No thanks I’m Sweet enough…
Do you love sugar? Have you got a sweet tooth? Isn’t it hell when you want to keep to a good diet yet crave sweet stuff? Sugar is one of the things in our diet that we’re all supposed to watch out for. Too much of it can cause us harm, as can too little of it. Most processed food has some form of sugar in it. Most things that end with the letters ‘ose’ denote sugar such as glucose, fructose, lactose, etc, but as migraine sufferers it’s important not to let sugar levels drop too much or it can trigger an attack. Also as migraineurs it’s important to eat a healthy diet, so automatically turning to foods with less of the bad stuff and more of the good stuff is something that seems completely sensible and natural. However, many of the foods and drinks that declare themselves healthier for you because they are ‘sugar-free’ or ‘diet’ versions may have a hidden sting in their tail.
It’s called Aspartame – which is also known as
- Amino Sweet
- Aspartyl-phenylalanine-1-methyl ester
- Canderel (tablets)
- Equal Classic
Aspartame is one of the most common artificial sweeteners used today. It’s about 200 times sweeter than sugar so less of it can be used in food to get the same sweetness, thereby reducing the calories. That’s the idea behind it, which is why it’s used with the ‘diet’ and ‘sugar-free’ labels
Not all artificial sweeteners are the same; some are made from naturally occurring substances including plants or normal sugar itself. They can be helpful for people who are trying to lose weight or diabetics who can’t take regular sugar, however, Aspartame is linked with some health problems, and migraine is a one of them!
According to the Department of Health and Human Services in the USA, in a report from way back in 1995, Aspartame accounted for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Some of the documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include:
It remains one of the most controversial, yet most tested and monitored food additives, so it can’t be all that bad, can it? See the following link for how it’s seen by diabetes.co.uk
How do I avoid it?
Simple answer, don’t eat or drink….anything…..at all! Seriously though, check the ingredient labels on your food to find out exactly what’s in it. Look out for E numbers, all the ‘ose’ words, MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) among other things. They may all contribute to your chances of an attack and many are best avoided if at all possible.
For a full list of food additives and legislation related to them in Ireland have a look at the Food Safety Authority’s Website.