#32 4 Ways to Prevent Dumping Syndrome from Dumping on Your Day

bariatric surgery success podcast beyond bariatric surgery podcast

Host: Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Susan Mitchell 

Stomach ache, sweating, headache, dizziness, nausea…even diarrhea. Experiencing dumping syndrome is no fun, it wrecks your day and can interfere with your weight loss journey. Let’s talk about four smart strategies to help prevent this dumping.

You’ve had bariatric surgery. Are you experiencing dumping syndrome? You’re not alone, up to 30% or more of everyone who’s had bariatric surgery experience dumping syndrome. With stomach ache, sweating, headache, dizziness, nausea, and even diarrhea as common symptoms, dumping syndrome ranks right up there as one of the most undesirable effects of bariatric surgery.

What is it?

The name dumping sounds intimidating but also kinda gross. What is your body doing? It’s actually rapid emptying of food from the stomach into the intestines.

Dumping syndrome can be grouped into two different types; early and late. Early dumping syndrome occurs almost right away…about 10-30 minutes after you’ve had a meal while late dumping syndrome occurs about one to three hours after you’ve eaten. So which one is bothering you? Or both? You can have both. Yes, dumping occurs frequently especially when you eat a meal high in carbohydrates. This is important to your journey and success. Too many carbs or the wrong type of carbs can cause havoc in your gastrointestinal track or let’s just say…your gut.

While more people experience early dumping syndrome than late dumping syndrome, you can experience both even years after surgery.

You may be asking me right now…Why does this dumping happen?

Let’s have a short physiology class. I’m a big believer that knowledge is power…the more you know, the better you can feel as you go thru your transformation.

After bariatric surgery, parts of the stomach may be removed or bypassed which cause food to be improperly digested or undigested in the stomach when you eat. In early dumping syndrome, the undigested food then enters the small intestine and draws water from the stomach and other surrounding tissues causing the small intestine to become bloated and cramped. This can lead to diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Do you remember when early dumping syndrome typically occurs? Early dumping syndrome occurs almost right away…about 10-30 minutes after you’ve had a meal.

In late dumping syndrome, the undigested (particularly high-carb) food rapidly enters the small intestine and gets rapidly broken down into glucose or sugar and then gets absorbed into the bloodstream. The rapid increase in sugar level in the bloodstream causes your pancreas to release huge amounts of insulin in order to lower the sugar level in the blood back down.

However, the pancreas releases too much insulin and ends up causing hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Low blood sugar leads to symptoms such as weakness, trouble concentrating, and a high and irregular heartbeat. While late dumping usually starts one to three hours after eating high-sugar or high carb foods that are more processed and low in fiber, it can take longer for you to feel the symptoms of hypoglycemia. I recommend talking to your physician on how to manage your hypoglycemia if this happening.

I want to stop here a second and mention that if you drink alcohol or have been wondering if you can and how it would affect you, be sure and listen to podcast #30 Bariatric Surgery and Alcohol Buzz: What You Need to Know. Alcohol can also cause hypoglycemia and a super quick buzz/intoxication so understand what’s happening to your body. be sure and listen. The link is below in the resources.

Now you’ve got a good idea of what’s happening in your body to cause Dumping Syndrome, how do you prevent it?

Experiencing dumping is no fun, wrecks your day  and can interfere with your weight loss journey.

Practice these four smart strategies to help prevent this dumping:

1. Eat small meals 5 or 6 times per day

Since dumping occurs when a large amount of food enters the intestine too quickly, you may find that eating smaller meals throughout the day can prevent that.

2. Drink fluids between meals not with meals

Fluids increase the volume in the stomach which leads to dumping. Drink water at least 30 minutes before and after meals to stay hydrated and avoid dumping.

3. Consume foods with higher protein and fiber

Unlike carbs, protein is digested in the stomach thus slowing down the movement of food from the stomach into the intestines which lessens the chance for dumping. Then Fiber acts as buffer and prevents food from absorbing too quickly.  Go back and listen to podcast #31, Does Protein Help Prevent Weight Regain…you’ll understand even better the tie between protein, weight loss, and control of dumping. See Resources below.

4. Consume less simple carbohydrates and fats

The majority of carbs and fats that you consume get digested in the small intestine, thus food high in carbohydrates and fats enter the small intestine very quickly as we mentioned already. So the more protein and smaller amount of carbs eaten with the protein, the better. Notice I didn’t say NO carbs. Just be smart. And here, when I say eat less simple carbohydrates, I’m talking about ones that have very little or no fiber and very little nutrition.


#30 Bariatric Surgery and Alcohol Buzz: What You Need to Know

#31 Does Protein Help Prevent Weight Regain?

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