2 Weeks Without Artificial Sweeteners or Sugar Alcohols

Today marks two weeks of having no artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols in my diet. It really did get easier day after day. Although my little experiment was some what hindered by my few days on antibiotics, I still feel there are legitimate results to report. Below are the things I experienced.

  • Better sleep at night.
  • More energy during the day.
  • Not hungry at all in between meal times.
  • Less headaches.
  • No cravings for sweet stuff after day 3.
  • Better concentration.
  • Slight weight loss.
  • Less gas and bloating.

For the first two nights, I fell asleep really early, which is very unusual for me. By night three, I was back to my normal sleep routine but was able to wake up easier in the morning. During the day, I felt more energized and also didn’t feel hungry in between meals. Some mornings I wouldn’t even eat breakfast because I just wasn’t hungry. The first 3 days, I still craved something sweet, especially after a meal. After day three, the sweet cravings were completely gone. I even made it through Valentine’s Day without cravings. My mother in-law brought over several different types of sugar free chocolates. She knows I don’t eat sugar but didn’t know about my two week ban of artificial sweetener and sugar alcohols. Normally I would have been so excited to try new kinds of sugar free chocolate that I would eat a couple right away. Instead, I thanked her, and once she left, I put them away in the cabinet and forgot they were even there.

I also experienced significantly less headaches. I always have sinus problems so there’s no way I’d go two weeks without a single headache, but I didn’t get a headache daily like I normally do. Instead, I had one or two a week. In addition, my concentration was better. Typically I have serious problems concentrating for long periods of time. Usually I’m constantly getting up every hour or so to get a snack or find a piece of gum, so I’m thinking the increase in concentration is due to less distractions by food. I was what I would call an obsessive gum chewer. I used to be a smoker, and I believe chewing gum took the place of smoking. Without the sweet cravings, I don’t seem to have the urge to chew gum. I’ve lost about 4lbs over the past two weeks. I’m not eating as much, and I’m eating more vegetables. I’ve found it’s a lot easier to keep my daily carb count low when you eliminate artificially sweetened things. Many of the snacks I used to enjoy had about 5-10 carbs per serving. Finally, I’ve experienced less gas and bloating. Most people know that artificial sweeteners and most certainly sugar alcohols can cause gas and bloating. However, I wasn’t aware of the extent–mostly the bloating. Even though I’ve only lost 4lbs, my stomach looks like I lost more because all of the bloating is gone.

In conclusion, I can definately say I was addicted to artificial sweeteners/sugar alcohols, and I feel much healthier not having them in my diet. I wish I could say it fixed the irritation (by iritation I mean feeling like a yeast infection is coming on) I felt after my period, but I had to take antibiotics for a UTI. The irritation could have been from the antibiotics. I plan to stick with the ban on artificial sweeteners/sugar alcohols for as long as I can because I feel much better. I’m sure I won’t ban them for life, but they will definately not be a part of my diet on a daily basis like they were before. I’ll give you an update on my results after my next period. One more thing I wanted to mention was the amount of money I saved on groceries. My grocery bill was on average $20 cheaper a week without all the prepackaged snacks and ingredients to make my own artificially sweetened snacks.


Condoms and Yeast Infections

I thought I would write a post dealing with condoms and yeast infections because many people don’t know there can be a correlation between the two. In some cases, condoms can cause yeast infections, and in other cases, condoms can actually prevent yeast infections. I’ll first talk about how they can prevent yeast infections. Semen can neutralize the pH in the vagina. It has to temporarily, in order to survive and make it’s way to fertilize an egg. If you have sex often, the semen can alter the pH in the vagina for more than just temporarily. The vagina operates best when the pH levels are more acidic. If the semen has had a significant impact on your pH level, this could cause a yeast infection. Obviously, if you use condoms, the semen never makes it’s way into the vagina. In addition, condoms are also great for preventing bacteria from entering the vagina. Let’s say your partner hasn’t showered in a day and he didn’t wash his penis off (Gross I know, but it happens.) before having sex. If you don’t use a condom, all of the germs and bacteria that could be on his penis will then be inserted all the way into your vagina. If he uses a condom, some of the germs may get on the outside of your vagina, but they won’t get on the inside where the condom is protecting. In general, condoms make for cleaner sex and much easier clean-up for the woman.

