Artificial Sugars

August 8, 2018


    For most people that suffer from migraine disease(s) they, like me, have a long list of potential triggers. If you have read my previous post "Triggered" you know my list is extensive, but it did not come together quickly. Unearthing my many triggers has taken years! Some things like stress or not getting enough sleep are easy to spot, however different foods and environmental things can be more tricky. 


    As far as sugar, the only thing I can tolerate is REAL, simple sugar. Not any artificial sweetener, stevia or other "natural" alternatives. I was around 19 when I started to notice my sensitivity to the artificial stuff. Being young, fairly new to a life with migraine and not as in-tune with my body I assumed I could not have yogurt because I would get a migraine when I ate it... Well it was not the yogurt, it was the kind and the fact that it was loaded with artificial sweetener. You would think I would have put that puzzle together but I didn't- I just gave up yogurt and still ate other things with artificial sugars not knowing any better and still feeling like crap. 


    The lightbulb moment didn't happen until about a year later when I was watching my then-boyfriend make me a cup of tea. I like a little milk and sugar in my tea, which he'd made me many times. Every time I'd drink the tea he made I'd get a migraine and I couldn't figure it out- until I saw him pour Splenda into my teacup. I thought he'd just been using sugar, but in his effort to make me a "more healthy" cup of tea he'd been using an artificial sweetener. He was doing something nice and I don't at all blame him, but watching him pour that Splenda was my "ah-ha" moment. From that day on I have been ultra careful about what I eat, checking labels and being more aware of my own body.


    I have tried things like stevia and agave and my body does not like it. Everyone is different and reacts to things in their own way. Discovering triggers is such a long and personal journey. I know what I can and cannot have - even if others think that is might see inaccurate. I've had people say that this or that is natural so I should be able to have it. If I have a dollar for every time a doctor has told me that my body is "not reacting how they expected" (for a vast number of things migraine related and not) I would be rich. Now I can taste or smell an artificial sweetener in something before I ask for the ingredients or read the label. My body sends up the red flag. A few weeks ago I grabbed a water bottle from a cooler, took a sip and immediately spit it out! I hadn't seen that it was a "flavored" water. Mistakes like that happen, even for migraine veterans like myself, but when they do it reminds me to be more aware and careful. 




    What foods have you discovered a sensitivity too? How did find out? 









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