IBS and Artificial Sweeteners

by Dr. R.E. Freedman

Are you experiencing frequent bouts of intestinal distress ranging from diarrhea to intrusive intestinal symptoms? Is bloating, gas, flatulence, pain and sour stomach an every day occurrence? This cycle of intestinal issues may temporarily respond to anti-diarrhea medications or antacids but somehow continues to plague the sufferer. Diet alterations may temporarily provide some relief but one often finds it difficult to pinpoint the cause or the cure.

Finally, by process of elimination, one is able to uncover the true culprit of the gastrointestinal distress and actually do something to bring about permanent relief. The offending substances, lurking in every day foods and substances are called sugar alcohols and they are often liberally used on a daily basis.

This group of artificial sweeteners are not only hidden in products we consume on a daily basis but trigger a host of gastrointestinal symptoms for anyone prone to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and for some who have never experienced gastrointestinal reactions before in their lives.

The names these sugar alcohols go under are as follows:


These sweeteners initially come from plant products but are are altered through a chemical process and are hidden in the ingredients of the following products and substances:

Breath Mints
Cough Formulas
Ice Cream
Fruit Spreads
Baked Goods
Dietetic Products
Sugar-Free Products
Pre-Workout Drinks and Supplements
Sports Nutrition Products
Low Carb Products

Side Effects of Sugar Alcohols

Stomach Cramps
Stomach Pain
Sour Stomach
Blood Sugar Fluctuations

The reason behind this gastrointestinal difficulty is mainly because Sugar Alcohols are not completely absorbed by the body. They are indigestible and passed through the digestive system, resulting in fermentation in the intestines. Fermentation results in gas, cramping, bloating and gastrointestinal distress. Warnings are often found on products containing these sugar alcohols stating “Excess Consumption may Result in a Laxative Effect.” Naturally, this is not a preferable option for anyone dealing with the normal functions of every day living.

Even for those who are not IBS sufferers, over consumption of these products may trigger abdominal discomfort, spanning from cramps to diarrhea. Dehydration may also be a risk factor if the laxative effect is strong. Stomach pains, gas and bloating are intrusive but simply eradicated when one recognizes the offending substance as listed on the label and immediately discontinue usage of such products containing these substances.

Since these sugar alcohols are highly indigestible, the best defense against gastrointestinal disturbances related to the use of these products is the following:

– Immediately discontinuation of any product containing any one of the artificial sweeteners.
– Opt for more natural products.
– Choose whole foods over processed and refined products.
– Check out labels on all products that are sweet or low sugar.
– Choose natural sugar over artificial. Opt for smaller portions.

In closing, it is up to you to be aware of the ingredients found in the products you select. Investigate whenever you experience gastrointestinal distress.

Is it after you brush your teeth or use mouthwash?

Is it shortly after using a specific product?
Is it while chewing gum or using a cough formula or breath mint?

Avoid sugar-free and low carb items. Substitute these products and substances with a more natural choice. Shop the peripheral of the your market for the natural foods and products (produce, meats, fish, dairy). The foods you choose supply your mind and body with energy. Food is the fuel that maintains healthy functioning and results in feeling well. Choose the cleanest and most natural products to achieve the healthiest mind and body possible. It is always a choice. Choose good health and maintain a healthy mind and body, free of intrusive symptoms.

There is a great deal of hype connected with pre-workout supplements and their ability to boost the effects of an exercise routine. They claim to enhance energy, physical capabilities and build greater muscle mass, changing a normal workout session into a “super” workout. The problem with these promises is the fact that these stimulants actually create more physical and emotional difficulties than the benefits they promise.

The majority of these stimulants contain massive doses of caffeine along with a laundry list of sub-standard ingredients. This may seem innocuous to those hoping for miraculous results but in reality these pre-workout supplements are more than often quite dangerous, especially to those who are stimulant sensitive. The problem is that most are unaware of their own reactivity to these substances until they find themselves in the midst of intense adverse reactions.

Common Adverse Reactions to Pre-Workout Supplements:

– Severe Anxiety
– Intensive Depersonalization
– Hallucinations
– Convulsions
– Heart Rhythm Abnormalities
– Heart Attack
– Tremors
– Addiction, Dependency
– Palpitations
– Irritability, Mood Swings
– Inability to Focus
– Adrenal Fatigue
– Racing Thoughts
– Hair loss
– Memory Impairment
– Sexual Dysfunction

Adrenal Glands

After prolonged use, a great toll is taken on the adrenal glands as they are forced to produce large quantities of energy producing adrenaline. This eventually culminates in adrenal fatigue when the adrenals fail to manufacture enough adrenaline for the individual to function properly. The result being, extreme fatigue, nervousness and heightened anxiety levels. The overload on the adrenal glands must be immediately addressed and treated with a specific, natural approach in order to rebuild and restore complete function of these glands.

One often becomes tolerant to these stimulants requiring higher dosages to receive the same so-called benefits. After prolonged use the individual finds himself using far too much, too often, becoming dependent on these “supplements” for normal energy on a daily basis.

Withdrawal Symptoms

There is also the problem of withdrawal symptoms when halting the use of these stimulants.

Upon Discontinuation of Pre-Work-out Supplements one may initially experience:

– Fatigue
– Headaches
– Craving for the Stimulants
– Mood Swings of great intensity
– Severe Depression
– Intense Hunger
– Mental Confusion
– Initial Increase in Anxiety, Depersonalization and Racing Thoughts
– Extreme Insomnia
– Adrenal Burnout

One must not resort to taking more stimulants in order to counter these reactions. This action will only prolong recovery and add to already damaged adrenals. Instead, one must learn to naturally counter these reactions by beginning a program based upon treating impaired adrenals.

Adrenal Fatigue

This Adrenal Fatigue Treatment approach includes:

– Sufficient rest, re-establishing sleep patterns, insomnia treatment
– Proper diet/nutrition correction
– Moderation in exercise
– Slow withdrawal from any existing stimulants
– Natural Treatment of Anxiety, Depersonalization and Depression

One must not be tricked into believing more stimulants will alleviate symptoms, as the required correction is the exact opposite. The adrenals require time and patience to repair, rather than an increase in stimulants which only hamper recovery.
Most of all, one must be aware of the hype connected to these supplements, which in reality are merely massive stimulants that have become highly commercialized. The internet is saturated with bogus, glowing reports about these products, preying on and victimizing young people to purchase under false pretenses. Consumer beware by knowing and understanding fully what these chemicals will do to your system and the long road one must take in order to rebuild a truly healthy mind and body.

Dr. Ronnie Freedman
Anxiety and Depersonalization Treatment
Anxiety Busters, Inc.
Office Phone: 215-635-4700
Office Hours: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM (EST) Mon-Sun

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