Sorbitol

Alexandra Moreno - Ecuador


November 3, 2017

Sorbitol, less commonly known as glucitol, is a sugar alcohol with a sweet taste which the human body metabolizes slowly. On average, the human body can digest anywhere from 1mg to 5mg of sorbitol a day. Any more than that can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

Yesterday around 8pm, my host family asked me if I had ever had a ciruela before. My host dad was holding this reddish purplish grape looking thing. I said “no” and I tried it. It was actually really good. I like sour things and this fruit was on the tartier side so I like the flavor. It also was really juicy so it was fun to eat. My host family had bought a bag of 50 and told me to eat as many as I wanted. I was really into this fruit and I wanted to see if it was in the States just under another name. After some internet research, I found out ciruelas were plums. I had never seen these plums before or had a plum that I enjoyed that much, so I continued eating them. I lost track of how many I had eaten but at minimum, I ate like 20. We had pizza for dinner and since there wasn’t many dishes, it was pretty quick to bed.

At around midnight, I woke up with a sharp pain in my stomach and ran to the bathroom. I’m not trying to be too graphic, but it felt like my insides were becoming outsides. I went back to my room and took some Pepto-Bismol and struggled through uncomfortable and unbearable pains in my stomach all night. I fell into a restless sleep and woke up to my host sister calling me downstairs for breakfast. As I got out of bed, the pain returned and it made even walking a hassle. I strayed away from my regular cup of hot milk and ate pan de guagua and colada morada- leftover from the Day of the Dead festivities the day before, trying not to tell my family it felt like someone was punching me in the stomach. I went to the kitchen to find the sink full of dishes and it being my chore to wash dishes, I wasn’t surprised. I started washing dishes but every few minutes it felt like someone kicking me in the stomach. Soaping up some plates had never been so difficult in my whole life. I don’t know if it was me hunched over the sink or overly sweating in a pretty temperate kitchen that prompted my host mom to ask me if I was feeling alright. I admitted to her I wasn’t feeling too well and she started trying to figure out what finally knocked off my title of “Only One to Not Have Gastrointestinal Problems”. As I laid in bed, curled into a ball awaiting my fate, I googled if eating plums could be the cause of this misery. Apparently, plums are full of sorbitols, about 2 mg per plum, roughly. I ate about 5 times the daily amount of sorbitol a person should eat in a day in the span of an hour. There was no easy way to admit to my host mom that I basically ate my way into my own demise other than saying, “pienso que comí demasiadas ciruelas”. To say the least, I felt a little dumb about the situation but I’m glad to say I survived to tell the tale after cups and cups of manzanilla and no solid food for the last 12 hours.

Living my best life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAC5Rv4cOhE

Alexandra Moreno