Concerned about artificial sweetners (Aspartame etc) and their effects on Lupus ?

My aunt sent me an artical from America about artificial sweetners and their impact on Lupus suffers. It said that they had found a link between it and worsening symptoms. I have recently changed my diet (Slimming World - amazing, 18.5 lbs weightloss in 10 weeks) & had been eating lots of no added sugar aka 'aspartame' products! Flaring like mad currently. Anyone else experience this ? X

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  • The point of a diet for lupus is going back to basics and cook/eat stuff without additives, as pure as possible. I read about aspartame on this site, if you search the word here you will find a post about it, but personally I haven't isolated aspartame as being the issue because at the time I was flaring my diet contained many ingredients that were maintaining inflammation already - natural sugar, load do salt, additives, gluten, wheat, dairy.

    For me the bottom line is that if it is man-made then it is bad, so aspartame must be too. I would rather cook from scratch so that I know what is in it, or if I'm craving sugar, have a piece of chocolate or a heavenly desert once in a blue moon. Plus avoid all those things above, I.e. gluten, dairy, etc.

  • Aspartame is in many drinks and foods, even some yoghurts including some Muller, Danone and Weightwatchers. Some chewing gum and some crisps, and food sauces also have it. There is a UK recommended daily allowance which is the equivalent of drinking 14 cans of sugar free drinks per day. Diet Coke which has aspartame also contains phosphoric acid which is said to be a problem for those with kidney disease.. All deemed to be safe by the FSA.

    Aspartame has been controversial since it's introduction, and if you have the genetic condition phenylketonuria you should not have it at all as it causes damage. The Food Standards Agency has checked for it's safety several times, but scare stories still appear mainly in the US, although a few are hoaxes including conspiracy theories. Agree with purpletop if it's man-made then it's not necessarily that good for you. Having looked at all the bumpf on it, I avoid or limit intake to the bare minimum as I am not convinced.

  • Yes, my other half told me about this last month, while I was going through diagnosis. yesterday, I bought the book "Skinny Bitch" - about how to eat healthily - and that also mentioned the link between aspartame and how it was denied by the courts 8 times for being unsafe, yet still somehow managed to finally get approved for "limited" use in sodas and foods.

  • I to am a Slimming world member and have been for nearly 10 years, it keeps me on track. I use it and have done since joining and have not noticed ANY change in my Lupus. Good Luck.xx

  • The Slimming World diet is geared towards weight loss, not reducing inflammation, which is why you will lose weight but see not much improvement in lupus symptoms. Having said that, we are all different and what works for one doesn't work for another, so we all try many but find that only some help.

    I can't believe you've been on that diet for so long, you are one determined and disciplined lady, wow!

  • I lost 4 stone and up to 6 years ago kept it off, then I had a bad fall which ended up me having a new knee, then 18 months ago I had Major spine surgery and can not walk more that about 100 yds without sitting down. and I put 2 1/2. back on, it is now Slowly comming off but it is so much harder when the only excercise I get is my swimming. I do go 5 days a week and do a mile a day and find that helps my joints. It hurts like hell for the firts half and then it eases up. I am so stubborn I will Not give in! I had to learn back stroke as I can no longer do breast stroke with all the Titanium 'scaffolding' I have. My hubby says I am worth a Fortune!!

  • Thanks everyone for all the insight ... its nice to have a sounding board for people who actually have personal experience with Lupus! Before this resource I had no one to talk too! I do agree natural foods are the best thing & my diet is all home cooked now ... find it very labour intensive tho! Peeling, chopping etc but sticking with it & light exercise when I am fit too! Good luck Hazel, you sound like one very determined lady ... hope you all have a good day X

  • I avoid Aspartame (makes me very unwell ..have to take to my bed!) and all other synthetic 'sugars' like the.... - have also cut down on the real thing (organic unrefined sugar). The body reacts the same to any glucose (..honey too).

    As I understand it, foods that cause inflammation are sugars (whether the real thing or synthetic!), rice, grain (includes pasta!) and foods with starch (potatoes), as they turn into glucose in the body. Since mid January, I have cut down considerably on sugar (includes fruits and dried fruits. I may have a tiny bit of cake (..though shouldn't really!) with clotted cream (..that's allowed! :) ) after dinner - but usually enjoy just a piece of dark chocolate.

    I allow myself 1 (..though shouldn't really!) slice of home made bread a day ..none when unwell! I have sweet potatoes instead of ordinary potatoes (..no starch in sweet potatoes). I often use quinoa (is a grass, not a grain)

    I use olive oil, butter, whole milk (you'll find no semi-skimmed or any other 'light' products in my house), cream etc ..the real thing only!

    I have a boiled egg (..sometimes 2) every day and lots of herbs and salads. I only use organic produce and feel so much better for it. Another bonus is having lost 5 lbs and now, when people say I look well, I can truly say that I feel well too.

    It may sound like a miracle but it works for me ..though haven't quite got used to feeling well ..yet. What I do may not work for everyone ..time will tell. However, I believe that lupies are extra sensitive to chemicals and pollutants etc - so organic products would be good, not just for us but for all people. It's unbelievable really that most products are 'unclean' and that we have to search for healthy and 'clean' products (..end of sermon)!! Good luck with whatever you decide to try. xxx :)

  • There was another question about this recently. Here's what I posted on that one;

    "Please bear this in mind from the Lupus Foundation of America's website - lupus.org/webmodules/we...

    22. Is there any truth to the claims being circulated on the Internet that lupus is caused by the artificial sweetener, aspartame?

    We are aware there is an email message circulating on the Internet warning individuals with lupus about dangers associated with using the artificial sweetener aspartame. The Lupus Foundation of America consulted with the chair of the LFA Medical Council, Evelyn Hess, MD, MACP, MACR. Dr. Hess is one of the nation's leading researchers in the field of lupus specializing in environmental influences. According to Dr. Hess, there is, as of now, no specific proof of an association with aspartame as a cause or worsening of SLE.

    People with lupus should always consult with their physician before making any changes in their medical treatment, diet, exercise or other routine based on information received via the Internet or other sources lacking known credentials."

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