3. Aspartame (and other sweeteners)
If you’re trying to cut calories and lose weight, artificial sweeteners like aspartame may seem like a healthy alternative to sugar, but in reality, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Aspartame, sold under the brand names Equal and Nutrasweet, was denied approval by the FDA for twenty years before finally being approved in what some call political strong-arming.
Aspartame has a number of negative side effects, which include migraines, changes in vision, insomnia, an increased heart rate, memory loss, depression and joint and abdominal pain. It has also been associated with seizures and brain cancer.
While a gram of refined sugar has four calories, a gram of aspartame has zero. This makes it seemingly ideal for making candy, baked goods and soda that calorie-conscious consumers will buy, but if those dieters have IBS, the detriments will far outweigh the benefits.
Aspartame increases pH levels in the intestines and reduces the beneficial bacteria in the gut by 50 percent, causing gastrointestinal distress even in those who don’t suffer from IBS.
If your IBS seems to worsen after consuming food containing aspartame, you will be better off either staying away from sweets altogether or setting a calorie allowance that enables you to indulge in real sugar every once in awhile.