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Food Additives-Eliminate Pain
Topic Started: Oct 7 2011, 05:00 AM (338 Views)
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6 Food Additives to Subtract From Your Diet

Could flavorings, sweeteners, and other food additives be adding to or even causing your chronic pain? Here's what you need to know.


By Wyatt Myers

Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH


Know The Source Of Your Pain

Eliminating Stress Brings Pain Relief
When you injure yourself, it's easy to understand the source of your pain. But for some pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, migraine, and arthritis, deciphering the source is not as simple. Now, a growing volume of research is indicating that what you eat, including some common additives found in many packaged and processed foods, might play a role in chronic pain.

But if you're like many Americans, these foods make up a substantial portion of your diet. According to a report in the New York Times, Americans buy 787 pounds of processed food like microwave dinners and salty snacks per year, compared with only 602 pounds of fresh food. Staying away from these items can boost your overall health as well as helping to manage pain.

Additives to Avoid

Here are six food additives it makes sense to avoid as part of your pain management plan.
Artificial Sweeteners:Artificial sweeteners like aspartame (NutraSweet) and Splenda, which are found in diet drinks and foods as well as those little packets on restaurant tables, were developed as safe, healthy substitutes for sugar. But research has linked these food additives to a variety of chronic pain conditions, including fibromyalgia and migraines. "One patient I worked with who came in for chronic headaches drank two diet sodas every day," says Peter Bongiorno, ND, a naturopathic physician with InnerSource Health in New York City. "He had been to five doctors and was on three pain medications. Once we removed the diet soda from his diet and had him replace it with water, his headaches stopped."
Sugar: Sugar may seem like a more "natural" sweetener than sugar substitutes, but it still causes pain management problems for many people. "Sugar is a common pain trigger," says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers and author of Pain Free 1-2-3: A Proven Program for Eliminating Chronic Pain Now. "It can trigger swings that can throw muscles into spasm."
High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Also known as HFCS, this sweetener used in many packaged products like soda, cakes, and candy has received a lot of bad press lately. Though some believe that HFCS is likely no worse for your health than standard sugar, that doesn't necessarily make it a good thing. Some studies have shown that some people have an intolerance to high-fructose corn syrup that can lead to chronic abdominal pain and other digestive disorders.
Salt: Most experts agree that salt is not directly linked to pain. However, we have become so addicted to salt that the overabundance of the mineral is now indirectly leading to pain in many people, says Dr. Bongiorno. "In some individuals, salt intake can allow the body to retain water in its tissues. The pressure of this water can squeeze and impinge on nerve and joint function, which can increase pain," he explains. "It may be worth trying a salt-free diet to see if it decreases pain." Bongiorno adds, "Everyone should avoid foods with added salt."
MSG: Most people think of the food additive monosodium glutamate, or MSG, as a flavor enhancer used in Chinese food, but it is also incorporated into many processed foods. In studies, it seems to have the same impact on chronic pain conditions as artificial sweeteners. "Glutamate (a component of MSG), can damage nerve endings when taken in excess. When this happens there is an amplification of pain," says Barbara Mendez, MS, RPh, a pharmacist and nutritional consultant in New York. "I would recommend that people read labels carefully and avoid anything with MSG." Other names for MSG include glutamic acid, yeast extract, hydrolyzed protein, sodium caseinate, and autolyzed yeast.
Preservatives: One of the reasons that many foods can last so long on store shelves is due to the addition of preservatives, chemicals (with names like benzoates, monoglycerides, diglycerides, nitrates, nitrites, and sulfites) that keep the food from spoiling. A number of studies have also linked some of these preservatives to chronic pain conditions. Says Mendez, "These preservatives are often found in commercially prepared baked goods, so consider making your own homemade products." One added benefit: When you bake your own goodies, you can control how much sugar goes in.

Here's the take-away: Whenever possible, choose fresh foods over prepared items to help decrease your pain and improve your health.

Last Updated: 09/20/2011
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Cindy marie
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One more reason to cut out processed food. :sighs: I do like my latte every afternoon and I sweeten it with artificial sweeteners.
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The key is not being a substantial part of your diet so you do well.
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