For some reason, sugar has gotten a bad rap. It could be that an average American consumes over 160 pounds a year.
People are trying to cut down on their sugar consumption.
For that reason, companies that are producing diet products add chemicals other than sugar to the food product to make it seem sweeter.
The marketing sell is that product labels can say the product contains no or low sugar.
One of the more common artificial sweeteners is Sucralose.
Most people don’t even realize they are consuming Sucralose or that people can be allergic to it.
Some reviews of these products do mention artificial sweeteners as issues, such as Ideal Shape Reviews.
But most product reviews are written to sell the product, so they do not include such information.
Since protein powders and meal replacement shakes are mainstream right now, we have seen quite a few people have symptoms that could be from Sucralose allergies.
These symptoms are similar to many other common issues that we see in emergency rooms.
It will not hurt to ask the patient if they consume protein powders or meal replacement shakes on a regular basis.
Common complaints are:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Blurred vision
- Blood sugar increases
- Weight gain
The most common allergic symptom that people have is rashes or hives on their skin. But lung issues are pretty common too, especially the tightness in the chest.
Ask the patient if they have a short little cough after drinking a shake. This is also very common as their air pathways tend to close up if they are allergic to sucralose.
The most common symptoms are listed from top down.
- Skin — Redness, itching, swelling, rash, or hives (itchy bumps or welts).
- Lungs — Wheezing, tightness, cough, or shortness of breath.
- Head — Swelling of the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, or throat; headaches and migraines.
- Nose — Stuffy nose, runny nose (clear, thin discharge), sneezing.
- Eyes — Red (bloodshot), itchy, swollen, or watery.
- Stomach — Bloating, gas, pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or bloody diarrhea.
- Heart — Palpitations or fluttering.
- Joints — Joint pains or aches.
- Neurological — Anxiety, dizziness, spaced-out sensation, depression.
Patients will have no problems telling you if they consume these products. Since Sucralose is in over 4,000 products patients may consume other products that contain the artificial sweetener.
However, protein powders and meal replacement shakes seem to bring out the allergies. It could be that is because no other food is consumed when people drink these shakes.
So if your patient has the above-listed symptoms, it wouldn’t hurt to ask them if they drink meal replacement shakes, or if they notice the symptoms after they consume them.
Although Sucralose allergies are not all that common, asking a simple question to a patient will never hurt. In the end, it may save the patient a lot of time and testing in the future.