Artificial sweeteners – could they be making you sick? Seriously!!!
Could they be the reason for your muscle aches? Fibromyalgia? Memory loss? Nausea? Vomiting? Headaches? Let me tell you about a 7-yr. journey that I lived a few years ago that I wish I never had.
It all started when I became pregnant for my daughter. I immediately came down with morning sickness that lasted my entire pregnancy. To combat the morning sickness I was told to take ginger. When that didn’t work, several other prescription meds were prescribed at different times throughout the pregnancy. Not one of them worked. For nine months my trash barrel was my best friend. I couldn’t wait to get that baby out of me so the nausea and vomiting would go away.
That day finally came. My daughter arrived and I was never so elated – not because I had given birth to this beautiful healthy baby girl but because the nausea and vomiting would finally be gone. That thinking turned out to be only wishful thinking. I was still nauseated day after day…week after week…month after month with an occasional day of relief. I was still vomiting – but not as often as I did when I was pregnant.
For the next six years I suffered with nausea. I was in and out of the doctor’s office. I had my stomach meds changed several times. I had a gastroscopy, which showed nothing. One doctor did an ultrasound and told me it was my gall bladder causing the grief and it was removed. Not one of these procedures cured my ailments. I was still very miserable. I was beside myself…why was I so sick? I kept asking myself – why can’t the doctors find a cure? It came to the point where I was determined to find the cure myself except I didn’t have a whole lot to work with.
All I had to work with was what I knew aggravated the nausea beyond belief – my beloved diet Pepsi, coffee, and tea. Each time I tried to drink one of these beverages – I couldn’t get passed a few sips. Then one day while grocery shopping, I decided to try a new soda that came out on the market with 1/2 the sugar. My thought was 1/2 the sugar is better than full sugar. It surely wasn’t my diet Pepsi, so I wasn’t all that eager to try it after getting it home, and it just sat there for quite some time.
Then the day came when my daughter was graduating from kindergarten. I actually felt fairly well that morning – something that happened on occasion. Great I thought to myself let’s see if I can sustain this feeling for the day. Maybe, just maybe, I would be able to enjoy her graduation. I did, but I did not sustain feeling well for the entire day.
We left the graduation and went home. It wasn’t until after I had been home a 1/2 hour and I started feeling ill again. Why? I didn’t understand – I was just fine a few minutes ago. So I decided to backtrack my day up until then. I began to think about what I had eaten so far that day. I had a half can of that new cola before heading to the graduation. At the graduation, I had a bite – just one bite – of a brownie. I then went home, opened another can of that same soda, and drank half of that. That’s all I had so far – nothing more nothing less.
Thinking about this carefully – the only thing that remotely related to what I already knew aggravated the nausea was the new soda. I began to think – what does that new cola have in it that the diet Pepsi had in it? What do they have in common, if anything? To the can I headed. I read the ingredients on the can – it contained an artificial sweetener. My mind started working – the coffee and tea I loved – I always added Sweet ‘n Low – an artificial sweetener to it, the diet Pepsi contained an artificial sweetener. Now what? Where do I take this information?
On the Internet I went. I searched, searched, and read article after article I could find on artificial sweeteners. I learned the following about artificial sweeteners. Many of them contain aspartame. Aspartame contains phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol (wood alcohol). Well…you know that methanol? That is a poison. Aspartame contains 10% methanol. Methanol enters the small intestine and is absorb by the body. From there, the methanol is metabolized to form formaldehyde (use to embalm bodies) and to formic acid (found in the sting of red ants). The EPA states one should limit 7.8 grams per day in a person’s diet – they consider that safe.
Shockingly, an 8oz. serving of diet soda contains 14 mgs.! And how many cans of diet soda a DAY had I been drinking over the years – like many, many years? WAY too many. There were days when I would have 5 or 6 cans, some days even more. This isn’t including all the coffee I drank too. Considering this poison builds up slowly in one’s body, I was literally being poisoned from the consumption of the soda I drank, right along with any other food products containing artificial sweeteners containing aspartame. In addition, the phenylalanine levels in my body were more than likely much higher than they should be from the combined meds I was taking and the choice of beverage consumption over the years – thus building up and causing nausea as well. This is because phenylalanine is added to diet soda and certain medications.
You ask why was the onset of my issues when I became pregnant? That’s because I must have been one of those pregnant women showing similar symptoms of the disorder described below:
“A (rare) “variant form” of phenylketonuria called hyperphenylalaninemia is caused by the inability to synthesize a coenzyme called biopterin, which can be supplemented. Pregnant women with hyperphenylalaninemia may show similar symptoms of the disorder (high levels of phenylalanine in blood) but these indicators will usually disappear at the end of gestation.” (quoted from wikipedia…very simple detailed definition)
Sadly, my symptoms did not go away at the end of gestation which suggested to me – the levels of phenylalanine in my blood had to have been pretty high for them to continue on and torture me.
Though, through all my research, one article suggested to lay off ALL products containing artificial sweeteners for one month to see if there was any change. At this point I had nothing to lose but everything to gain. Despite how much I loved these beverages and the foods I thought were saving me calories, I had to give them up to see if I’d see a change, because I wanted no more than to feel well again. And GUESS WHAT??
Come the forth week of staying away from all food and drink products containing artificial sweeteners – the nausea was GONE – completely gone. My daughter will be 15 in a few months and I’ve been nausea free since she was 6.5 yrs old. I no longer ingest anything that contains any type of artificial sweetener. NO sucralose, no NutraSweet, no Splenda, no Sweet ‘n Low, no saccharin – not a taste of anything with any kind of artificial sweetener in them…nada!
Artificial Sweeteners Seizure Causing You Say? Absolutely!
Another lesson learned about artificial sweeteners – my son has a seizure disorder caused from a brain hemorrhage. I had started sending Crystal Light with him for lunch when he started adult services. I was receiving incident reports sent home with him day after day saying he had a seizure. I thought the direct support employees didn’t have a clue what they were talking about because I hadn’t seen a seizure for years. Come to find out, the seizures were real and were from him consuming the Crystal Light. After a discussion with his neurologist, I learned that anyone with a seizure disorder should not ingest any artificial sweetener other than sucralose. Guess what? Sucralose isn’t happening either. NO artificial nothing for my kids, knowing what I know now, and what we’ve been through.
If you suffer from ailments like headaches, dizziness, depression, vomiting or nausea, abdominal pain, seizures, vision changes, Fibromyalgia, joint pain, anxiety, or any other unexplained ailment that you can’t seem to get relief from, I highly suggest you looking at your artificial sweetener consumption. One great article to read regarding health effects of artificial sweeteners can be found at medicinenet.com.
If you’re a soda drinker – you may find this article worth reading: Medical Monday – Soda – Cancer Causing? Facts That Might Make You Cringe!