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Avoiding sugar substitutes?



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Hi! I am newly endo-sleeved and moving towards solids now. I was told to stay sugar free, but I truly cannot tolerate artificial sweeteners (including stevia). I don’t have a huge sweet tooth in general, more of a savory eater, but I am wondering if the occasional “real” sugar will harm me that much. In theory, I know sugar is considered an empty calorie, but if I am staying in a significant deficit, wouldn’t that be sufficient?

Backstory, I only have about 30lb to lose from start to finish, and mainly wanted the procedure to change my relationship with food (especially portion control) and improve my wellbeing and fitness. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you !

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You will probably get mixed responses here about that because everyone is different in what they need to do to stay on the right side of the slippery slope. By that I mean that some people are able to have a little sweet treat here and there and be satisfied with a small amount on truly rare occasion but others need to 100% abstain in order to maintain that control. I was sleeved I’m March 2021 and I have found that I actually do crave sweets more post surgery and I used to be like you and crave salty most of the time.

I do have the occasional chocolate covered strawberry or frozen yogurt bar and they both have sugar. For the most part I am able to satisfy my sweet cravings with fresh fruit but when that doesn’t work I try to have one of these healthier choices that I actually still enjoy. I think You just have to be honest with yourself and be willing to reassess often and make changes if you find that you are having those treats more than once in a while.

Also, it’s probably best to save those for once you reach maintenance. Having said that I tried a few things early out just to make sure I could tolerate them post surgery but of course that just made it take longer for me to lose. The thing you want to keep in mind is that those hunger hormones do eventually come back. Sooner for some than others and it is ideal to do everything you can to lose your weight before that. I have seen people who have lost after their hunger comes back but they say it is that much harder so if you can just avoid these foods until maintenance you will most likely make things easier for yourself.

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I sincerely mean no disrespect, but I'm honestly a little confused? You said you did the surgery to change your relationship with food, but here you are a few days post-op and already asking if you can deviate from your prescribed plan?

This seems incongruent to me. If you're really serious about changing your relationship with food, why deviate so early?

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On 08/22/2022 at 13:35, SpartanMaker said:



I sincerely mean no disrespect, but I'm honestly a little confused? You said you did the surgery to change your relationship with food, but here you are a few days post-op and already asking if you can deviate from your prescribed plan?




This seems incongruent to me. If you're really serious about changing your relationship with food, why deviate so early?


Apologies for the inconsistent message - I meant asking more long term once I’ve moved into maintenance, as I am hoping it won’t take too long to get there. For now, I’m still strict on plain Greek yogurt, eggs, chicken salad, etc.

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With me, it is so odd. I cannot eat certain sugars.. they made me sick or nauseated, or my stomach will actually hurt. I have not figured out why one will and why one won't, but nevertheless, I had what the doc called "food avoidance" for the 1st 6 months. My advice? Eat the way you feel, but watch those scales. I have heard some people on here go back on the liquid diet for a period of time to reset their stomach. I also find that just a bite or two is enough to satisfy whatever I am craving for. I ALSO have learned to regret things I have eaten, especially when you get the "foamies."

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On 08/22/2022 at 13:29, ShoppGirl said:



You will probably get mixed responses here about that because everyone is different in what they need to do to stay on the right side of the slippery slope. By that I mean that some people are able to have a little sweet treat here and there and be satisfied with a small amount on truly rare occasion but others need to 100% abstain in order to maintain that control. I was sleeved I’m March 2021 and I have found that I actually do crave sweets more post surgery and I used to be like you and crave salty most of the time.





I do have the occasional chocolate covered strawberry or frozen yogurt bar and they both have sugar. For the most part I am able to satisfy my sweet cravings with fresh fruit but when that doesn’t work I try to have one of these healthier choices that I actually still enjoy. I think You just have to be honest with yourself and be willing to reassess often and make changes if you find that you are having those treats more than once in a while.








Also, it’s probably best to save those for once you reach maintenance. Having said that I tried a few things early out just to make sure I could tolerate them post surgery but of course that just made it take longer for me to lose. The thing you want to keep in mind is that those hunger hormones do eventually come back. Sooner for some than others and it is ideal to do everything you can to lose your weight before that. I have seen people who have lost after their hunger comes back but they say it is that much harder so if you can just avoid these foods until maintenance you will most likely make things easier for yourself.


Thank you. This feedback is exactly what I was looking for. I imagine keeping it occasional and infrequent hasn’t derailed you too much.

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2 minutes ago, rtbh155 said:

Apologies for the inconsistent message - I meant asking more long term once I’ve moved into maintenance, as I am hoping it won’t take too long to get there. For now, I’m still strict on plain Greek yogurt, eggs, chicken salad, etc.

Ah, got ya. Not sure about how your procedure differs from other sleevers, but they may be better able to advise on how they are on sugar. I wanted to suggest you try the Monk Fruit sweetener (with erythritol), and see how you tolerate that. I find it's a little better for me in terms of taste and side effects compared to many other sugar substitutes.

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Just now, rtbh155 said:

Thank you. This feedback is exactly what I was looking for. I imagine keeping it occasional and infrequent hasn’t derailed you too much.

