Friday, July 25, 2008

Sorbitol and Stepsons

I can’t remember if I told you guys or not about my possible issues with the sweetener sorbitol. I write so much stuff sometimes I forget where I said what to whom. Anyway, as I mentioned in last week’s “Measure, Measure, Measure!” entry, my weight had crept back into the 130s and I wasn’t happy about that and so I reevaluated my food portions. Low and behold, by being more mindful of portions, I am now 126.9 as of this morning.

However, it wasn’t just portion control that did the trick. I also stopped chewing so dang much gum.

If I gain any weight, I gain it in my stomach. A few weeks ago I looked four months pregnant because I was so bloated (I know, TMI, but I promise it won’t get any worse than that). I was puzzled because it’s not like I’d introduced any new foods to my diet. I mentioned it to my daughter who said she heard that chewing gum causes us to swallow a lot of air and so maybe that was the problem. It was true that in the last few weeks leading up to this weight gain I’d developed a pack-a-day habit. I did an Internet search for boating and gum and found a ton of information not only about the affects of chewing gum, but specifically chewing sugar-free gum with the sweetener sorbitol, the first ingredient in most sugar-free gum.

Sorbitol isn’t absorbed by the small intestine and so it floats about in your gut for days until you get rid of it. ‘Chewing upwards of 10 sorbitol-laden sticks a day could certainly be my problem,’ I thought, and so I quit, cold turkey. OK, so maybe I still have a stick a day, but that’s ten times less sorbitol than I was consuming before. It obviously made the difference. My stomach is flat again (well, you know, underneath that belly flap ‘o skin) and I feel 100 million times better in that region.

(Click here for a great article on the side effects of Splenda and sweeteners like saccharin and sorbitol. It also gives the thumbs up to my favorite sweetener, stevia, which would make a really nice girls name, don’t you think?)

In other news, my stepsons arrive tomorrow. They are 16 and 15 and eat at LEAST five times as much food as I do in a day. Can you hear my checkbook groaning? Feeding Andy, the oldest, is easy because he eats anything I cook. Kevin, however, separates peas and peppers out of casserole, picks parsley flakes out of spaghetti sauce, finds every onion in a bowl of soup. He’s a nightmare to cook for. But cook for them I do because, with the exception of Campbell’s Chunky Soup and generic Cheerios, prepackaged food is too expensive and too full of fat and empty calories and they don’t need it. They get enough of that at home and in school. My house is a crappy-food-free zone.

I make them eat *gasp* ONE fruit a day, which believe me was like pulling teeth when I first implemented that rule. And, wicked stepmother that I am, they have to choose which vegetable to eat with dinner and no, canned corn every night is not an option, much to Kevin’s chagrin. They drink juice, not soda, when they’re here, and nothing is ever fried, soaked in butter, or covered in salt. Ketchup, however, is allowed.

So I’m off to plan the week’s meals. This usually takes upwards of an hour. It's not too hard to do. After all, they like meatloaf (made with ground turkey breast), homemade pizza (made with Flat-Outs), meatless chili (don’t tell Kevin there’s zucchini and mushrooms and onions in there – I hide them well – and I sometimes sneak Boca ground soy in there and they think it's beef, so don’t go telling on me, ok?), rigatoni (made with whole wheat pasta and fat-free mozzarella), grilled chicken breasts and much to my surprise, salmon. I will get these guys fed right. It’s just tricky sometimes. I'll make my grocery list and hit the stores early tomorrow morning. I’m determined to keep the total under $150.

By the way, I chew gum when I’m stressed, and if ever I needed gum, it will be next week. I love my guys, but man, it’s not easy having two extra people in our small house. I guess instead of gum I’ll just drink more wine. Kidding! I plan to stay around 127 pounds and too much wine will, well, you know what too much wine will do.

8 comments:

  1. I can't have any artificial sweeteners, as most people with IBS simply can not tolerate it. For me, aspartame is the worst. I have horrific cramps in my lower left quadrant for at least 4 days after I consume it. Splenda doesn't bother me (that I know of), but I'm slowly eliminating it out of my life anyway. Stevia rocks! I carry little packets around in my purse to sweeten tea when we go out. :)

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  2. I have a lot of problems with artificial sweeteners. Not to mention just the bitter taste of them. I swear I am the only person around who thinks Splenda is horribly bitter - no one understands what I'm talking about!
    Trying to eat lower calorie without the artificial sweeteners can be a challenge at times. I just use regular sweeteners (less of them) or Stevia now.

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  3. Splenda is bitter to me too, Lori, and so is Stevia, unfortunately.

    I had no idea that Sorbitol was used to sweeten gum--I thought a different artificial sweetener was used. That may explain some things . . .

    ~Shelley

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  4. Love Stevia, but at first it did take some sampling of different brands to find what I liked (some do seem more bitter).

    Kevin sounds like the younger version of my oldest son Colin. Colin is 21 and will still pick onions (and a lot of other veggies) out of everything, when he's visiting I use onion powder. Now that he's grown it's hard feeding him when he visits because "he's a big boy now" Oy! My youngest son, on the other hand, shuns crappy food (for the most part)..the other son and daughter would live on junk if it were around, but they're not too picky. It's always a challenge.

    (oh, and you have to watch out for sorbitol and other "sugar alcohols" as they can have a laxative affect)

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  5. As somebody who can't stop with just one piece of candy, I have problems with those hard candies with sweeteners that carry the laxative warning labels. I always eat too many, and then I get cramps and gas and diarrhea.

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  6. Jim ~ I can't eat those hard SF candies either.

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  7. I am reading up on the South Beach diet. It says to watch out for gum sweetened with Sorbitol cause is can have up to 4 carbs a stick! Yikes!

    I am down to one pc a day. Usually about 10:30 when the "pre-lunch" hunger starts to kick in!

    Another Shelley, funny....

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  8. Hey, love your blog... first time comment! I just thought you might be interested in this study that says artificial sweeteners slow metabolism in rats!
    I quit gum (I was a junkie, especially the citrus ones) and diet snapple a couple weeks ago and lost 4 pounds without changing my running/eating routine within 10 days. I kid you not.

    anyway, I don't know how to post a link, but the study is by Susan Swithers, and it's called "a role for sweet taste". if you google it you can find the study and people who summarize it.

    keep up the good work!

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