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Question
Posted by: mike | 2012/04/13

Reaction to aspartame (artificial sweeteners)

Hi Diet Doc

Thanks for the replies on allergy treatments and weight loss (" medically frustrated" ). I''ve been using artificial sweeteners for years, as they do help limit weight gain, but do experience cramping and tummy upsets depending on the quantity.

As a nicotine addicted heavy smoker, I generally chew gum or throat lozenges to combat the dry mouth and ashtray taste which I don''t enjoy - in fact, smoking is almost impossible for me without them. Having lost most of my dentition as a result of sugar in sweets such as " Halls" , I switched on dental advice to artificial sweeteners such as " Airwaves" , but quickly developed painful cramping, presumably as a result of the high quantity ingested daily. I have the same problem with most sugar free chewing gums, and probably also in the sweetener used in teas and coffees.

My community pharmacist made me aware of the link when going for repeat scripts for diarhea and cramps, and when i changed back to sugar, lo and behold the cramps were gone (and my teeth followed shortly afterward).

I don''t experience sugar craving but am at a loss to understand why the reaction to aspartame, and what diagnostic path could shed light on this as I find myself a reluctant involuntary user of sugar in lozenges etc. Giving up smoking has not worked for me,so I find myself in a catch-22

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Mike
This is indeed a problem. Allergies to any food, compound or factor on earth are possible in a small number of individuals and aspartame is no exception. I am not sure if the products you use to combat the dry mouth and ashtray taste of smoking, contain so-called sugar alcohols which are known for causing a variety of digestive symptoms such as cramps, bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea and even nausea. So just check if you are not also ingesting some sugar alcohols together with the aspartame. If you are reacting to the aspartame and nothing else, then there will be no logic to explain why your body reacts this way. Some people are allergic to sulphur for example and have to avoid every single product which is preserved with sulphur compounds, and even eggs and the cabbage family which contain relatively high levels of sulphur. The next person may be allergic to gluten and have to avoid all foods that contain wheat, rye, oats, barley, spelt, kamut, and titricale. So let's presume that you are allergic to aspartame and that you have already lost most of your teeth because of switching back to sugar, then I would like to suggest that you investigate the use of "electric cigarettes" which I read about awhile ago in an article by Tiara Walters in the 'Green Life' column of the Sunday Times Lifestyle Magazine. According to this article, these electric cigarettes provide smokers with the nicotine they crave without most of the other negative and harmful compounds, which possibly cause that ashtray taste?
Ms Walters was suggesting their use to combat environmental pollution caused by discarded 'stompies', but when I read your message it dawned on me that the electric cigarettes may also be a solution to your problems. Ideally you should try to give up smoking completely, which would stop the bad taste in your mouth, no longer necessitate the use of aspartame or sugar sweetened lozenges or gum, and also do your overall health a great deal of good and/or preserve your life. But if as you say, that is impossible, then you could investigate these electronic cigarettes as the lesser of two evils.
Best regards
DietDoc

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Our users say:
Posted by: DietDoc | 2012/04/14

Dear Mike
This is indeed a problem. Allergies to any food, compound or factor on earth are possible in a small number of individuals and aspartame is no exception. I am not sure if the products you use to combat the dry mouth and ashtray taste of smoking, contain so-called sugar alcohols which are known for causing a variety of digestive symptoms such as cramps, bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea and even nausea. So just check if you are not also ingesting some sugar alcohols together with the aspartame. If you are reacting to the aspartame and nothing else, then there will be no logic to explain why your body reacts this way. Some people are allergic to sulphur for example and have to avoid every single product which is preserved with sulphur compounds, and even eggs and the cabbage family which contain relatively high levels of sulphur. The next person may be allergic to gluten and have to avoid all foods that contain wheat, rye, oats, barley, spelt, kamut, and titricale. So let's presume that you are allergic to aspartame and that you have already lost most of your teeth because of switching back to sugar, then I would like to suggest that you investigate the use of "electric cigarettes" which I read about awhile ago in an article by Tiara Walters in the 'Green Life' column of the Sunday Times Lifestyle Magazine. According to this article, these electric cigarettes provide smokers with the nicotine they crave without most of the other negative and harmful compounds, which possibly cause that ashtray taste?
Ms Walters was suggesting their use to combat environmental pollution caused by discarded 'stompies', but when I read your message it dawned on me that the electric cigarettes may also be a solution to your problems. Ideally you should try to give up smoking completely, which would stop the bad taste in your mouth, no longer necessitate the use of aspartame or sugar sweetened lozenges or gum, and also do your overall health a great deal of good and/or preserve your life. But if as you say, that is impossible, then you could investigate these electronic cigarettes as the lesser of two evils.
Best regards
DietDoc

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