How your diet is influencing your pain levels…

Diet and Pain JPGDo you suffer from back pain, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, or one of the many forms of arthritis? If so, you are used to dealing with pain daily, and have likely been searching for years for some relief. You may have also noticed that your pain levels fluctuate independent from activity and weather…so what could be causing it? It could be your diet…

Many people don’t realize just how much your diet influences your pain and inflammation levels daily…but it does influence it, a lot! If you suffer from fibromyalgia, someone at some point has probably told you to eliminate “nightshades” from your diet. Most people aren’t familiar with nightshades, but they don’t just effect fibromyalgia…they effect everyone, but people that suffer from chronic pain tend to be more sensitive…especially including arthritis sufferers.

So, what are these nightshade vegetables? Nightshades are a classification of vegetables (honestly, technically they’re fruits and vegetables…but for simplicity purposes we’ll stick with calling them vegetables πŸ˜‰ ). They get their name from the type of plant they come from…the nightshade is a classification of plant that tends to be poisonous (like Belladonna), but the fruits of these plants are not poisonous. Foods that fall within this category include: eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, white potatoes, paprika, and tobacco (also Goji berries, but those aren’t commonly found in our diet because they are a berry from the Himalayan mountains). All of these vegetables interfere with enzymes in the muscles, and this can lead to muscle pain, trembling, in some it can even effect breathing! These vegetables are also high in alkaloids, and some research suggests these can cause inflammation and even some joint damage! Yikes. Although the jury is still out on joint damage, you can reduce the amount of alkaloids present by cooking your vegetables (preferred methods are steaming or sauteing, so you can retain most of the other nutrients…boiling just releases the nutrients into the water. So, unless you’re going to drink your veggie water, don’t do that πŸ˜‰ )

With my job, I talk to a lot of patients that suffer from fibromyalgia, and many of them will tell you that when they encounter someone that is smoking or has just smoked…when they smell the cigarette smoke they almost immediately feel the onset of headache or migraine, sometimes flu like symptoms, many report fatigue, achiness, and so on…This is because the reaction with this enzyme is happening at a much faster rate because the reaction occurs by inhaling the substance, whereas when you consume it in food form, the body has to break it down before those components begin to interact. Because the reaction isn’t immediate, many don’t relate the occurring effects to food. Start keeping a food diary…track everything. You may notice that you are more sensitive to some nightshades over others. You may also notice that other foods are causing you to feel like junk too…that may be an underlying food intolerance.

One way to reduce inflammation and help keep your joints lubricated it to start taking and Omega-3 Fish Oil (click here for the blog on how to find a good fish oil…it is important to make sure you’re taking a good one). IfΒ  you have chronic muscle pain or bone pain, have your doctor check your vitamin D levels (click here to read more about the importance of vitamin D).

Something else to consider when trying to reduce inflammation in the body to help with pain, is gluten free JPGgluten. I hate to go there, because I’m not on the “everyone needs to be gluten free” bandwagon…but gluten IS inflammatory. Many people are overwhelmed by the prospect of going gluten free, but it’s not that bad…I swear. I tell anyone that is considering going gluten free to just give it 2-3 days. If it is causing issues 48-72 hours is enough time for it to dissipate from the system and see some alleviation of symptoms to be able to determine if it is adversely affecting the system. Most people are capable of substituting their breads and crackers with oatmeal, rice, quinoa, or sweet potatoes for a few days (for more information on going gluten free, click on the image to the right to enlarge it). If you feel better…try going at least 2 weeks, after that point add some gluten in at lunch and see what happens. If you notice you start having issues that you haven’t dealt with in two weeks, you could have a sensitivity or intolerance. I would definitely keep a food journal during this time tracking all of your symptoms. That way when you start incorporating it again you can track all of the side effects and take the journal to your doctor and discuss it. If your doctor feels that you have an intolerance or sensitivity…they can write a prescription for your records indicating this…and from that point forward, just keep track of your receipts for all of your gluten free foods. You will be able to claim it on your taxes, as it becomes a medical expense once you have the write up from the doctor.