On the other hand, there are certain instances where condoms can cause a yeast infection. One instance is if you are allergic to the condom itself. Many people have a latex allergy. Cases of people allergic to latex can range from minor to severe. Minor meaning, after repeated use an irritation occurs, and severe meaning hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing occur immediately after contact. People who are severely allergic know it, but those who are are only slightly allergic may not be aware of their allergy. Someone who is slightly allergic may experience a burning, swelling, or irritated sensation in the vagina after condom use. It may not happen after just one use but repeated use may cause these symptoms. The allergic reaction can definitely upset the pH in the vagina and give you a yeast infection. If you are allergic to latex, try switching to a polyurethane condom. You can also try lambskin condoms. I will warn you about lambskin condoms; they DO NOT offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Another way condoms can give you a yeast infection is if the lubricant on the condom contains nonoxynol-9–a spermicide that is said to kill the HIV virus. Studies have show a link between nonoxynol-9 and yeast infections as well as urinary tract infections. Many condom makers no longer use nonoxynol-9. It’s easy to find condoms that don’t contain this spermicide. Another instance where a condom can cause a yeast infection is if you are allergic to the lubricant on the condom. Also, some lubricants contain glycerin. Often times people who are prone to yeast infections cannot use lubricants containing glycerin because it gives them a yeast infection. In this situation, you can look for a condom with a different lubricant or buy a non lubricated condom and use your own water based lubricant. If the glycerin is the problem, then find a non-glycerin lubricant. The answers to your yeast infection problems could be as simple as changing the type of condom you use.


UTI Symptoms Came Back

Looks like my combination of things didn’t work perfectly. At around 4pm yesterday I started getting a pain down there, and when I peed, it hurt at the beginning. I decided to go ahead and take the Ciprofloxacin. Sometimes UTI symptoms can disappear, but the infection is still there. I didn’t want to risk the infection spreading. The last thing I want is a kidney infection. I’m just hoping I don’t get a yeast infection thanks to the antibiotics. This just goes to show that fighting recurring yeast infections and urinary tract infections is indeed an on going journey. A frustrating journey for sure but one I will continue on. What have I learned from this UTI episode? Maybe I shouldn’t have rough sex towards the end of my period. I usually don’t have sex until my period is completely over, mostly because it’s irritated down there and I feel I might get a yeast infection if I have sex at that particular time. This time though, everything felt great down there and I was crediting it to my ban of artificial sweeteners in my diet.

This oh so annoying UTI episode also shows me that it is indeed a combination of things that keep the infections at bay. A good diet isn’t enough for me; I have to do all the other little things in perfect unison to keep the infections away. I do feel much better this morning. There is no pain at all when I pee. I think I will take one Ciprofloxacin pill this morning in addition to my normal pill routine of TheraCran and Azo Yeast and then that will be it for me. As far as the yeast infection, well I don’t have one yet. I’m taking 3 Azo Yeast pills a day this week because I feel a little irritated down there, but nothing that isn’t normal the week after my period. There goes my little experiment with artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. I don’t know if eliminating them from my diet helped the irritation the week after my period or not because the irritation I’m feeling could be from the antibiotics. I’m still going to meet my two week goal of not having them in my diet.


UTI Alert

Well this morning was not a good morning when I woke up. First, I had a dream that I had a yeast infection. Then I woke up having to pee really bad, but I also had this unpleasant warm sensation in my bladder region. I went to pee and felt a slight pain at the end of my stream, which let me know this could be the beginning of a urinary tract infection (UTI). I couldn’t go back to sleep after that. Right after I peed, I still felt like I had to pee–not a good sign. I held off on trying to pee again because I knew it was just the sneaky UTI trying to trick me into thinking I had to pee when I really didn’t–only to cause me pain. I drank water all morning and took two TheraCran cranberry pills and two Azo Yeast pills. I peed a steady stream about 30 mins after I drank 2 big glasses of water. I then drank two more. I was really trying my best not to take the Ciprofloxacin my urologist gave me for UTI flare ups. I didn’t want the antibiotic to stir up a yeast infection.

