Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Insidious Evil of Artifical Sweeteners

I am really ticked today. I ordered some protein bars from Melaleuca, a wellness company that is supposed to have healthy products, and guess what is in them? Sucralose. So, no protein bars for me. With aspartame, products usually have the little aspartame logo right on the front. Not so with Sucralose. They are very sneaky with that stuff and they are putting it in so many things these days.

Here's my #1 rule for feeling good: Do not consume any artificial sweeteners.

Long before I read about how artificial sweeteners can exacerbate fibromyalgia, I experienced it. If I ate or drank anything with aspartame, I would get a headache and feel very sick to my stomach. And I would have what I call the "phantom pain", you know that pain from fibro when you know there is nothing wrong with whatever is hurting. I rarely have the phantom pain anymore, unless I accidentally eat something with aspartame. Then I start aching in places that usually never hurt, like my wrists and my fingers.

Sucralose doesn't make me feel as bad as aspartame, but it does affect me. I feel yucky after eating it and I always get a headache. I haven't been able to find as much info on Sucralose but I haven't looked lately either. I figure, no matter what anybody else says, it's best to just avoid it. My naturopath did tell me Sucralose was carcinogenic. That's reason enough to avoid it.

In The Fibromyalgia Solution ,Dr. David Dryland says that aspartame is an excitotoxin, a molecule that can cause neurological damage. He also says that a byproduct of aspartame is formaldehyde, which protects your fat cells from breaking down. So not only is it toxic, its not a good thing if you are trying to lose weight either!

On the flip side, high blood sugar levels can also exacerbate fibromyalgia, so eating packaged foods or drinks with regular sugar isn't good either (although it probably isn't as toxic). The best thing is to avoid sweets and packaged foods altogether, which is a depressing prospect at times. I especially miss flavorful drinks. I would love to have a pop now and then. Or one of those yogurt smoothie drinks. Or those protein bars I just bought. Or......the list of forbidden things gets very long. (sigh)


Teresa said...

I would just like to add a side note to the sugar issue. While it is still better for you than the artificial sweeteners, it can still reak havoc with our bodies. Too much sugar and sugar on a regular basis can lead to yeast overgrowth in our bodies. Which can cause not only the evil yeast infection we woman hate, but also systemic yeast infections. Everyone needs to be health conscientous, but especially us Fibromyalgia patients.

stipeygirl75 said...


I am so glad you wrote this about excitotoxins. I have the same problem with MSG which is also an excitotoxin. If I eat ANY of it in ANY form my brain feels like it is being squeezeed and my entire neck cramps up. Seriously, they put so much bad stuff in our food that no one is aware of. If you can't pronounce it you probably shouldn't be eating it :) I am also trying to cut down on the little sugar I still eat - mainly raw sugar, honey and any really sweet fruits. I have to make all my food from scratch.

VickNYC said...

This will be short and sweet, no pun intended. For those of you who know me....could I be joking around? Probably. But anyway, it's late and I wanted to post tonight. I am also trying my best to eat the right foods, but unless we move and grow our own veggies and a some animals who are raised "free range", I'm still reading labels.

So as far as sweetners go, I tried "Truvia" which comes from the Stevia plant. It does look like sugar, almost as sweet, but it has "erythnitol" I think, I can't read the small print even with an overhead light on and my glasses. It doesn't make me sick on my stomache as Splenda does. It's a lot like sugar as it doesn't melt in cold drinks (or in your cereal). Oh, and it's "0" calories...sorry about that.

I was a heavy into "Aspertame" back in the early 1980's when "Sweet 'N Low" was said to be "bad" for you and could cause cancer. When I became pregnant with my son in 1983, I read it was not good for the baby and could cause neurological damage. Well, I drank my tea with sugar and lots of it. Had to have a healthy baby! Since then, I don't use that stuff either since I'm a headache sufferer as well. Can't be good for Fibromyalgia or anyone for that matter.

I found it in Publix Grogery Store, it's a white box with green writing. Yes, of course, they have a website!

stipeygirl75 said...

I saw that Truvia also, and was intrigued. Has anyone tried it? I'm scared to try it because it has some manufactured stuff in it besides the Stevia. I'd rather buy plain Stevia but of course, they don't sell that at any regular grocery store! My current diet is, if God didn't grow it the natural way, I'm not eatin' it! ;) I will be attempting to grow some of my own veggies this summer. . . should be interesting.

Trisha Pearson said...

I'm so glad you brought up the issue of MSG, stripeygirl75. They are sneaking that into a lot of things too and it is also listed as an excitotoxin in The Fibromyalgia Solution. From what you describe about feeling like your brain is being squeezed, I'm wondering if my feeling of my brain being swollen is caused by accidentally eating MSG.

I use crystalized fructose as a sweetener in my smoothies and have adapted to drinking just plain or sparkling water and unsweetened tea and coffee. I've had a lot of people recommend Stevia but I haven't tried it. I've never heard of Truvia. I'll have to check that out.

VickNYC said...

Interesting for me, as well. I do feel, at times, that my brain is swollen. Also, my scalp can be very, very tender to touch. Quite painful. But I have tried to stay away from MSG for as much as 30 years.

I'm about to start shopping at Whole Foods. I do eat some organic foods, and they do taste much better. Organic Cane Sugar is not as sweet.

I bought Truvia at the grocery store. Years ago I used straight Stevia liquid drops UHG, no wonder Truvia tastes so good. I had some today and I've had a good day. As we have all said before, we have Fibromyalgia, but we all react to elements differently, such as medications.

For great smoothies, with no added sugar, fructose, just whole fruit and some juices added for flavor is Bolthouse. Any grocery store, even Walmart sells it. All kinds, I highly recommend them. It's in the refrigerated section, you can also check out their website. Some of them I mix with Vanilla Soy Milk (Organic). I love it. Even the Green Goodness is good.

Happy Shopping, and eating!