started munching not sucking on Lifesavers. Let's just say I had more than a few. MISTAKE! All of a sudden the same symptoms came back but in a fierce way. I thought maybe I need to walk and get some of the gas out, mistake two. Without giving TMI, I just barely made it home. I was stuck in the bathroom for hours. When I finally literally crawled upstairs to bed, I felt like a semi-truck had hit me. I thought WTH happened. My gallbladder is gone, what is going on? The next day, I jumped in a few of my online support groups and asked around with very quick responses. Sugar Alcohol, Lifesavers are high in sugar alcohol. OK, I thought what is sugar alcohol?

What is sugar alcohol?

Sugar alcohols, also know as polyols, are ingredients used as sweeteners and bulking agents. They occur naturally in foods and come from plant products such as fruits and berries. As a sugar substitute, they provide fewer calories (about a half to one-third less calories) than regular sugar. This is because they are converted to glucose more slowly, require little or no insulin to be metabolized and don't cause sudden increases in blood sugar.
Sugar alcohols, also know as polyols, are ingredients used as sweeteners and bulking agents. They occur naturally in foods and come from plant products such as fruits and berries. As a sugar substitute, they provide fewer calories (about a half to one-third less calories) than regular sugar. This is because they are converted to glucose more slowly, require little or no insulin to be metabolized and don't cause sudden increases in blood sugar.

Identifying them:

Common sugar alcohols are mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltitol and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH).  Sugar alcohols are not commonly used in home food preparation, but are found in many processed foods. Food products labeled "sugar-free," including hard candies, cookies, chewing gums, soft drinks and throat lozenges often consist of sugar alcohols. They are frequently used in toothpaste and mouthwash too.

Here are some more common sugar alcohols:
    * Glycol
    * Glycerol
    * Erythritol
    * Threitol
    * Arabitol
    * Ribitol
    * Mannitol
    * Sorbitol
    * Dulcitol
    * Iditol
    * Polyglycitol



Source: Wikipedia
Yale-New Haven Hospital


Guess what? In the trash the Lifesavers went and my pouch has never felt better!

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