I couldn’t believe this was happening, especially when I’ve been super good with my diet and I haven’t had  any artificial sweeteners in a week. The only thing I can think of is I recently stopped taking my birth control. I was supposed to start my new pack Sunday, but decided I wanted to try being off of birth control for a while because I hate all the side effects. I really just want to see if it helps my sex drive any and whether or not it will restore some of the moisture down there. My husband and I had sex on Saturday (Valentine’s Day), and we used a condom since I’m not on the pill. We used a polyurathane one (I’m allergic to latex) that doesn’t contain any spermicide stuff. We had rougher longer sex than usual and it was also the end of my period. I’m thinking maybe the combination of the two triggered the darn UTI symptoms. I felt fine on Sunday.

After my fourth glass of water today, I decided to take a nice long warm shower. I peed before my shower and it hurt some. After my shower I decided I would put Rephresh in. It was time to do it anyway, and I was hoping the Rephresh might balance out the pH inside of there and help keep a full blown UTI at bay. I took a nap after that and woke up about two hours later. When I peed this time, it felt better. I didn’t feel any pain. Maybe I won’t have to take the antibiotics after all. If I don’t, I’m not sure who to give the credit to–Rephresh, Cranberry pills, the good bacteria in the Azo Yeast, or the four large glasses of water I drank. It could have been a combination of them all. Whatever it was, I am glad to be feeling better. I think I’ll give things down there a rest for a day or two and also up my daily water intake by a glass or two.


Day 4 No Artificial Sweetener

Today marks day four of not having any artificial sweetener. It seems to become easier the longer I go. I feel good, and I’ve noticed some weight loss, even though I’m not trying to loose. I haven’t had a single headache since I made this change in my diet. I also find I don’t snack as much as I did when I was having artificial sweetener. Yesterday I was out of town doing some shopping at one of those stores where you buy things in bulk. I was getting a tiny bit hungry and I thought, “oh, I’ll just get a big box of those low carb chocolaty bars and snack on one of those on the way home”. Then I remembered they contain artificial sweetener. I was almost thankful because I know it would have been a miracle for me to make it the long drive home and only eat one of those delicious bars. The thought of snacking completely erased my mind after I realized I couldn’t buy them. I waited until dinner, when I was actually hungry, to eat. My meals so far have looked like this:

Tuesday

Breakfast – Wasn’t hungry, so I drank 2 large glasses of lemon water

Lunch – 8 chicken wings, side salad (lettuce, onions cucumbers) with Ranch dressing, a couple of pieces of beef jerky, tall glass of water, club soda

Dinner- Handful of cashews, big salad (lettuce, tomatoes, cauliflower, alfalfa, sunflower seeds, cheese, chopped hard boiled eggs) with Thousand Island dressing, 2 large glasses of water

Wednesday

Breakfast – 4 long stalks of celery, 2 large glasses of water, cup of coffee black

Lunch – 12 meatballs covered in cheese, club soda

Dinner – 12 chicken wings with Ranch dressing, 3 club sodas

Thursday

Breakfast – Wasn’t Hungry, drank 1 club soda

Lunch – Large grilled shrimp and spinach salad salad with hot bacon dressing, 8 small pieces of beef jerky, 1 large glass of water, 1 small glass of water

Dinner- Big salad (lettuce, alfalfa, cheese, tomatoes, chopped hard boiled eggs, sunflower seeds) with Thousand Island dressing, cup of cashews, 1 club soda, small glass of water

I also wanted to add that in addition to the artificial sweeteners I listed in my last entry (aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose), I am also avoiding sugar alcohols, which can come in the following forms: sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, erythritol, isomalt, lactitol, hydrogenated starch, hydrolysates, maltitol. They’re not exactly classified as artificial sweeteners, but they are said to have some effect on those prone to yeast infections and urinary tract infections. Sugar alcohols are different from artificial sweeteners because sugar alcohols are not calorie free and they contain carbohydrates. Therefor sugar alcohols can have some effect on blood sugar levels. I thought it would be wise to avoid those as well because many of the snacks I feel I have become addicted to contain sugar alcohols.