I don’t think so. I just make sure to figure the calories in for the day. Having said that I did not reach my second goal which would’ve ideally been a little smaller so maybe my occasional treat is a factor? But my team is happy with where I am and if I can maintain this weight and not feel deprived all the time that is what I was hoping for with the surgery. I guess only time will tell. Like I said though I will reassess often and make changes if necessary.

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Artificial sweetners trigger my Migraines, which have been notoriously difficult to control (I take 5 medications to control them and still have breakthrough pain).

For this reason, my nutritionist has told me for sweetners I use honey, maple Syrup and sugar in the raw in small quantities when I want to sweeten a drink or a recipe.

I had some cravings for sweets for a little while, but just a small portion of ice cream made me sick to my stomach and now I have an aversion to sweets.

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I cut out a lot of sugar (real or sugar substitutes like monk fruit) from my diet & avoid as much artificial sweeteners as possible. I know there are artificial sweeteners in my yoghurt & Protein Bar but that’s really all & I usually keep my added sugar to around 10g or less. We all need glucose but I get the bulk of that from fruit, dairy, etc. - naturally occurring. I really embraced that period of food tasting excessively sweet period post surgery & just didn’t reintroduce sweet back into my diet.

I prepare most of what I eat eat from scratch as I can control the ingredients that way. There are some exceptions like I love the crumbed lamb cutlets my butcher makes & their honey soy pork chops (I make them myself unless I’m feeling lazy).

I rarely eat dessert, cakes or biscuits (except for multi grain crackers). I’ll have a small amount on certain occasions like at Christmas so only a couple of times a year. (It’s ironic really because I’m the family dessert maker.)

Pre surgery, I always enjoyed something sweet after dinner & every couple of weeks I’d buy a treat or two from a local patisserie on a weekend. But I really don’t miss it now. I can think something may be delicious but aren’t really tempted to try it.

But this is me. You have to find the right balance for you & of what you want or don’t want to include in your future way of eating.

Edited by Arabesque

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I think this is so independent to each person. Different things work for different people, some for mental reasons and some for physical reasons.

For me, I don't prefer all the artificial stuff. I do have it sometimes, like in diet lemonade or other drinks. I don't cook with sugar so nothing top substitute there. I don't eat (never did) a lot of sweets. My main indulge was ice cream.

So for me, I eat the sugar. Very limited, very controlled and definitely in moderation and Portion Control. I am 5 months post op and it works fine for me.

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for me after i stopped eating sweet stuff for a while, my desires decreased massively and found that very small bits satisfy the way large portions didn’t.

Monkfruit with erythritol or just straight erythritol seems to work well as a sweetener to me now - i can’t stand splenda or aspartame or saccharine…

keep trying to find what works for you… but give plenty of time to kinda detox and make a new start with sweets

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I have issues (digestive) when it comes to artificial sweeteners. I don’t particularly love the taste of most either. I knew going in I would have issues with the artificial sweetener in the pre-op liquid and post liquid stage when options are limited.

Most times my sweet tooth is satisfied by fruits - but sometimes I want something more and try to use moderation.

I have found Built Bars (especially the puffs), which do contain erythritol and were recommended by my nutritionist, more than satisfied my sweet tooth (and offer a nice Protein boost) when I was eating solids. (That was pre-op… right now I’m a week out from being sleeved). Those were an occasional thing to tide me over on the go and keep me from getting to hungry and over eating.

The Fairlife shakes, in moderation didn’t bother me, but when they were my primary source of nutrition - I struggled.

I also have a milk allergy so I need to watch how much dairy I consume. I’m ok with a little - but too much and I get stomach cramps and digestive distress.

When I called my nutritionist Monday because of the artificial sweetener causing some digestive irritation - she suggested moderation. One of the yogurts she suggested I try had cane sugar & fruit pectin. It was lower in sugar than regular, and had a bump of protein. I had two days to get through until purees, where I could add in real food and transition away from the shakes… so it was getting through.

I try to make healthy choices, fresh fruit or no sugar added in general. Occasionally I have some things with artificial sweetener, but keep it limited because past experience has proven it will irritate and inflame my digestive system.

I am working towards a balanced approach. My PCP (whose been my Dr for about 44 yrs now) has always told me he’d much rather I have less sugar in moderation than artificial sweetener as a rule. So I am trying to stay within my program guidelines and follow a balanced approach.

It takes some creativity, but so far I am making it work. I have more to loose than you do, but I’m pleased with the progress I have made so far. Since I started my weight-loss journey I have lost about 75 pounds so far (50 leading up to my pre-op, 10 in the pre-op liquid phase & 15 since being sleeved last week). I might have had even better progress had I gone strictly sugar free … but I’m striving for maintainable, steady progress - something I can do forever not just a short term “diet”. Moderation seems to be working for me, but I will keep reassessing and working with my team and make adjustments as I go.

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great attitude!! that will get you far

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You can include bone broths & cream Soups during the post surgery liquid stage @LookingForward22. That way you don’t have to rely on shakes. Add in some Protein Powder to help with meeting your Protein goals. Or make your own shakes using a non dairy milk, yoghurt, protein powder. There are some flavour powders about that don’t contain sugar or artificial sweeteners - saw a peanut one recently.

Congrats on your weight loss so far too.

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