A few other factors that can help with alleviating joint pain is staying properly hydrated. Ensuring that you maintain an optimal body weight…excess weight puts stress and strain on your joints, increasing pain. I have a few blogs pertaining to weight management ( check them out here, here, here, and here) if you would like to attempt it on your own. If you would like assistance with menu planning, feel free to contact me or schedule an appointment in the office.

Lastly, one of the most important factors for alleviation of pain is sleep… I know it can be difficult if you struggle with chronic pain, but there are some things that you can do to make sure you’re getting a more solid sleep, like taking a melatonin supplement. But getting a good nights sleep helps to lower inflammation levels, and when you’re body is less inflamed you are less sensitive to pain.

If you have any other questions about foods and how they effect your pain, feel free to send me an email or leave a message below πŸ™‚

If you would like to read more on nightshades click on the following links:

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/vgen/nightshade-vegetable.htm

http://www.livestrong.com/article/367949-list-of-nightshade-vegetables-fruits/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=206

Emotional Eating and binge eating…

Emotional Eating JPGIt’s the elephant in the room…we all know it’s there, we all struggle with it, but none of us want to admit that it’s an issue…emotional eating. Here you are…you’ve vowed to turn over a new leaf, you’ve been eating well, taking care of yourself, and then something happens. Financial troubles, family trouble, a fight with your significant other, and you are stressed out…all you want is that one comfort food…a donut, a chocolate bar, a cheeseburger, ice cream, etc. You resist…trying to talk yourself out of it, but you cave. That’s it, you’ve ruined your “diet”…might as well go all out, right? No, lets try again. How should you handle those moments of stress when all you want is some type of comfort food? Allow yourself to have something, and don’t get down on yourself. If you’ve been eating right, then your metabolism should be able to handle something like that.

So, first…let’s start off with why do we engage in emotional eating? Well, the answer is pretty simple…instant gratification. You see, our systems are equally complicated and simplistic at the same time, and on the simplistic side fatty foods=happiness. Thousands of years ago when we were still hunters and gatherers, our diet consisted of mostly roots, tubers, fruits, and vegetables (hmm…vegetarian paleo diet anyone? πŸ˜‰ )…our diet consisted mostly of these things, because meat was much harder to come by, and we didn’t have any means of storage, so it was a rare meal. When we consume fats, endorphins are sent to the brain giving us that feel-good feeling. So, it makes sense that our go-to foods would be fattier because they, by proxy, are addictive (because endorphins are an addictive chemical) and because it satisfies one of our most basic urges…to build fat stores, for survival.

Obviously, most of us are not starving, and therefore REALLY don’t need to worry about storing more fat…but, it’s ingrained in our body’s most basic survival instincts to ensure we have plenty of fat stores. So, there you have it…it’s a natural instinct to want those foods.

So when we get stressed…on of our first reactions (especially in women!) is to confide in some good comfort food…SO…how should we deal with those cravings in today’s modern day society, where a void of fatty foods is non-existent. When you’re “dieting” (which you really shouldn’t be “dieting” see posts here and here …but, for lack of a better word we will use the D word πŸ˜‰ ), it’s bound to happen…you’re going to crave those “forbidden” (or at least seemingly forbidden) foods. If I’m seeing someone for weight loss that has been pretty strict on themselves, sticking to their meal plan, I have been known to encourage them to go have that Cheeseburger and Ice Cream if they’re craving it…why? Because if they deny themselves long enough, it will spiral out of control…that one cheeseburger and ice cream will turn into a week long binge…and then we’re really in trouble. Because when you go on a binge like that, it’s quite easy to set yourself back a few weeks. It’s a lot easier to put on 3-5 pounds than it is to take it off…you can easily put that on in a week, but it will likely take you at least 2 weeks to take that off again. However, most of the time when someone does end up on that path of remorse and regret after a binge, they’re going to wallow for a while…they’re going to throw up their hands and say “Forget it, I’ve screwed up. Might as well quit! No way am I going to weigh in now!”….and what does that solve? Nothing! Absolutely nothing. The best thing you can do is satisfy the craving…but only satisfy those that are TRUE cravings, and move on without dogging yourself… A good way to test that out is, let’s say you really want a hamburger…is it from somewhere specific? If it is a really specific craving, you know you have a real craving…if you can’t think of a healthy alternative, or anything else that will satisfy it…THOSE are the ones that you can satisfy and not ignore. Those are the ones that you shouldn’t try to skate around. THOSE are the ones that, if ignored, can lead to a major break down.

