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Can Chronic Pain Come From Food Additives?

It is always amazing to me when I find a food substance that when taken in excess can cause pain the body. And sometimes these foods, and food additives that are regulated by the government, are supposed to be safe. When I test clients and their supplements, or ask about their dietary habits, or chemicals in their work environments, we often discover chemicals or foods that are causing their chronic pain symptoms. When these chemicals are removed, much of their pain subsides.

When I talk to clients, I often ask if they can decipher what foods tend make the pain worse or better, and if they crave certain foods in their diet. One of the foods I am always listening for are diet soft drinks with aspartame (Nutrasweet). From personal experience, I have been relieved of constant headaches when I was convinced to stop drinking Diet Pepsi. I was a regular user and once I stopped drinking it, the nagging headaches that I had for a long time totally cleared up. So if you are drinking diet soft drinks, STOP NOW, and see what difference it makes. I have had quite a number of clients feel much better just a couple weeks after abstaining from soft drinks.

Recently, we have been introduced to the new fake sugar called Splenda. Advertising for Splenda says that is made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar. But this doesn't tell the whole story. Splenda is made by taking out 3 of the 6 molecules that make up sugar, and adding chlorine molecules. If you are avoiding chlorinated water because of chlorine toxicity, then you should be avoiding Splenda. You are getting chlorocarbons from Splenda that can cause immune system problems, such as thymus gland shrinkage, and other genetic and reproductive damage.

The FDA approved Splenda in 1988 as a sucralose sweetener that tastes just like sugar. But the sugar flavor is artificial, since Splenda is about 600 times sweeter than natural sugar, so the sugar flavor is forced out of the partial sugar molecule. And our body cannot use the sugar in Splenda as fuel for our brains. It does not turn into the glucose we need for brain function and energy production. Early studies show many of the same side effects, such as headaches and chronic pain, as found with aspartame.

Soft drinks have surpassed water as the number one choice of beverage in the United States. Aspartame is not the only problem. When you have fibromyalgia or any other autoimmune disease, you need good minerals in your diet to distress the immune system, and the phosphoric acid in the dark soft drinks will rob your body of calcium. The sugar version is not better for you either, since sugar stresses your adrenals, especially when it comes in concentrated doses, like it does in any sugar-laden soft drink.

Also all soft drinks are very acidic, with an average reading of 2 to 3 pH. Acid urine and saliva pH readings are related to immune system stress, and joint and muscle stress. So if you want to have your urine and saliva pH levels stay in balance (in the 6.4 pH range or higher) avoiding soft drinks is very important. Coffee is another acid drink, along with beer. Green tea is the only relatively popular alkalizing drink. Or you can add lemon or lime to your water (without sugar) for flavoring.

Other substances also can cause chronic pain. Fillers, preservatives, food additives and coloring agents in supplements can build up as toxins in the tissues. This often makes it harder to lose weight, and can create pain when these toxins are stored in your tissues disrupting your nervous system pain response. This is why it is important to use high quality nutritional supplements without a lot of fillers. Too many over the counter vitamins and minerals seem to have more fillers than nutrients on the label, and these are the ones to avoid.

When choosing foods for your daily diet, or supplements that support your daily diet, look for foods and supplements that do not have fake sugars, preservatives like propylene glycol, and any food colorings. By finding out what chemicals, processed foods, or supplements are causing your pain; you will also be able to see a remarkable difference in just a short period of time.

Jane Oelke, N.D., Ph.D. is a Traditional Naturopath and Doctor of Homeopathy in southwest Michigan. She is the author of "Natural Choices for Fibromyalgia" and "Natural Choices for Attention Deficit Disorder." She is a professional speaker on natural health topics. She can be contacted at or through her website at



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