Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nutra-Sweet and Aspartame: The Fibromyalgia Connection

This is an interesting article, I know we have talked about artificial sweeteners before, as well as dietary exclusions to watch for, this provides a medical connection for the aspartame and reason it may affect us fibros is a bad way. It also serves to reinterrate the others that we are told to stay away from. The one on the list I have the hardest time staying away from is caffeine :(


All the experts WebMD talked to agree that for a large majority of people with fibromyalgia, foods sweetened with aspartame could exacerbate fibromyalgia symptoms.

"There is a pain receptor in the nervous system known as NMDA," says McNett. "When pain turns from acute to chronic, it involves opening the NMDA pain receptor. Aspartame, which is classified as an excitotoxin, helps to stimulate this event." He also says people with fibromyalgia appear to already have overly active NMDA pain receptors, making them more susceptible to the stimulation.

The other 6 items on the list are:
2. Food additives including MSG (monosodium glutamine) and nitrates.
3. Sugar, fructose, and simple carbohydrates.
4. Caffeine -- including coffee, tea, colas, and chocolate.
5. Yeast and gluten.
6. Dairy.
7. Nightshade Plants: Tomatoes, chili and bell peppers, potatoes, and eggplant.

Oh and good news the article also says that "other artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, saccharin, and stevia do not appear to have the same effect as aspartame."  But I am skeptical, as Splenda has had very bad effects on *my* intestinal system!


  1. This is a good article on WebMD; I have gone to their website many times to look up health issues. I know for certain that aspartame makes my fibro pain worse and have been avoiding it ever since I did my own experiment to find out. I have removed other foods from my diet such as tomatoes, potatoes and bell peppers. I rarely eat these items and when I do I’m unable to tell any difference in my pain. I drink hot decaffeinated and herbal tea simply because I can have them in the afternoon and don’t have to be concerned with interfering with my sleep.
    I do like my dark chocolate from time to time and here again, can’t tell any difference in my pain level. But, like the article said, it’s different for each person suffering from Fibromyalgia. I can tell you are diligent about learning all you can about this illness; that is a good thing; please keep sharing with us.

  2. Thanks Brenda! I am so glad to know I am providing helpful info. I am going to try and avoid tomatoes and potatoes and bell peppers for the next 2 weeks or so and if it makes a difference. Although, halfway thu lunch today I had a minor panic as I had already forgotten I was avoiding these foods :) Thanks fibrofog! But luckily, nothing I had at lunch contained potatoes, tomotoes or bell peppers :)

  3. But, but. . . tomatoes! I just spent years working hard to learn to LOVE them! D:

    Also, potatoes and chilis and bell peppers are delicious. I don't think any of them make my symptoms worse, but I may have to try excluding them some day.

    I can say, however, that developing a caffeine intolerance makes letting go of chocolate a lot easier. I've been free of it for two months! Hooray! I can sleep again! And up is where it's supposed to be! (OD'ing on caffeine is WEIRD. Don't ever do it.) The only downside is that I no longer have any comfort foods and I've been having vivid dreams of chocolate chip cookies, fresh outta the oven.

    Interestingly, my symptoms get worse when I don't have dairy or gluten. Dairy especially. I've actually learned to tell when my symptoms are from lack of dairy! And then I go and drink some milk. I think I would be absolutely miserable if I ever developed lactose intolerance.