Sometimes when we have a craving and we try to substitute it for something else, all we do is increase the intensity of the craving. If you just want some ice cream, but don’t really care about flavor/brand/source…then you should probably find a healthy frozen yogurt to substitute. If you want Breyers Chocolate Cookie Dough Ice Cream…then have a scoop. You’ll be less likely to binge on it if you just satisfy the craving πŸ™‚ .

If you have the same craving at certain points in the day…perhaps you’re body is trying to tell you something is missing from your diet πŸ˜‰ . Did you know that if you regularly crave chocolate, that is a sign of magnesium deficiency? Here is a nice little chart to help you out:

Food-cravings-chart

So weigh your options…try one of the alternative foods in the chart above if you think you could have a deficiency in your diet….which honestly, most of us do for a number of reasons. Even those of us that pay extra close attention to our diets have deficiencies…our soil isn’t as packed with nutrients as it used to be. Or, if you are craving something specific and you’ve been eating really well, then go ahead and satisfy that craving…If you have any questions, or would like to start on a menu plan, feel free to send me a message and we can get you set up πŸ˜‰

Fish Oil…many benefits, but not all are equal. What you need to know…

Omega 3sFish oil is one of the most popular supplements today. You regularly see advertisements on T.V. touting all kinds of benefits ranging from lowering cholesterol, to heart health, and brain health. But what many people don’t realize is there are a lot of different brands out there of Omega 3’s and Fish Oils, but not all of them are good for you…in fact, some of them are kind of scary and others are pretty useless. The reason that some of these fish oils are useless, is because the FDA doesn’t have real strict labeling standards for supplements. There are lots of loopholes, and about 60% of the fish oils on the market contain markedly less Omega 3s, EPA, and DHA than they claim on the label (one example of how they can get by with selling fish oil for such an inexpensive price).

Most of the inexpensive Fish Oil supplements have not gone through an extensive refining process, so the oils are not very bioavailable (easily absorbed by the body). And many of them even have a cloudy appearance…generally a good sign you have a lower quality fish oil. They also tend to be diluted down by other oils trying to stabilize their inexpensive fish oil blends, so you tend to have to take at least 2-3 pills, whereas if you had a higher quality fish oil it would only take 1 pill to equal 2-3 of the others.

One of the more alarming things you will find about fish oil is that some fish oils will actually eat through Styrofoam…yes, you read that correctly. So, what exactly does this mean? This means that the fish oil is an ethyl ester (EE) fish oil. The EE fish oils are less stable, less bioavailable, and tend to have a fishy smell or taste….which is not good (sensory wise or health wise). The reason they break down styrofoam is because the EE binds to the polymers in the styrofoam and breaks it down; so even if you had a spoon full of this fish oil and dropped a small piece of styrofoam into it, it would completely dissolve the styrofoam (sounds like a good solutions for all that styrofoam they say won’t break down in the landfills, right? πŸ˜‰ ).

The natural triglyceride form of fish oil is much more bioavailable and will not break down styrofoam. Most of the high quality fish oils are in the triglyceride form. These high omega 3 fish oils have great anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the ability to help with cognitive functions by assisting the neurotransmitters in the brain, they lead to higher fat breakdown (weight loss), improving the delivery of oxygen to the tissues (especially the heart), help reduce exercise induced asthma, moisturize skin from the inside out, and can help with eye health (including dry eyes).

