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Artificial Sweeteners – So Rough!

I am not going to lie, I love diet soda. The taste, the carbonation, it’s all good. The only problem is that the artificial sweeteners totally destroy my stomach. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t drink a lot of diet soda. I would say that I might drink one can of Pepsi a week, just for the taste. But I find myself running to the bathroom very soon after finishing my drink. I started to do some testing on my theory.

I stopped drinking diet soda for a month; to see if I would have any quick flare ups. I did not! So I started to try regular soda. The high fructose corn syrup was just as bad! I had to give up soda completely. It was either that, or I suffer in the bathroom every time I drink it.

So what do I do?

I decided to give seltzer water try. I did lots of research and noticed that many colas, and other carbonated drinks had the artificial sweetener called aspartame. That is what was making me use the bathroom so much. After a few weeks of trying seltzers that had no artificial sweeteners, I settled for Schweppes. I will have to be honest with you, it takes time to develop a taste for it. The flavor doesn’t jump out at you – it has a tint of it. It comes in a variety of flavors including black cherry, mandarin orange, and lemon-lime. I like the black cherry the best.

So this leads me to my big mistake this week.

I was with my dad shopping at Wal-Mart this month and I decided to pick up a case of Schweppes, but they were all out. I decided to be adventurous, and try a new brand. I picked a brand that had the flavor “cherry-limeade.” I had a can on Monday, and on Tuesday. I noticed that I was getting horrible cramping, gas, and bloating. I found myself laying on the couch, completely doubled over in a pain. I was using the bathroom more and more. What was going on?

I started to do my own assessment. I went through my head all the things I had eaten up to that point. Turkey sandwich on rye for lunch, chicken for dinner, a fried egg for breakfast. Nothing out of the ordinary; and I have been eating those foods with no problems for a very long time. Then I said to myself, “Let me check the ingredients in the cherry limeade.” That was the only thing that was new that I introduced to my diet. Don’t you know the second ingredient was aspartame? That’s why I felt so sick.

The next day I took the entire case of the sparkling water (with artificial sweetener) to school for my staff to have and enjoy. By Thursday, the aspartame was out of my system completely, and I started to feel better.

Word to the Wise:

Check the ingredients before you buy something. IBD patients, be careful with artificial sweeteners. I know that is one of my triggers. Does anybody else have the same issues? Schweppes does not have artificial sweeteners in it, so if you are looking for that “soda taste,” that’s the brand that I think it the least harsh on the stomach. Good luck!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    10 months ago

    Ugh. I too can’t have any sodas as they throw me into a terrible flare. My drink of choice was an ice cold Coca-Cola but from a glass bottle. Those glass bottles make a difference! I miss the taste of it, but as you mention all the sugar is just debilitating for most of us with IBD. I now have iced tea whenever I want a beverage that isn’t water. I used to really miss soda, but now it’s no big deal.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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