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Artificial Sweeteners: Migraines and Weight Gain

migraine sufferer

It’s pounding, blinding, and debilitating. Migraines take no prisoners, which is why most migraine sufferers go out of their way to avoid migraine triggers like artificial sweeteners, most notably, aspartame.

With 562,000 searches for, “Why artificial sweeteners cause migraines,” it’s a bit shocking that researchers have yet to be able to definitively prove that link! Although the Mayo Clinic reports that the combination of aspartame and the preservative MSG may trigger migraines.

Dr. Mary D. Eades, in her book, The Doctor’s Complete Guide to Vitamins and Minerals, reported that aspartame was a trigger in about 10% of migraine sufferers.

In Jean Carper’s, Food: Your Miracle Medicine, she states that “aspartame increased migraine frequency in more than 50% of the migraine patients who participated in the study.” (University of Florida)

artificial sweeteners

So, while the controversy continues to rage, the question, even though it’s not definitively proven, is why? The short answer is, scientists don’t know. But many believe it has to do with serotonin, which controls your moods, appetite, and sleep.

The theory is that aspartame may lower your serotonin levels, causing a chemical nightmare to occur in your body. But it’s not just aspartame.

There are also sugar alcohols, novel sweeteners, and yes, “natural sweeteners.” Keep in mind that sweeteners like stevia and agave nectar undergo chemical processing, which can become chemical triggers for you.

What’s In Artificial Sweeteners?

World renown neurosurgeon, Russell Blaylock, talks about artificial sweeteners as “excitotoxins,” which literally blow up brain cells because they excite cells to the point of death. (This is one reason processed foods are so addictive.)

But that’s not the worst part. Manufacturers hide the name of these exocitotoxins under 80+ different names!

Your body was never made to handle these chemicals. Is it any wonder that some people react to them, sometimes violently, as with migraines?

Even if you don’t get migraines when you consume artificial sweeteners, or other hidden excitotoxins, these chemicals take aim anyway. And suddenly, the result has become the new normal.

The Ugly Truth About Artificial Sweeteners and Weight Gain

You might not be confused about the effects of artificial sweeteners, but your body sure is! While debilitating migraines are a strong, clear signal that your body can’t handle the stuff, weight gain isn’t.

With nearly a whopping one-third of Americans overweight, obesity and metabolic syndrome have become the new normal.

“Wait a minute,” you say. “I thought artificial sweeteners were supposed to help me lose weight.” The big question becomes, why do artificial sweeteners cause weight gain?

Here’s a quick breakdown.

When you eat or drink something sweet, there comes a point when your brain says, “Okay, you’re full. Time to stop.” With artificial sweeteners, the brake lines have been cut.

candy bar

Your brain’s pleasure center lights up like a neon sign when you eat that Nutra Sweet piece of cake or diet Coke. And there’s the rub. Because artificial sweeteners contain no calories, there is no off switch. With no calories to signal fullness, your brain never gets that message and you keep eating.

Artificial sweeteners worsen insulin sensitivity, even more than sugar!


Artificial sweeteners stimulate your appetite,

increase your cravings for carbs, and promote

fat storage and weight gain

(metabolic syndrome).


Sweet n Low, Splenda, Sucralose, and a host of other artificial sweeteners are added to about 6,000 food products, snacks and beverages. That’s why it’s imperative to read labels before purchasing.

The Real Reason You Can’t Get Rid of Belly Fat

Aspartame is composed of phenylalanine and aspartic acid, both of which are amino acids we consume in tiny portions in unprocessed foods. So, what’s the problem?

These two amino acids were meant to be consumed in extremely small doses. Manufacturers, however, chemically altered them, which Mother Nature never intended. The side effects can include:

  • Migraines

  • Mental confusion

  • Dizziness

  • Even seizures

It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!

But that’s just the beginning. Artificial sweeteners can cause you to choose less healthy, filling and nutritious foods. Instead, you’ll find yourself gravitating toward artificially flavored foods.

And, of course, craving more sweets results in weight gain.

Metabolic Syndrome and Artificial Sweeteners

Metabolic Syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raise your risk for certain diseases, such as:

  • Heart disease

  • Diabetes

  • Stroke

How Do I Know If I Have Metabolic Syndrome?

The biggest visible symptom of metabolic syndrome is a large waistline. Fat stored in this area of the body indicates a greater risk for heart disease than it does when stored in other parts of the body.

And, if you’ve noticed, a large portion of Americans, have this kind of weight gain. An increase in the consumption of processed food and artificially flavored drinks coupled with a lack of exercise is to blame for many people.

That’s because, as mentioned, artificial sweeteners confuse the body. With no off switch telling you when to stop eating or drinking, you just keep eating!

You can’t get rid of metabolic syndrome with exercise only. To lose this dangerous weight, you must change your diet.


In a large study of 6814 Americans between the ages of 45-84, followed for five years, found these results.

(Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis)

  • Drinking a diet soda even once per day increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 67%

  • They also had a 36% greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome


Making the Change Away from Artificial Sweeteners

The dramatic increase of processed foods and processed sugars are a telling factor in the decline of America’s health. For migraine sufferers, consuming artificial sweeteners is simply out of the question. It’s the reason to read labels and ask questions.

For those with metabolic syndrome, the addiction to these foods and drinks is powerful. It’s much harder to make the choice to stop even with dramatic weight gain and health challenges.

The only people applauding your dilemma are the food and beverage manufacturers. Every time a person rips open a Splenda packet, or pops the lid of a soda, manufacturers make more than money.

They also gain a piece of America’s soul.

Making the change away from artificial sweeteners takes time. Give yourself that time, and don’t stop. Once you’ve weaned yourself off of them, the world will taste sweeter than you’ve ever imagined.

Your health will improve; your energy will boost, and you’ll lose those previously hard to shed pounds.

Want to make sure manufacturers don’t trick you into eating artificial sweeteners?

  • Avoid products labeled "sugar-free"

  • Check the ingredients of any product that claims it contains "0 sugars"

  • Avoid all "diet" sodas and drinks

  • Check the ingredient label on all packaged foods

Download our free artificial sweetener list here. Reference this list whenever you consider buying a new packaged food.

Take your time at the grocery store - remind yourself that your health is worth the extra minute it takes to read a new label.

You'll find that you quickly become a pro at reading labels and it becomes second nature as you grocery shop. And when you want a treat, stop by Jewell's Naturals for chewing gum, chocolates and snacks that are always free of artificial sweeteners.

New to Jewell's Naturals? Get to know us with our new customer special offer!

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