artificial sweeteners – not so sweet of a deal

So lately I’ve been getting a lot of headaches/migraines. This is not really uncommon for me as growing up I’ve had to deal with headaches from sun, not eating/drinking enough or allergies. I’m used to normal headaches because my body is really sensitive to change. Lately they’ve been different though. I’ve had more migraines which is not typical for me. I have been blaming it on stress from working a full-time job and having the video business but I don’t think that’s really the case. I’ve always been a busy person, my whole life, and I’m sure there have been times I’ve been more busy or stressed than now. So what has changed??

 

I started paying attention to my diet more and trying to eat healthier and more natural. I stopped drinking sodas for a long time but since dating the gentleman picked them up again. I used to only drink regular sodas, but then he introduced me to diet sodas. Once I got used to them, the regular ones were too sweet/syrup-y. So in the last few weeks the thought occurred to me that the artificial sweeteners might be the culprit.

I already had weird feelings about Splenda (mostly because it’s made out of chlorine covered sugar) and a few months ago noticed that my yogurt had Splenda in it. That made me mad! How had I not noticed that there was Splenda in my low-fat yogurt! It kind of seemed sneaky. But I didn’t give too much thought to the other artificial sweeteners mostly because they had been around longer. So after my last migraine following a few cups of crystal light at a baby shower (with aspartame) I decided to try not having anything, I mean anything with artificial sweeteners (including: phenylalanine, aspartame, saccharin, splenda, nutrasweet, etc…etc…etc…) and the task has started to seem a bit daunting actually!

I was chewing some gum for example the other day and suddenly got nervous about it and looked at the ingredients. Sure enough there is phenylalanine in it so I spit it out. Believe me, the pain of a migraine will make you not want to eat anything until you’ve figured out the cause!!! So then I was putting on my lip gloss later and thought I might be crazy for thinking there might be something in there but checked anyway. No kidding there is Saccharin in my favorite lip gloss! NOOOOOOOO!

So I looked it up online. It seems that there are lots of people with my same situation, though I seem to be on the easy end with just migraines. People have complained of headaches, migraines, stomach cramps, blurred vision, diahrrea, nausea, vomiting, numbness in the legs. Then I saw that people were writing where they have found these sweeteners: in many foods and drinks, medicines, toothpaste, chapstick, dentist offices, even popcorn…basically anything you can ingest. What bothers me about that though is how sneaky they are about it. It is already annoying to have to look at the ingredient labels for anything that might be a factor and now will I have to ask in restaurants if they used any artificial sweeteners? Yikes! I don’t know for sure if artificial sweeteners are the culprit for me so I’ll keep working on figuring it out for sure…we’ll see I guess.

 

Now, I am not the type of person to go calling people out or starting some paranoid rumors, but I think there might be something here. I mean just think about it logically, there are all these sweeteners that are made out of chemicals that we are putting into our bodies. There will probably be some consequences to that! I don’t have any problem with sticking with plain sugar and just eating it in moderation. Until there are more studies out there, I would be careful with the artificial sweeteners and stop tricking your body into thinking you are eating something sweet when you’re not. Just eat the sweet thing you want and then go to the gym and burn it off, you will be healthier in the end!!

Sarah Elwer - November 19, 2008 - 5:48 pm

AMEN, PREACH IT SISTER!!!! Welcome to the awesome and free and wonderful side of life! You my dear have discovered the secret: YOU MUST READ LABEL’S!!! and with a little planning and a little extra time in the store you can eat almost the same stuff. The planning has to come in the form of a budget because Trader Joe’s is probably going to have to become your new main grocery store! (It’s ours, and we are by no means “well off” in the money department) Also, something to look for is food coloring – RED 40 can hurt you and hurt you bad! I would do your own research (I can’t write it all here) but look for it in yogurt and basically everything, I even found it in prenatal vitamins!!! But read the labels, shop at Trader Joe’s (or Sprouts or whole foods or whatever) and call me if you have any questions – we’ve been doing this for 2 years now and we are doing great! again, WELCOME TO FREEDOM!!!!

Timmery - November 19, 2008 - 8:11 pm

That makes sense to me! My preferred sugar is raw sugar and I avoid all other sweetners in packet form. But wow, how eye opening is it to realize the chemical sugars (my term since junior high!) is in EVRYTHING! Lip gloss?! I would never have thought about it…I hope you’re able to find out if this is the source of some of your migraines… Migraines=major frowny face. Happy “real” sugaring!

Yvonne Brett - November 22, 2008 - 3:11 am

My coworker had this weird rash going around her midriff and she kept on thinking it was her body wash, lotion, things like that. It turns out that culprit was Splenda. after many fruitless Dr. appts, she finally figured it out from all of the info on the Internet.

nicole viola - December 10, 2008 - 4:04 pm

amen- i am very anti- artificial sweeteners. I’d much rather eat the real thing in moderation.

Megh - December 25, 2008 - 1:47 am

I have the same problem Danielle! I found that any artificial sweetener, soy, and too much dairy will cause a migraine or Nausea for me. Splenda specifically causes my stomach to hurt really badly, but invariably after having any artificial sweetener I will have a serious headache or migraine, depending on how much I’ve had of it. Some good substitutes, aside from real sugar, are things like honey, and Agave nectar. Agave nectar has the added bonus of having a better glysemic index, so your body processes it better. It’s sort of fruity tasting, so some people don’t like it. But it’s worth a try! I’m sorry to hear that you have the same problem I do… but I have to say it makes me feel better to know I’m not the only one. 😉

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