Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Can Artificial Sweeteners Cause Constipation

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Tap Into The Power Of Probiotics

Ask Dr. Nandi: Can artificial sweeteners cause weight gain?

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that improve gut health, improve digestion, and affect immune function. There is some evidence that probiotics may improve constipation. Probiotics decrease the amount of time that stool takes to move through the bowel. They also improve the consistency of stool and lead to more frequent bowel movements. Studies suggest the probiotic species, Bifidobacterium lactis, are very beneficial for bowel health. Some strains of Bifidobacterium may be helpful for those who have abdominal pain and bloating due to irritable bowel syndrome, too. Eat yogurt with live active cultures, kefir, or kombucha to get your fill of beneficial bugs to help your belly.

Can You Get Something For Nothing

Our innate desire for sweetness may be interfering with our ability to judge right from wrong. There is nothing in our diet that we can consume without a cost. The cost can be excess calories, fat, protein, or carbohydrates. It’s even possible to consume excess water. We see calorie- and sugar-free sweeteners and believe that there isn’t a cost, but maybe there is. Unfortunately, the research that has been done is failing us. With two sides battling over the safety of these sweeteners, it’s imperative that we get the answers from the “gold standard” of research studies: independent, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies. It’s our responsibility to be aware of what we are consuming and to protect our safety.

Acceptable daily intakes have been set for each nonnutritive sweetener for a reason we can’t ingest unlimited quantities of these additives. If you believe that you are experiencing any of the symptoms from the consumption of a nutritive or nonnutritive sweetener, then eliminating them from your diet is the best way to determine if it’s so. Sweeteners are not essential nutrients in our diet, so they exist to nurture our sweet tooth, not our bodies.

How To Make Infused Water

The great part about infused water is that its so easy to make. All you need is fresh produce along with cold water. Start by choosing what flavor you want, wash and chop your produce and simply add it to your water.

The amount of produce you use is up to you based on how much water youre infusing and how much flavor you want to add. Obviously, the more produce you add, the more intense the flavor will be. The intensity will also depend on how long you let the ingredients soak/infuse. Some items will add flavor almost immediately, while other items like rosemary, berries, apples and ginger will need to soak overnight.

Infusing can take place at room temperature for about 2 hours, but to prevent bacteria growth infusions should be stored in the fridge if soaking for longer than a couple hours. If youre making a large batch of infused water that will be sitting out for a party, be sure to add plenty of ice to keep it chilled and prevent bacteria growth.

Some produce can be reused to make a second batch of infused water. Just use your best judgement. If it still looks and smells fresh, it should be fine. I do this often with lemon and limes. Just remember that with citrus fruit, the rind can start to add a bitter flavor after it has soaked a few hours. If this causes an issue for you, you can peel the fruit before using it.

And yes, you can eat the fruit after youre done drinking your infused water. I do this all the time!

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Having Loose Stools Or Diarrhea These Foods Could Be The Cause

Using the bathroom after eating or drinking is a normal part of the bodys digestion process. But for some people, certain foods trigger an urgent need to go to the restroom maybe with diarrhea shortly after eating.

If you notice youre sprinting to the bathroom or having diarrhea regularly, one of these seven foods may be the culprit:

1. Coffee:

Your beloved cup of coffee may be a reason youre running to the bathroom.

Many people have a bowel movement after drinking this morning staple. The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant, explains Dr. David Talabiska, gastroenterologist at Geisinger. It can help you feel more alert, but it also stimulates your digestive system. This makes it work faster and less efficiently, potentially causing loose stool or diarrhea.

Some people may even get the same effect from drinking decaf coffee, too.

Its likely that chemicals in coffee, like gastrin and cholecystokinin, also contribute to the after-coffee bathroom trip, but the effects of these chemicals arent completely understood, adds Dr. Talabiska.

2. Sugar substitutes:

Seeing diet or sugar-free on a label may be a red flag if you get diarrhea from eating certain foods. Some of the natural and artificial sweeteners in diet drinks and foods, such as aspartame, sucralose, maltitol and sorbitol, may not digest properly for some people, explains Dr. Talabiska.

Fast food, like french fries, burgers or fried chicken, can cause diarrhea.

4. Spicy food:

5. Alcohol:

6. Dairy:

Counseling And Stress Relief

Stomach bloating: Reduce pain after eating

Many people who seek care for IBS also have anxiety, panic, or depression. Stress is also an issue for people with IBS because it can make the symptoms worse. Research shows that psychological therapy can help ease IBS symptoms. Therapies that can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy , a short-term treatment that mixes different types of therapies and behavioral strategies. The type of CBT used to treat IBS may focus on managing life stress. Or, it may focus on changing how a person responds to anxiety about IBS symptoms.
  • Dynamic psychotherapy, an intensive, short-term form of talk therapy. It may focus on in-depth discussions about the link between symptoms and emotions. The therapy may also help people identify and resolve interpersonal conflicts.
  • Hypnotherapy, where people enter an altered state of consciousness. Visual suggestions are made to imagine pain going away, for example.

