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Archive for October, 2010

painfully sweet

A few weeks ago I started getting these weird pains.  The best way I can describe them is “growing pains”.  They weren’t in the joint or a muscle pain – it was more like a bone pain. They wouldn’t last long, but were really intense and they became more and more frequent.  I had also started having knee pain that was different than what I’d had before from the old car accident injuries AND pain in my shoulders.  I hadn’t done anything I could think of that would bring on this kind of pain. I hadn’t been to a doctor yet about it. I guess I just kept hoping they would go away. Denial – it’s a powerful thing! 
 
When the “growing pains” started becoming more frequent and more painful, I started doing some internet searches about them. I noticed one site that mentioned Propel flavored water. I really like Propel and have been drinking 1 or 2 bottles a day. So that got my attention. Long story short, Propel contains the artificial sweetener sucralose and I found site after site that talk about the side effects of sucralose, with stories of people who saw changes in their health when they stopped drinking/eating products with sucralose.  
 
The only thing I was aware of consuming that contains sucralose was the Propel.  So I figured it was worth a try and I didn’t drink any more Propel.  Then for some reason I checked the label of the pain relief pills that I was using that had a “cooling relief” coating.  In the inactive ingredients…sucralose.  Seriously?  The stuff I was taking to help relieve the pain could have been contributing to it? So I threw them out.
 
By the end of the next day the “growing pains” had stopped and the knee/shoulder pain was subsiding. As the days progressed, the joint pain continued to decrease.  The ONLY change I made was cutting out the sucralose. I specifically made sure that I did not make any other changes to my eating habits or anything. I wanted to test this out. 
 
Then about a week later I started noticing those growing pains again. They weren’t as frequent or as strong, but they were happening. I was puzzled. I thought maybe it wasn’t the sucralose after all.  Then I noticed the knee/shoulder pain again. I was totally puzzled.

Then I remembered.  That morning I felt like I had a cold coming on and I did what I have done before to knock out a cold before it gets worse. I took DayQuil.  I went to look at the list of inactive ingredients and sure enough…sucralose!  Obviously I didn’t take any more. By the next day there were no more growing pains and the shoulder/knee pain was gone. Well, the knee pain is almost always there, but the “new” knee pain – the joint pain as opposed to muscle pain – that was gone.
 
Sucralose is what Splenda is, but it a lot of products alo contain it. Things you might not suspect (like pain relief pills or DayQuil).  I have become diligent about reading labels!

If you do a search for sucralose you’ll see plenty of sites about sucralose side effects, sucralose warnings, sucralose dangers etc.  It’s not like it’s just one crackpot site that suggests there’s a problem with this stuff.  And the list of side effects people have reported (which went away when they cut out sucralose) is crazy.  Headaches, joint pain, these “growing pains”, fatigue, nausea, intestinal issues, brain fog, insomnia, irritability, dizziness, numbness, skin rashes and more!
 
In the end of the first sucralose-free week somebody at work made an interesting comment to me.  She said that I just seemed more happy or something.   I thought about it and I did feel more ….relaxed?  Chilled out? Settled?  Not sure how to describe it.   Then I had to have my picture taken for something at work and when I saw the picture I saw what my coworker had said.  The woman in that picture looks happy. Peaceful.  I’ve rarely seen a picture of myself that I actually liked, but I like that one. So this happiness… peacefulness… could it be that it is the  absence of some agitation that had been a result of the sucralose?  I can’t say for sure, but..maybe.
 
Another recent change is that I’ve been sleeping through the night.  I have had sleep challenges for ages.  I also am not feeling as worn out as I had been. My mind is more clear – I’m writing again which is a result of that. Oh – and I had been getting out of breath really easily, which I had just attributed to being out of shape. Well, I haven’t been working out (except for that one time last Monday) and I’ve noticed an improvement there. I don’t get out of breath as easily.
 
So…can I attribute all of this to the sucralose?  It is the only change I had made.  All I can say for sure is that A) I will never intentionally consume ANYTHING that contains sucralose again and B) I want to tell anyone who will listen about what I have experienced. I think there must be plenty of people who have been experiencing some of these symptoms and would never think that it could be caused by sucralose. There are people who put Splenda in their coffee/tea or bake with it and maybe they are fatigued and blame it on not getting enough sleep or aren’t sleeping and blame it on stress or whatever.  Just cutting out the use of sucralose COULD improve the quality of people’s lives.
 
I can’t convince myself that this is all a coincidence – that these changes just “happened” to take place the same time I stopped drinking Propel. It can’t be. So all I can suggest to someone else is to first, do a search for themselves to see how many sites are out there and how many stories people have shared and second, give it a try. It didn’t take long for me to notice a change. I noticed a difference within 24 hours and it just kept improving. So if someone has any interest in alleviating any of their symptoms, it seems like it’s worth the investment of an experiment of going without sucralose.

Oh – and one other thing. Splenda (which is sucralose) says it’s made from sugar so it tastes like sugar.  What they don’t tell you is that it’s made by adding three chlorine atoms to each molecule of sugar. Chlorine. The FDA says it’s a safe level, but what about the site after site after site of people who have experienced relief from a laundry list of symptoms just by cutting sucralose out of their diet? 

I’m one of them.  But don’t take my word for it. If you use Splenda or consume anything with sucralose in it, I strongly encourage you to do some searching and read for yourself and then decide whether it’s something you really want to be consuming. It affects people in different ways and at different levels. I had been drinking Propel for several years and would never have considered a connection if it hadn’t been for the “growing pains”. I’m so glad for those pains now because cutting out sucralose has brought relief from other things as well.

Sucralose is a sweetener with an ugly side. It’s not the only one. Aspartame and saccarin are no better. But sucralose is the one I have experience with, so I wanted you to know. I want everyone to know. All I can do is tell you my experience. 

This isn’t the kind of thing I usually write about, but I think it’s important to get the word out. Relief from joint pain, bone pain, headaches, migraines, skin rashes, brain fog, digestive issues, fatigue, insominia, irritability – and more – could be as easy as eliminating one ingredient.

I’d say it’s worth a try.   It sure was for me.

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