When looking for a fish oil, don’t compromise because of price…but that doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune. My favorite fish oil/omega 3 oil is made by Barlean’s. Barlean’s has very strict quality control and purity standards in place. They make some liquid fish oils that taste like candy! Seriously! I hate taking liquid medicines and supplements, but you don’t have to twist my arm to take this stuff! Do a little research and read some reviews….you’ll find that that most people love this stuff! My favorite flavor is Orange Cream. They do make vegan flavors as well…those include a Strawberry Banana and a Mixed Berry. Two other brands that I like are from New Chapter and Minami Nutrition. Minami Nutrition is a company that is run by Garden of Life (for those of you that are familiar with that brand). But if you were to ask me which one I would recommend above all is the Barleans Orange Cream πŸ™‚ ; liquid vitamins are always the best because they are more bioavailable. Most of these brands will only be found in health food stores, or in a few online stores including Swanson’s Vitamins, iherb.com, and Amazon. However, recently I was in Sams Club and found Barlean’s fish oil in their supplement section…they just had the Lemon Zest flavor (which isn’t quite as strong as the Orange Cream); even though that’s not my favorite flavor, I was super excited to see it in Sams!

If heart disease runs in your family, or if you are trying to get healthy, lose weight, or find some relief from your dry skin and/or eyes…give some good quality fish oil a try. Skip the stuff from Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens unless you’ve done extensive research and know that you are getting a good quality fish oil. When I switched to Barlean’s I could tell a HUGE difference in my skin in less than two days!

**I am not endorsed by any of these companies. These company recommendations are based on my personal experience with fish oils. Always consult your physician before starting and new supplement! Fish oil, if taken in high enough concentrations can thin your blood, so check with your doctor if you are on blood thinning medication or have a clotting disorder.**

Vitamin D is the new “it” supplement…why is it so vital to your health?

Vitamin DVitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, has gotten a lot of attention lately and most people brush it off as the newest “trendy” supplement Vitamin D is a nutrient that our bodies produce in response to the sun. If you don’t get much sun exposure, don’t consume dairy or rely on a vegan diet, then you are likely vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D can be found naturally in some food sources like egg yolk, some fish, fish liver oils, shrimp, and some fortified grains and dairy products. However, depending on your system or various lifestyle factors, you may still have a deficiency, and it’s not something you are going to want to ignore. The reason Vitamin D has gotten so much attention is because there is some new research out that shows just how crucial this nutrient is to our health.

There are so many people that have vitamin D deficiency, and don’t supplement anything for it…and many of them are aware of the deficiency! Some newer research suggests that in women, prolonged Vitamin D deficiency can lead to breast cancer! Scary right?! How frustrating and upsetting would it be to know that you were just diagnosed with breast cancer and taking one little supplement daily could have prevented it or greatly reduced your chances of developing it?? If you have ever been told that you are deficient, and you’re not taking it…go get yourself some! Depending on the severity of your deficiency, your Doctor can prescribe a prescription strength Vitamin D, and your insurance will kick in and help cover it πŸ˜‰

The symptoms for vitamin D deficiency are usually very subtle…enough to where the average person may not be alerted that there is even a problem. However, vitamin D deficiency can cause: bone pain, muscle weakness and tenderness, severe asthma in children, cancer, cognitive impairment, increased risk of death for those suffering from cardio vascular disease, and depression (and the reason most people suffer from “seasonal depression”). Some research also suggests that Vitamin D deficiency can cause or imitate fibromyalgia. Vitamin D can also be integral in treating and preventing many different issues, including type 1 or type 2 deficiency, hypertension, MS, and blood sugar metabolism.

For most people the cause of Vitamin D deficiency is lack of sun exposure or some type of gap in diet…however, if you have more melanin in your skin (more melanin=darker skin) then your body has a more difficult time producing vitamin D in response to sunlight. Other factors that can effect your ability to absorb vitamin D are: kidney function…in some people their kidneys lack the ability to convert vitamin D into it’s active form (this is a common problem in older age); digestive impairment…in some people that have issues with their bowels, it can effect the bodies ability to metabolize vitamin D (common conditions that this includes are Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease). One of the final causes of deficiency is caused by being overweight…vitamin D is extracted from the blood by fat cells. So people with a BMI of 30 or greater are at much higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.

