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Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause Migraines?

A Reader Asks: Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause Migraines?

The Sugar Community assistant has a question that she hopes you can shed some light on. She posted the following question in the Healthy Recipe community group.

I know artificial sweeteners aren't the best, but from time to time, I enjoy a little in my coffee. This morning, as I mixed it in my cup of joe, a stranger commented on my choice. He explained to me that it has been known to cause migraines. I told him that I have yet to receive any. He said that I probably will get one huge migraine to make up for the ones I haven't been receiving. Is this stranger bluffing, or do I have a gigantic migraine to look out for? Help!

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mtomberlin mtomberlin 6 years
It's not really just the headaches you need to worry about, it is the long term effects. Splenda - or sucralose - was discovered while researching new insecticides using sulfuryl chloride. It has a lot of chlorine atoms. Chlorine is a toxic substance to humans - think WWI and chlorine gas to kill soldiers or think of DDT a deadly toxin... Equal - or aspartame - is the sweetener with the most common complaint of headaches. It too was discovered by accident while researching a treatment for peptic ulcer disease. It has been one of the most controversial drugs/food supplements ever produced. It has ties to brain tumors and neurotoxic side effects. In one study done with aspartame, 1 monkey died and 5 others had grand mal seizures. This was out of 7 monkeys in the trial. Saccharin - or Sweet'N Low - has been around the longest. It was actually banned in the early 1900's (due to public health risks) but was allowed to go back into production during WWI because of the lack of sugar and sugar rationing. Saccharin was also discovered accidentally when scientists where working with a gasoline by product called toluene. Toluene is used in paints, fingernail polish, adhesives and other similar products. It is classified as a hazordous chemical. So the headaches some people get are just a symptom of an overall chronic condition. We don't all react the same to the world around us so you might not get the headaches. But no one knows for sure what the long term problems might be from using these toxic chemicals. We (humans) are undergoing a large science project. The illness, disease and deaths that show up will be the data science needs to decide if these are safe products. It is up to you to decide if you want to be a part of the experiment. Just remember, it's not nice to mess with Mother Nature! I have actually written some pages about sugar and artificial sweeteners for my website. Let me know if you would like to know more...
tealover3 tealover3 6 years
unfortunately most of the artificial sweeteners cause headaches. It happened to me several times. I tried a lot of them and i can safely say that Natvia is the best of all. It doesn't cause any headaches and it tastes just like sugar. They say that it is all natural and almost zero calorie on their website. check it out
kalicalifornia kalicalifornia 6 years
I always get a headache and severe abdominal pains whenever I consume artificial sweeteners. Once I switched to truvia and maple syrup to sweeten things, the pains stopped. I avoid man made sugars at all cost now.
Spectra Spectra 6 years
I think some people are sensitive to the byproducts of aspartame breakdown, so they can definitely get migraines if they eat too much of it. I personally have never had a problem with it, but every body is different.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 6 years
Artificial sweetener cannot GIVE you migraines. Let's go through this once again - A migraine IS NOT a headache. And vice-versa a intense headache is not a migraine. Migraine is a complex set of symptoms that can include head pain, nausea, vertigo, vomiting, gait issues, difficulties with speech, auditory issues, cognitive issues, visual disturbances and so much more. Having a migraine attack doesn't automatically mean you have a headache or head pain at all. In fact right this minute this chronic migrainuer has an intense migraine attack and I don't have any head pain (my balance is shot right now, I'm nauseated, and I have vertigo). I have been thoroughly diagnosed by multiple expert neurologist as unfortunately having this disease, apparently like most migrainuers since childhood. Mine is chronic and intractable (which means that darn near 24 hours a day / 365 days a year I have some severe symptom of the disease messing with my body) and rarely responds to preventative measures be they changes in lifestyle or pharmaceutical. Migraine is a neurological disease like Parkinson's or Epilepsy are a neurological disease. You cannot get Parkinson's disease or have a spontaneous elliptic seizure from ingesting artificial sweeteners so why would anyone believe that you could get migraine disease from doing it. That said IF you have migraine disease and are particularly sensitive to certain substances then the ingredient in some sweeteners or foods may lead to you having a migraine attack then again they may not.
andrennabird andrennabird 6 years
I used to use Splenda in everything, but eventually stopped using it. Now if I use Splenda, I get a terrible headache. I guess I'm more sensitive to it now. I also get a weird headachey feeling when I use Stevia. I tried to alleviate sugar from my diet, but when I must have some, I use the real stuff. I think your body thinks Stevia/Splenda are sugar anyway, so it releases insulin. It doesn't seem healthy to me, in additional to the headaches.
aburlock aburlock 6 years
Artificial sweetners give me headaches, but I agree that if you were going to get them, you would know already.
susanec susanec 6 years
I have a history of migraine (thankfully they've subsided after a few dreadful years) and that was not one of my triggers. It's possible that it is for some people but it's certainly not universal and if it hasn't happened to you before then I wouldn't stress about it.
linzer linzer 6 years
That was kind of a nasty thing to say to you! I have used splenda and equal for years (as has my parents - due to the fact that they are diabetic and can't have regular sugar) - and none of us have had migraines due to artificial sweeteners. While it might be true to some people - I think he was making a bit of a leap and acting rather troll like. I wouldn't worry about it too much.
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