Yesterday we talked about agave nectar and how much I love it! I know that it is still sugar, but I feel that it is a much better form and is a healthier option.
Several years ago (maybe 2??? I tend to lose track of time pretty easily), Brian was feeling so bad. He has been very hard on his body and he always has some type of joint pain due to his car accident when he was 16. However, this was different. Brian also had a major gallbladder attack many moons ago and had to have surgery to have it removed. When he was in surgery, the dr's found the stones had gotten into the pancreatic duct. When they removed them, it caused Brian to go into hemoragghic pancreatitis. This resulted in a VERY long hospital stay and he was fighting for his life again. Luckily for us, he won that battle, but became a diabetic due to all the damage to his pancreas. So, he started drinking Diet Coke. He was a Coke drinker before his surgery and due to his diabetes he switched to diet. This was a long time ago (1996) and way before I was aware of all the bad habits we both had.
Now, Brian didn't just drink Diet Coke, he DRANK diet coke. A LOT of it! He would have 3-5 20 ounce bottles daily. No water, just coke. He might have some tea, but he added nutrasweet to it as well. Then of course, he was eating the "diet" food that had the artificial sweeteners. He has a HUGE sweet tooth!
So, he was ingesting a large amount of aspartame. Many years of this way of eating had gone on and his joint pain and stomach pains were increasing all the time. He felt horrible. As the years passed, I was educating myself on healthy eating habits and everything I was reading was leading me to believe that Brian needed to get off the aspartame. I would tell Brian about it and he listened, but wasn't willing to give up his precious diet cokes. So, the pains increased and he finally had enough. About 2 years ago I was once again telling him to get off the aspartame and he was in enough pain and taking painkillers that he decided to give it a try. I convinced him to give up all forms of aspartame for 2 weeks. I thought this would enough time to get it out of his system. I really didn't know how long it would take, but wanted to make sure it was enough time.
There was a LOT of complaining, some caffeine withdrawal headaches, but after 3 or 4 days - his joint pain was completely gone! We were both amazed and surprised. We talked to his doctor and she told us that she is positive that he had aspartame poisioning. She also told me that a lot of people are mis-diagonised with fibromyagia and MS because a lot of the dr's are not aware of aspartame poisioning. This was so eye-opening to me. I had to research it some more.
I found that there are over 92 side effects of aspartame consumption! 92!!!! It can effect the eyes, ears, neurological system, cause psychotic issues, chest pains and high blood pressure, gastro problems, skin allergies, depression and so many other issues.
So I highly encourage you to give up all artificial sweeteners. If you need a healthy sub, try stevia, agave nectar, sucanat or rapadura, brown rice syrup. There are many ways to incorporate healthy alternatives into your diet without using artificial products.
Brian still craves a diet coke every now and then. He will have one occasionally and I wish that I could say that he doesn't like the taste, but he does. To me they have a chemical taste. I know that he won't go back to drinking them all the time, but he does have one every couple of months. I'm working on him :)
If you have a similar story, I'd love to hear it! Please share!