If you KNOW you have a deficiency, simply getting a little extra sun (10 minutes of exposure for those that are fair skinned) or increasing your consumption of vitamin D rich foods, may not be enough. Besides, if you use sunscreen, it impairs your bodies ability to produce it…and we all know that there are risks to sun exposure as well. So, for many people their best option for raising their vitamin D levels is to supplement it. There are different forms out on the market, and they do make a difference in quality and absorbancy. Vitamin D-3 is the best form to take supplement with, because this is the form that our bodies produce in response to sun exposure…vitamin D-2, tends to not function as well in the body.Β  Some oral supplements may just simply be labeled “Vitamin D”…however if you turn the bottle over and look at the actual nutrition label for the supplement it should give you the source of the supplement. If the source is labeled as Cholecalciferol this is Vitamin D-3, however if it is labeled as Ergocalciferol this is vitamin D-2.

Many of the patients we see in our office have a Vitamin D deficiency. So we carry our own vitamin D supplement πŸ˜‰ If you know that your vitamin D is low, don’t ignore it. Take a supplement to raise it, and you should feel better.

BPA…what is it? And why people are avoiding it?

BPA Free PlasticBPA is an acronym for Bisphenol A. BPA is a chemical component of polycarbonate plastics. BPA derived plastics became popular because of their durability, resistance to heat, and clear appearance. They are used commonly in water bottles, CDs, glasses, computers, appliances, tool, medical equipment, and sports equipment…and it is commonly used to line cans.

So why are so many people concerned about this plastic? Well, research has existed for years that warns about BPA that leeches out of the plastic and into our food and drinks…and can even be absorbed into the system just by touch! When leeched into the skin, it acts as estrogen into the system and disrupts many processes in the body. Exposure to this chemical has been known to cause: fertility issues, hormone alterations in fetusesΒ  (can effect development of sex organs in fetuses), babies, and children; brain and behavior problems including ADHD and Autism; Cancer- increasing risk for certain types later in life, as well as diminishing the effectiveness of chemotherapy; heart problems, including heart disease; obesity, diabetes, and thyroid function disruption.

There is also some newer research that suggests that the new BPA free plastics can actually be just as harmful, if not more harmful than plastics that still contain BPA! You see, they have to replace the BPA with something…So, how do you go about avoiding these chemicals?! Use as many glass and stainless steel containers and utensils as you can. Avoid canned foods, including fruits, vegetables, and tomato products. Use frozen or fresh vegetables. Fresh fruits or fruits that are canned in glass jars. Also, only buy tomato products that are contained in glass jars. Canned tomato products are often worse than others about BPA exposure because they have to have such a thick coating on the inside of the can to ensure that the acid from the tomatoes do not eat the aluminum can. The hardest thing to find in a glass container that is tomato based is tomato paste, but they do exist…

So, try to use as much stainless steel and glass as you can…avoiding plastics as much as you can, and that should limit your exposure BPA. Besides, glass and stainless steel hold up better overtime, than plastic πŸ˜‰

What you should know about Magnesium, and why you should consider starting a supplement…

Magnesium JPG

Do you have trouble with chronic headaches? Muscle spasms & cramps? Heart palpitations?

When I was in my late teens and early 20s I suffered from AWFUL muscle cramps and “Charlie Horses” in my calf muscles pretty regularly…At that point I was not studying nutrition yet, and had always heard that Charlie Horses were caused by a potassium deficiency. So, at the time I was eating A LOT of bananas, yet was still suffering from muscle cramps. Around this time I was also dealing with some of the worst migraines I have every experienced, these migraines were accompanied by nausea and dizziness….little did I know then, that these were all connected.

