Can artificial sweeteners cause headaches? Could simply eliminating them from my diet be the cure I was searching for all these years?
After years of living with headaches, I took charge and found what was really causing the issue. I feel strongly that artificial sweeteners can cause headaches. Although there’s still debate in the medical community, I’m 100% certain eliminating them from my diet changed my life.
Read my story and judge for yourself.
If my experience can help just one person I’ll be happy to share.
(Blue’s Best Life is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. I earn a small commission if you purchase through those links. This helps me keep the blog going! -Bobbie)
Dealing with headaches
I struggled with headaches for years. It was excruciatingly painful and caused sensitivity to light, smells and noise.
No matter how horrible I felt, I kept pushing through it. I went to work, struggled through workouts. I felt miserable most of the time, but I never wanted to let it stop me.
Then they worsened. To the point that if I got one of these killer headaches I knew they would last for 2-3 days. The frequency of this was sometimes weekly.
How to treat headaches
This was affecting my life. I tried changing my diet. Maybe I wasn’t eating enough protein or carbohydrates? Perhaps drinking more water could help?
I also eliminated perfumes and scented lotions, but nothing seemed to work! There had to be a solution!
Then one morning I woke up on day three of a debilitating headache and I actually called into work, which was something I never did!
I finally went to my doctor to seek help. I was disappointed only to be prescribed medication. There was no discussion of what could be causing these headaches!
Connecting ARTIFICIAL sweeteners to Headaches
I called my mom and broke down crying. I couldn’t handle the pain anymore!
I’ll never forget her advice. She simply said, “Bobbie stop drinking those sugar-free drinks!”
Why? What would that have to do with it? Can artificial sweeteners actually cause headaches? She said she had read that non nutritive sweeteners can have adverse effects on certain people.
I had been drinking beverages with artificial sweeteners for years. Drinking diet drinks was the popular choice for me. Whether it was a diet drink, or a sugar-free energy drink, I thought I was doing myself a favor by not drinking the extra calories! In actuality I was doing myself much more harm.
I was ready to try anything. Eliminating artificial sweeteners was so easy, I just had never thought of it. I had never considered it being something I was eating!
What is an Elimination diet?
At the time I really hadn’t heard much about elimination diets. But this was exactly what I had to do. If you aren’t familiar with the term it’s when you cut out certain foods that you believe your body is not tolerating well. Then you slowly start to reintroduce a type of food one at a time to see what was the culprit of your problem.
Once I started taking a closer look I realized how much of these sweeteners I was using from drinks, protein shakes, coffee, and even my pickle relish!
It was easy for me to go on this elimination diet and just cut out all artificial sweeteners.
So, guess what… Mom was right!
I realized a week, a month, and then 6 months went by and no headaches.
I had cut out all artificial sweeteners.
That was it. That was the only change I had made at that time!
Then once I saw the results, I knew I finally had the answer I so desperately needed!
I did a little research to see if I could find more evidence that linked my discovery and backed it by studies. I really couldn’t find a definitive answer. The best answer I found was that certain sweeteners can be a trigger for people, according to an article by Excedrin https://www.excedrin.com/amp/do-artificial-sweeteners-cause-migraines.html.
There still seems to be a lot of unanswered questions around the effects of artificial sweeteners and if they are truly beneficial.
What is in our food?
I think the big picture is how we really don’t know how some of these chemicals in our food and drinks will affect us. We put blind faith in scientists and government officials.
Even though there are several artificial sweeteners that are approved by the FDA there is still too much uncertainty of the long term effects on people.
The lesson I’ve learned through this is to READ LABELS. Look for food and drinks with natural ingredients! If I can’t pronounce, it I’d rather not eat it!
What sweeteners are the best option?
It has been about 8 years since I made this discovery. I am happy to report that I seldom ever have a headache and usually if I do it’s from an overindulgence of red wine!
I’ve done my research and decided which sweeteners were not working for me. For the most part, I use honey and pure maple syrup when baking. Of course, some recipes are better with regular or brown sugar.
In my coffee I have switched to stevia. After reading that stevia is an extract from the stevia plant, I feel that this is a safer choice. I’ve also cut out energy drinks and stick to lots of water.
It amazes me how this one thing had such a huge impact on my life. I only wish I knew to make the change sooner!
I hope that this can help someone else dealing with a similar situation. If you have something that is affecting you, take a close look at your diet. Start a food journal. It can be really eye opening when we take a self analysis.
If anyone you know has a problem similar to mine, please share this information with them. It could be the key to a better quality of life!