Tag: bloating

Oct

4

What Is Gastroparesis? Why Are Diabetics More At Risk?

What Is Gastroparesis?So I’ve been receiving a number of these questions over the past couple of months among my fellow type 1 diabetics which made me start to wonder…is there a connection between gastroparesis and type 1 diabetes or could it be just another condition all together?

Gastroparesis (also called delayed gastric emptying) is a progressive disorder that causes food to remain in the stomach for longer than normal periods. Because the nerves that move food through the digestive tract are damaged, the muscles do not work as they normally would.  As a result, food often sits in the stomach undigested.  So what are the signs and symptoms of gastroparesis and are you more prone as a type 1 diabetic, lets take a closer look! 

Symptoms Of Gastroparesis:

The following are the most common symptoms associated with gastroparesis:

  • vomiting of undigested food
  • early fullness after a small meal
  • weight loss
  • nausea 
  • bloating
  • stomach spasms
  • blood glucose levels that are hard to stabilize
  • heartburn 
  • loss of appetite
  • acid reflux

What Causes Gastroparesis:

While a high percentage of gastroparesis has been reported in people with type 1 diabetes (40%) and type 2 diabetes (10% to 20%), per the Mayo Clinic, it’s not always clear what leads to gastroparesis. In many cases, gastroparesis is believed to be caused by damage to a nerve that controls the stomach muscles (vagus nerve).

The vagus nerve helps manage the complex processes in your digestive tract, including signaling the muscles in your stomach to contract and push food into the small intestine. A damaged vagus nerve can’t send signals normally to your stomach muscles. This may cause food to remain in your stomach longer, rather than move normally into your small intestine to be digested.

The vagus nerve can be damaged by certain diseases (Parkinson’s and MS for example), and diabetes in particular, or by surgery to the stomach or small intestine.  As for diabetics, the fact that we deal with higher than normal blood sugars, over time these high blood glucose levels can damage the vagus nerve.  

Its should also be noted that for reasons that gastroparesis is more commonly found in women than in men. Researchers believe that this is possibly due to the effect of hormones on the GI tract, particularly estrogen and progesterone, and those seem to delay stomach emptying, but more research is still needed.  You can check out the study here.
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May

3

Is Sorbitol Safe For People With Diabetes?

Is Sorbitol Safe For People With Diabetes?In a recent discussion earlier this week, someone in my Facebook group brought to my attention if sorbitol in toothpaste was really that bad even though he tries to avoid it at all costs. Honestly, I’ve never heard of sorbitol and curiosity immediately kicked in.  As a type 1 diabetic, the vast majority of us try and eat as health as possible to avoid any potential long term side effects.  So what’s the deal?  Are sorbitol side effects in gum and toothpaste really all that bad? Lets take a closer look!

 

What Is Sorbitol?

So what is this stuff anyway and are there other names for sorbitol? Well, sorbitol was first discovered in its naturally occurring form in 1872 and is in a variety of fruits and berries. Common fruits which contain this sugar are the stone fruits, such as apples, pears, peaches, apricots and cherries. High quantities of Sorbitol are also found in such items as dry fruits, prunes, raisins and figs. Sorbitol in these fruits is often associated with gas formation and aggravation of irritable bowel syndrome.

Safe For Type 1 Diabetics?

I guess (for obvious reasons) this is the one that surprised me the most and Jim, I can now see your concern with using sorbitol and thank you for pointing this out to me. I’m also thinking that you have to have adequate amounts as part of your daily diet, but lets see.

As type 1 and type 2 diabetics we may incorrectly believe products containing sorbitol and labeled “no sugar added” or “sugar free” will not affect their blood sugar. This is a dangerous misunderstanding that could lead to significantly elevated blood sugar levels, according to Joslin Diabetes Center.

The calories and carbohydrates in foods containing sorbitol or any other sugar alcohol  must be added in to the total allowed amounts of a diabetic person’s meal plan. Read the nutrition label and look for sorbitol on the ingredient list; also look at the total carbohydrate grams per serving in order to avoid abnormally high blood sugars.

An Artificial Sweetener?

Well lets just say that once man gets into a lab, essentially anything can become artificial and altered, but what about sorbitol?  Like I mentioned earlier sorbitol occurs naturally in fruits and berries, but sorbitol can now made chemically from corn syrup and is in a variety of foods and health products. Because it contains one-third the calories found in glucose, it is widely present in a variety of diet drinks and foods. Sorbitol is found in puddings, pancake-mix, cookies, oatmeal, and a variety of other foods. Foods products labeled as “containing no sugar” or “lite” frequently contain sorbitol as an artificial sweetener. A number of health and nutrition bars also advertised for diabetics also contain quantities of sorbitol.
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