If you do a little research on Magnesium deficiency, you would be SHOCKED at how many issues a magnesium deficiency can cause. Magnesium deficiency can cause: anxiety, panic attacks, bowel diseases, constipation, detoxification, heart disease, insomnia, migraines, PMS, infertility, preeclampsia, tooth decay, asthma, cystitis, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, muscle cramping, pain, osteoporosis, blood clots, depression, fatigue, hypoglycemia, liver disease, nerve problems, numbness, tingling, abnormal heart rhythms, seizures, etc. That’s a lot of symptoms! Now, not everyone will experience all of those, but many will experience a combination. I saw a statistic the other day that said that over 75% of the population is magnesium deficient! That’s a lot of people. You’re probably wondering why there isn’t more discussion about magnesium deficiency…well, that’s because it’s actually hard to diagnose.

When you have blood drawn for a Complete Blood Count (CBC), what shows up on the test is the amount of magnesium freely floating in your blood stream. The amount floating in your blood stream is only about 1% of the total magnesium actually stored in the body. Magnesium is mostly stored in the bones, muscles, and organs because it is used for so many different things in the body (obviously, from the wide range of symptoms listed above! LOL). One article I’ve read dubbed Magnesium “the invisible deficiency” because it is hard to actually diagnose it, via a blood test.

There are some decent food sources of magnesium, such as: seaweeds, spinach, chard, beans, nuts, seeds, and avocados…the problem with trying to get your magnesium through food sources, it our soil is now depleted too. Because of the amount of food we farm, we have depleted our soil of a lot of the naturally occurring nutrients in our soil. So, the best way to raise your magnesium levels? Supplement it. And not all magnesium supplements are the same.

If you go to the store and start flipping over bottles and looking at the nutrition label on the bottles of magnesium, you will find that there’s magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, magnesium chelate, or a blend of different forms of magnesium. So how do you know which one is the best? Well, the answer is magnesium citrate.

Magnesium citrate is one of the best absorbing forms of magnesium because of how quickly is can assimilate into the body. I’ve tried many different brands, and the one that I prefer is by a company called Natural Vitality (no, I am not sponsored by them. I just really like their magnesium!). Theirs comes in a powder form. It can be mixed with water or juice, and they do offer multiple flavors…(if you have trouble finding it, you can always contact us and we can ship it to you! It’s so popular, that sometimes it can be challenging to get a hold of)

You might also be wondering, besides our foods not providing as much magnesium anymore, how one might end up with a deficiency. There are a few environmental/lifestyle factors that can cause deficiencies…excessive consumption of caffeine or soda (more than 2 servings per day), menopause, old age, certain medications (antacids, diuretics, certain antibiotics, corticosteroids, and insulin. IfΒ  you have one or multiples of these factors in your life and are experiencing chronic headaches, muscle cramps, constipation, or any of other symptoms listed above…you may have a deficiency.

As with any supplement you should do your research, and consult your doctor if you have any concerns. Just keep in mind that if they run a blood panel, you magnesium will likely come back normal because it is hard to pick up the deficiency in a blood panel.

If you’d like to read further, check out this article here.

Diet Sodas, Artificial Sweetners, and weight gain…why you should ditch the diet sodas, and go for the real stuff if you’re going to drink it…

Artificial Sweetener JPG

My last post (here) talked about a woman I saw that was walking out of a gas station carrying 3 Diet Sun Drops…I discussed the drawbacks to consuming brominated vegetable oil (BVO), but she was carrying a double whammy…not just a soda filled with BVO, but it also had artificial sweeteners in it. In this blog I will discuss some of the reasons why you should avoid artificial sweeteners, including how they can hinder weight loss…at the very end I will discuss a line of Sodas that I prefer if you’re looking for a 0 Calorie soda with out all of the junk.

