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Sweet Cravings After Gastric Bypass

Posted Mar 03 2009 2:17pm

I am a member of an expert panel for weight loss surgery online questions.  I share the following with you as I believe it is something many of us struggle with at one time or another.  Whether we’ve had weight loss surgery or have lost weight without surgery, the concerns expressed here are shared by many of us.

Subject: Sweet Craving After Gastric Bypass

Question: I had gastric bypass surgery 3 years ago and it was extremely successful.  I originally lost a total of 153 lbs.  Recently, for about the past 4 - 6 months, I find myself craving sweets.  I drink about 6 to 10 glasses of water per day, but I also drink about 2 Coke Zero sodas also.  Could the soda be the cause of my cravings, or could it be something else?  I have gained about 38 lbs back over the past 7 months and am trying to work on getting that back off, but the sweet cravings are there.

Answer: Hi Member,
153 pounds?  That is awesome!  Congratulations on your amazing success.

There are differing opinions within the bariatric professionals as to soda consumption post-op.  The carbonation tends to be more of a concern rather than causing cravings for sweets.  For some patients, they feel that diet soda can cause more cravings but usually cravings for sweet foods tend to be something more.

Unfortunately many RNY post-ops experience a weight regain.  For you to have lost and maintained your weight until the past 7 months having regained 38 pounds, I would ask what has been going on in the past 7 months.  Usually a weight regain can be attributed to a problematic situation or emotions that can lead to emotional overeating, thus the weight regain.  If sugar was an issue you pre-operatively, when a difficult situation or emotions occur of a larger magnitude, it can flip the sugar cravings switch.  How does that resonate for you during the past 7 months.

One of the ways to combat sugar cravings driving that urge to succumb, is to deal with the underlying reason for the cravings.  It could be finances, job, relationships or just an emotionally upsetting situation.  When sugar cravings appear, it is helpful to stop and check in to see what is making you want to turn to sugar rather than a healthy food choice.

What happens when you make a healthy choice and do not give in to the sugar?  When you eat sugar, it also creates a cycle of wanting more, then needed to eat more and repeat the cycle again and again.  Sometimes it takes saying NO to the sugar cravings, stick by it and then starting fresh by staying off sugar.  If you stay off sugar long enough, the cravings can minimize greatly.

Eating sugar can feel like a perpetual merry-go-round and you need to decide to get off.  Once you’re off, avoid sugar entirely or as much as possible.

Lastly, you might check with your bariatric surgeon’s protocol regarding diet soda consumption.  There are opinions that carbonation can compromise the pouch making it more susceptible to stretching.  Plus drinking soda can cause some dehydration replacing the equivalent amounts of water.  If you drink 16 ounces of diet soda, you need to drink 16 more ounces of water over and above what you already do.

Remember that you lost it once and you can lose it again.  You’ve caught it early in only regaining 38 pounds compared to all you’ve lost.  You can and will do this!!

Best of health,
Cathy, CLC
Certified Life Coach, Weight Loss Surgery Coach
Certified Back On Track Facilitator

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