alt=a hand stops artificially sugary and sweet foods.

Pour Some Sugar on Me (But Not too Much)

I have a sweet tooth. A big one. I think it stems from my Italian grandmother always feeding my brother and me Cheerios with sugar whenever we went over. She had a massive sweet tooth as well. My brother grew out of it, but I didn’t.

I used to sneak candy all of the time, a regular sweet thief.

My sweet tooth around Halloween

Halloween was both wonderful and terrifying for that reason. My biggest fear was when my mom would help me clean my room and she’d get way too close to the empty wrapper stash that I had. She actually found it one time in a dollhouse I used to store my desk necessities. She wasn’t mad, more concerned. Which is when you know it’s bad.

As a general health rule, sugar is to be consumed in moderation. Having a sweet tooth makes that very tricky. I’ve never had cavities so I never felt threatened by it. My body eventually tried to get me to lower my consumption by making it a trigger for me. It starts as a headache and jitters. If I refuse to listen to that, then I start to cramp. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s not too bad. Gets me to stop for the night.

And then there’s sucralose.

IBS and sugar

When I worked at a gym after college I would drink the pre-workout that we sold so that at the end of my shift I could go work out and not feel dead. But if I drank a whole can I would get very jittery, gurgly, develop a headache and get borderline nauseous. It sent me on at least one trip to the ladies' room every hour.

At first, I thought it was the caffeine.

I’ve always been sensitive to caffeine so I just tried to slow down how quickly I drank it and cut down on the amount I drank. Still wasn’t helping. I was drinking it kind of early in the morning, which is a trigger for me as well, so I started drinking it later in the morning. It was better but it still would eff-up my insides. What the heck?

One day I heard a member mention how they avoid sucralose.

What is that?? Something in my gut-probably the shake preparing inside me-told me this might be the source of my issues.

I went on my break and whipped out Google.

Sucralose: a zero-calorie artificial sweetener.

Hmmm.

I Googled sucralose side effects.

Gastrointestinal issues – check. Dizziness – check. Migraines – check.

This was it. This was the culprit.

I went to the bathroom, came back from my break, empowered by my discovery. I dumped the rest of the drink into the garbage, went home, and threw away the pre-workout I had bought days earlier. It was sad because that stuff ain’t cheap. But if it’s the price I pay to not crap myself while squatting, I’ll pay it.

Not that day though.

I had drunk enough to need to skip my workout. But tomorrow was a new day, where I could squat without the potty.

It was a sweet victory. I had taken a sugar and successfully told it "NO."  I am still slowly but surely cutting back on other sugars. But it’s amazing how much better I felt once I stopped consuming sucralose. Not only did it help with my bowel movements, but I just felt better in general. Sure, it meant having to manually hype me up to do a HIIT workout, but I’d rather hop on that struggle bus than catch a boat on the chocolate river Styx.

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