One of the most popular artificial sweeteners found in diet soda is Aspartame…

Aspartame is made up of three components–aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol–individually these components can be toxic; so, combined they’re even more toxic. Additionally, when aspartame is broken down by the body it is converted into formaldehyde, a known cancer causing agent. The formaldehyde is then converted into formic acid. When methanol is by itself, the body has a hard time ridding itself of this chemical, so it can build up and embalm living tissues, damage DNA, can cause cancers like lymphoma, leukemia, as well as other forms of cancer. If too much formic acid builds up in the system it can cause methanol poisoning, which can lead to death (which is unlikely to happen by drinking diet soda, but depending on other environmental factors and diet habits…not out of the realm of possibility).

In addition to toxic properties of aspartame, some studies are now showing that chemicals like aspartame can be more damaging because they can cause weight gain independent from total caloric intake (umm…no thanks! I don’t need help with weight gain!). One theory on why this happens is because they believe it alters the body’s production of hormones that regulate appetite and sugar cravings.

Consuming Aspartame can cause: headaches, muscle spasms, irritability, heart palpitations, loss of taste, joint pain, dizziness, weight gain, tachycardia, difficulty breathing, tinnitus, blurred vision, seizures, rashes, insomnia, hearing loss, depression, vertigo, nausea, blindness, slurred speech, fatigue, memory loss, numbness, heart attack, and sleep disorders.

Acesulfame-K (aka Acesulfame Potassium or Ace-K) is another sweetener that sometimes is used in addition to aspartame in “light” sodas, yogurts, protein powders, etc…but sometimes you will find it on it’s own or combined with sucralose. Ace-K is a potassium salt that contains methylene chloride, a known cancer causing agent. Ace-K can cause nausea, headaches, disturbances in mood, impaired liver and kidney function, problems with eyesight, some cancers, bladder issues, and hypoglycemia.

Sucralose– (Splenda) Sucralose is made by chlorinating regular refined white sugars (which should also be avoided…but are better than a sugar alternative!). The body has a system that naturally detoxifies it self of lots of chemicals and toxins, and it does a pretty good job of keeping your system clean…however, it does have a hard time detoxing itself of “organochlorine” substances, like sucralose.Β  There are lots of organochlorine substances that are banned because of their ability to stay in the system, build up and become toxic. These compounds have been linked to cancer, immune system dysfunction (auto-immune diseases), and birth defects.

Another issue with sucralose is that new research is suggesting that it can actually exacerbate diabetes. A study done by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that participants that were given a drink solution with sucralose vs regular water, had higher insulin levels and higher blood sugar levels than those that drank water…which is exactly what sucralose is marketing toward consumers to prevent (you can read more about those studies here and here). So what exactly does this mean? This means that individuals that do not have diabetes are putting themselves at risk for developing the disease…because when they are consuming this substance it is causing their system to constantly produce more insulin…which can lead to the cells becoming immune to the hormone. Translation=insulin resistance…diabetes.

Research on diet soda consumption by the American Diabetes Association shows that individuals that consume diet soda regularly have larger waist lines than those that drink regular soda AND they have shown that there is an association between diet soda consumption and diabetes.

The moral of the story here is…drink water often. Drink soda occasionally…and if you’re going to splurge and drink a soda, rethink the diet soda (if you have diabetes and are sensitive toΒ  sugars in soda, then skip it all together or look into Zevia)

Zevia is a soda company that makes sodas that are free of coloring and food dyes. They have knock offs for a lot of your mainstream sodas…like Mountain Zevia (Mountain Dew), and Dr. Zevia (Dr. Pepper)…these knock offs still contain the caffeine, so you’re not missing out on that, just all the other chemicals that go along with it. Zevias are also sweetened with stevia, so no worries there either. Kroger carries them (and regularly offers a coupon on their app)…you can also procure a coupon from the Zevia website. If you do venture into a Kroger to find these babies, look in the health food section and not with all the other sodas. All the Krogers that I have been into carry them in the health food section.

If you are interested in learning more about food chemicals, or if you are looking for an easier way to track down chemicals in your food….down load the “Fooducate” app. This app allows you to scan bar codes of food products and it will rate them on an alphabetical scale of how healthy or full of chemicals they are.