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Sugar: Hiding in Plain Sight

Sugar: Hiding in Plain Sight
Sugar: Hiding in Plain Sight

After gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band surgery, most bariatric surgeons and dietitians recommend patients follow a low calorie diet to promote successful weight loss. Protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates are the three mainstays in a healthy, low calorie diet after bariatric surgery. These nutritional building blocks provide your body with the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to be healthy.

But, refined sugar is not an essential part of a good diet. It may make your food sweeter, but not better. Avoiding refined sugar is an easy way for weight loss surgery patients to reduce the overall calories of their diet. Not only that, but avoiding sugar (and even non-nutritive sugar substitutes) can help reduce sugar cravings. Avoiding sugar might sound like a no brainer, but the problem with avoiding refined sugars is that they are often hiding in plain sight in foods you might think are healthy.

Unfortunately, sugar can be labeled under many different names depending on the source. The calories these sugars provide your body are the same (4 calories per gram) whether its source is organic, non GMO, gluten free, or even derived from vegetables. There are over 60 different names sugar can be hiding under and we’ve compiled a list of several common aliases sugar you may find on ingredient lists. Always read the nutrition labels on your foods and the ingredients list. Ingredients are listed in order of predominance in the product from highest to lowest based on weight, meaning the first ingredient listed provides the most weight in the product. Keep this in mind as you look at foods such as breakfast cereal and desserts. If sugar is listed as the first ingredient, the product has more sugar than anything else.

  • Honey
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • High Fructose Corn Sugar
  • Barley malt
  • Agave nectar
  • Isomalt
  • Dextrose
  • Rice Syrup
  • Glucose
  • Maltose
  • Sucrose
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Fruit juice
  • Lactose
  • Maple Syrup
  • Beet sugar
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Maltodextrin
  • Corn syrup

By knowing the names of sugars, you can try to avoid them. This can reduce the sugar in your diet, and thus the total calories, which can help you lose weight. This is especially important for bariatric weight loss patients who may be trying hard to buy healthier products, and don’t want be to fooled by fancy sounding names for sugar.

The above is offered by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic and obesity surgery. Dr. Shillingford encourages his gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and gastric band patients to limit their refined sugars, and instead concentrate on eating lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. His surgical weight loss patients often come from all over South Florida, including Delray Beach, Wellington, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, and Parkland, for his specialized and highly regarded services at his conveniently located Boca Raton office.