General stress relief is also important. Exercising regularly is a good way to relieve stress. It also helps the bowel function better and improves overall health. Meditation, yoga, and massage may also help.

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Common Side Effects And Production

Splenda is made by adding chlorine to regular sugar, increasing the number of chlorine atoms. Because of this alteration, Splenda passes through the gut undigested, which is what makes it “calorie-free.” According to Columbia University, sucralose, as well as other artificial sweeteners, can cause bloating, gas and diarrhea. When eaten in large quantities, Splenda may have a laxative effect. This includes Splenda that is added to foods during production, as well as Splenda that you add yourself.

Effects On Gastrointestinal Tract/gastrointestinal Symptoms

There is minimal data on the effect of AS on GI symptoms, stool form, GI histology, and alterations in the anatomy of the GI tract. Anderson and Kirkland noted that the stool of rats fed a diet of 7.5% NaS for 10 days was softer compared with controls , and was not as odiferous per laboratory technician report. Additionally, in the NaS group the cecal tissue weight increased by 45% and the weight of cecal contents increased by 80%, which was hypothesized to be due to osmotic effect of NaS. In a follow up study done by the same group, 49 male rats were fed a control diet or a diet with different concentrations of NaS . They found that stool water increased 4-fold in the group fed NaS at 7.5% compared to the control group, but the stool dry weight remained constant. NaS resulted in a dose-dependent increase in the stool content of an unidentified carbohydrate, and it was hypothesized that this may represent an undigested polysaccharide or polysaccharide synthesized by the microbiota. The cecal enlargement and increased water in the saccharin groups was thought to be secondary to high stool saccharin content and increased stool hydration.

Abou-Donia found histopathologic changes in the colons of mice fed sucralose plus maltodextran versus control mice, which included lymphocytic infiltrates into the epithelium, epithelial scarring, and mild depletion of goblet cells.

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Aspartame Isn’t For All

“Aspartame is approved for use in food as a nutritive sweetener. Aspartame contains calories, but because it is about 200 times sweeter than table sugar, consumers are likely to use much less of it,” says Daghigh. “It loses its sweetness when heated, so it typically isn’t used in baked goods. People with a rare congenital disease known as phenylketonuria have a difficult time metabolizing phenylalanine, a component of aspartame, and should avoid aspartame.” For more on specific sweeteners, read about every added sweetener ranked by nutrition!

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Digestion & Bowel Movements

New study suggests artificial sweeteners may cause weight gain

While diabetes is known for raising the risk of strokes and heart attacks, many people dont know that it affects your digestive system too. Over time, high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels in your digestive system. If your digestive system speeds up or slows down, this can result in either diarrhea or constipation.

According to WebMD, around 60% to 70% of people who suffer from any type of diabetes suffer from some form of nerve damage as a result of this, and this can develop at any stage. When diabetes damages the nerves in your stomach and intestines, the food cannot move through normally and this results in constipation.

Fluid that remains in your intestines for too long can also begin to ferment and bacteria will begin to grow. This can result in bloating, pain, and diarrhea.

While all of this sounds pretty bleak, the best thing you can do is discuss your symptoms with a healthcare professional for the best way forward. You may be able to manage your diarrhea and constipation on your own simply by consuming smaller meals more regularly, eating foods rich in fiber, or taking prescribed medication from your doctor.

Lastly, and most importantly, you need to always monitor your blood sugar levels and make every effort to ensure they are stable, as this will lessen uncomfortable symptoms and prevent the nerve damage from worsening.

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Foods High In Fructose

While processed foods such as soft drinks and commercially prepared sweetsare frequent culprits , theyare not the only source of blame .

It turns out some very healthy foods like apples, pears and dried fruitsare high in the naturally occurring sugar fructose, which when ingested,can trigger some of the same side effects as undigested lactose.

The best thing to do is to eat more fruits that dont contain as muchfructose, like berries, citrus and bananas, says Lee.

Do Not Overload On The Fiber

Despite fiber being essential for proper digestion, you could feel bloated and constipated if you go overboard with it. Its recommended to increase your fluid intake, exercise, and make important dietary changes in such circumstances.

Generally, the bad side of fiber reveals itself if you take more than 70 grams of fiber a day. Eating that amount is not rare. People who strictly follow a vegan, raw, or whole food diet are likely to regularly hit that threshold.

Not to mention, the digestion issues connected with fiber only get worse if there are not enough minerals, such as magnesium and selenium, in the food.

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Is There An Association Between Artificial Sweeteners And Cancer

Questions about artificial sweeteners and cancer arose when early studies showed that cyclamate in combination with saccharin caused bladder cancer in laboratory animals. However, results from subsequent carcinogenicity studies of these sweeteners have not provided clear evidence of an association with cancer in humans. Similarly, studies of other FDA-approved sweeteners have not demonstrated clear evidence of an association with cancer in humans.

Sucralose: What Are The Pros

Artificial Sweeteners and Weight Gain

Sucralose is the newest nonnutritive sweetener on the market. It is most well known for its claim to be made from sugar. It is used alone or found in Splenda and is 600 times sweeter than sucrose . When used alone, it provides essentially no calories and is not fully absorbed. In 1998, it was approved for limited use, and in 1999, it was given approval for use as a general-purpose sweetener. It is currently found in over 4,500 products, including foods that are cooked or baked. This artificial sweetener that can be used for cooking, so it has rapidly become one of the most popular and highly consumed artificial sweeteners.

