Avoiding Artificial Sweeteners After Gastric Bypass Surgery - My Bariatric Life

Patient Expert

After you have had your gastric bypass surgery, it is important to establish and maintain a regiment of diet and exercise. Foods that you do not normally eat may be incorporated into your diet in volume, while foods that you have enjoyed may have to be eliminated or minimized. Sugar and those foods that contain sugar should be avoided.


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, even many you may not expect. Learn about the Sugar Content of Common Foods.

Gastric bypass patients can experience dumping syndrome after eating foods that contain sugar or fat.

Dumping Syndrome

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 bowels to assume 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.

Bariatric patients often use sugar substitutes  to address the problem of dumping. Artifical sweetners are the most commonly used sugar substitute.

Artificial Sweeteners

The premise behind artificial sweeteners is basic: reduction of sugar and calories in your diet without sacrificing sweetness.

One of the  problems is that these substitutes often have a comparable amount of calories. More important is the fact that many artificial sweeteners pose health risks.

Take the time to read labels. Sugar free does not mean low in calories. Eating these products does virtually nothing to promote or maintain weight loss.

The chemical sweetener Aspartame that is found in NutraSweet, Equal, NatraSweet and other substitutes has the possible side effects of seizures, hallucinations, and brain tumors.

The Danger of Sucralose

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. But there is more.

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 had deemed Splenda safe by reviewing studies performed on animals, the results are open to disputes. 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. 23% 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.

What Do Weight-Loss Surgeons Recommend?

Weight-loss surgeons offer straightforward and sound advise. They recommend that their patients maintain a 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 sweetners.

Dr. Joseph Mercola, best-selling  author of natural health information,  believes Stevia is the best sweetener available today. Stevia is a plant-based sweetner, not a chemical-based sweetner like aspartame and sucralose. Stevia is commercially available as PureVia and Truvia. International scientists associated with the World Health Organization say that these forms of Stevia sweeteners are safe. Pure Stevia extract,  often found in the vitamin supplement section of health food grocers,  is what I personally use in my coffee. And I use locally grown raw honey in much of my cooking and baking... and in a nice cup of organic mint tea


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You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.

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