This may not help everyone but a few years ago I was suffering from constant stomach issues from bloating to cramps to constipation to diarrhoea and no two days were the same. It was very hard to live with and very upsetting. The doctor told me I had IBS and to try eliminating one food at a time, e.g. Gluten, dairy etc to see what worked. This made no difference.
I then went to the health food store Holland and Barrett (in the UK) as they take a blood sample and test it for you. The nutritionist said it could be a number of things but also asked if I ate atificial sweetener. I did, (on a very regular basis), as I was trying to lose some weight and thought that diet foods would help. He then told me the first piece of advice he would give me would be to give this up, especially aspartame as it is a chemical which is not supposed to be ingested in large quantities and has an extremely negative effect on lots of people. I was eating it all the time -
Sweetener in my cereal and in coffee/tea
Diet coke, sprite etc
Cordial (most of the full sugar ones also have a percentage of sweetener in them now as well). In fact the only cordial I can find in tesco without sweetener is Ribena full sugar.
- low fat yoghurts (SOoooo many of them! Even Activia low fat which is supposed to be good for your gut)
- flavoured water!!!!!
- some fresh orange and apple juice
- some cheap ciders and flavoured beers
- some full sugar soda e.g schweppes tonic, lemonade and supermarket own brands
-sugar free chewing gum and mints
-lite hot chocolate drinks
The list goes on and on and on.
It is also in several medicines that are sweetened, e.g. Lemsip and I have also heard it is in Imodium (how ironic seeing as it is supposed to calm diarrhoea!)
There is also sweetener in some of the probiotic drinks we are constantly being told will settle our stomach for the day ahead, e.g actimel
It takes a while but I started by checking every label and avoiding all artificial sweetener. These have many different names but common (in the Uk) are aspartame, Sucralose, saccharin etc.
Overnight my problems disappeared! My stomach literally returned to being calm and normal for the first time in years and I have been fine ever since.
I also told my mum and sister as they had worse problems than me. My mum was diagnosed in 1985 with IBS and had always just "managed" it. They both were cured as well by cutting out sweetener. My sister had been at the stage of giving up her job as a fitness instructor as her stomach was so bad she couldn't get through a class. The sweetener in the lucozade sport she was drinking at every class was causing it.
This was all in 2007 and since then I have told many people who have not believed me at first but once they have seriously checked all labels and tried it, they have been amazed.
My mum said it made sense for her, at the lowfat diet industry started in the 1980s and that is when she started getting IBS. Also it often seems to be women who have more issues and in my experience more women than men buy these products. The only man I ever helped by telling him was my brother in law who was in agony and on a diet before his wedding. He had been stocking up on low sugar products and this was what caused his pain.
I have also read recently that stomach issues in children have increased massively since 1990 and researchers are trying to find out why. Every child I know is constantly being given low sugar juice, yogurt etc as their parents think they are healthier. Before the 1990's no one drank low sugar juice etc as a child.
I believe that the food industry know the risks of sweetener but make far too much money from it (one tea spoon of sweetener is a tiny fraction of the price of sugar).
This is well worth trying, it has changed my life. If you are worried about weight gain, I found I lost weight by eating more natural products and regular sugar when I feel like it.
I hope this helps someone!