The FDA reviewed studies in human beings and animals and determined that sucralose did not pose carcinogenic, reproductive, or neurological risk to human beings. The acceptable daily intake for sucralose was set at 5 mg/kg of body weight/day. To determine your ADI, divide your weight in pound by 2.2 and then multiply it by 50. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs., your weight in kg would be 91 and your ADI for sucralose would be 455 mg .

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What Are Artificial Sweeteners And How Are They Regulated In The United States

Artificial sweeteners, also called sugar substitutes, are substances that are used instead of sucrose to sweeten foods and beverages. Because artificial sweeteners are many times sweeter than table sugar, much smaller amounts are needed to create the same level of sweetness.

Artificial sweeteners are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . The FDA, like the National Cancer Institute , is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA regulates food, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, biologics, tobacco products, and radiation-emitting products. The Food Additives Amendment to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which was passed by Congress in 1958, requires the FDA to approve food additives, including artificial sweeteners, before they can be made available for sale in the United States. However, this legislation does not apply to products that are generally recognized as safe. Such products do not require FDA approval before being marketed.

Milk And Dairy Products

Dairy appears to be another common cause of constipation, at least for some people.

Infants, toddlers, and children appear particularly at risk, possibly due to a sensitivity to the proteins found in cows milk .

A review of studies conducted over a 26-year period found that some children with chronic constipation experienced improvements when they stopped consuming cows milk .

In a recent study, children aged 112 with chronic constipation drank cows milk for a period of time. The cows milk was then replaced by soy milk for a subsequent period of time.

Nine of the 13 children in the study experienced constipation relief when cows milk was replaced by soy milk .

There are many anecdotal reports of similar experiences in adults. However, little scientific support could be found, since most studies examining these effects are focused on children, not older populations.

Its worth noting that those who are lactose intolerant may experience diarrhea, rather than constipation, after consuming dairy.


Dairy products may cause constipation in some individuals. This effect is most common in those who are sensitive to the proteins found in cows milk.

Red meat may worsen constipation for three main reasons.

First, it contains little fiber, which adds bulk to stools and helps them move along.

Second, red meat may also indirectly reduce a persons total daily fiber intake by taking the place of higher-fiber options in the diet.

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Take Away: Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe

While the FDA has approved six different artificial sweeteners, we really dont know how the consumption of these chemicals will affect our health in the long run.

My gut tells me that down the line, we will continue to discover more dangers and adverse side effects from frequent consumption of artificial sweeteners. After all, if hundreds upon hundreds of the individuals that I coach experience such negative side effects after minimal consumption, I cant help but assume that this will manifest into unwanted health conditions down the road.

It also remains unclear how these super-sweet compounds will affect our children, especially with fetal exposure. Based on the current evidence and level of industry-funded research, my best advice is to steer clear of any artificial sweetener made in a laboratory, especially when pregnant.

Why risk exposing yourself, or your loved ones, to potentially hazardous chemicals when we have natural alternatives readily available?


Research About The Potential Side Effects Of Artificial Sweeteners Are Mixed But If You’re Healthy Usage Might Be Okay

Artificial Sweeteners Cause Weight Gain, Not Weight Loss And Can Lead To Splurging Elsewhere | TIME

“Studies have suggested an association between the use of non-nutritive sweeteners and health outcomes . However, in a recent comprehensive systematic BMJ review, a broad range of health outcomes were investigated to determine a possible association with non-nutritive sweetener use in a generally healthy population,” explains Farzaneh Daghigh, PhD from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “There was no convincing evidence that non-nutritive sweeteners had any effect in adults on eating behavior, cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, mood, behavior or cognition. This study found a slight benefit in promoting weight loss and improving fasting blood glucose levels, but only in small studies and over short periods of time. Potential harms from the consumption of non-nutritive sweeteners could not be excluded.”

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Saccharin: What Are The Pros

Saccharin has been around for over 100 years and claims to be the “best researched sweetener.” It was discovered when a researchers was working on coal tar derivatives. Saccharin is also known as Sweet and Low, Sweet Twin, Sweet’N Low, and Necta Sweet. It does not contain any calories, does not raise blood sugar levels, and its sweetness is 200 to 700 times sweeter than sucrose . It has a bitter aftertaste.

The FDA’s guidelines on the use of saccharin for beverages are not to exceed 12 mg/fluid ounce, and in processed food, the amount is not to exceed 30 mg per serving. The acceptable daily intake for saccharin is 5 mg/kg of body weight. To determine your ADI, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 and then multiply it by 5. For example, if you weighed 180 lbs., your weight in kg would be 82 and your ADI for saccharin would be 410 mg . Saccharin is used in tabletop sweeteners, baked goods, jams, chewing gum, canned fruit, candy, dessert toppings, and salad dressings. It also is used in cosmetic products, vitamins, and pharmaceuticals.

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