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Triggers- namely fake sugars

My triggers, without a doubt, and I have hospital bills to prove it… fake sugars and ‘energy/performance’ drink chemicals.
I was expanding my beverage choices, and started drinking a certain energy drink. One a day, if that. After 3 days, I noticed a spike in my migraines.
I quit the drink, and was fine.
Started the drinks again weeks later, and back came the headaches.
I ventured into the tea world (and what was also in the energy drinks), drinking guarana/ginseng/taurine enhanced drinks- and whammo!! Eye-piercing migraines. It was unbearable.
Into the ER I went. I thought my brain was too big for my head, it was that piercing.
No more teas.
I switched to lemonade. Tried the ‘healthy’ route. Back to the ER I went. Evidently, I missed the ingredient list on the can of dry mix. Acesulfame Potassium.
I thought it was potassium, never thought much of it. Other drinks were labeled as acesulfame K. Same mistake not noticed.
After two ER bills, I now avoid the fake sugars altogether.
At a friend’s dinner, I had a dish of plain pasta. With a homemade sauce. It took a matter of 5 minutes for me to get a piercing headache. “Pasta?”, I thought. It was then revealed that the homemade sauce was a sweet one. Infused with the fake sugar that’s less than “splendid”..
Now I don’t eat foods unless I’ve made sure all my bases are covered.
No fake sugars, no guarana, ginseng, or taurine.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Ellen H
    4 years ago

    Artificial sweeteners = instant throwing up. Nice & quick!

    But…how about…melatonin?? I think melatonin sets off hallucinations & nightmares!?!

    I am not sure. And I hate the part of…try it again and let’s see???

    RUN AWAY LIKE CRAZY FROM your nearest natural drinks!!

    I hope you feel better. What a lousy experience. Take care. — Ellen H.

  • MargoW
    4 years ago

    I’ve noticed that artificial sweeteners seem to be a trigger for me as well. 24-48 hours before it rains is a killer time for me as well as any disruptions in my sleep pattern – fun since I suffer from insomnia. I’ve managed to track down the few I can control but I seem to be mostly trapped by things I can’t control. I’ve had chronic migraines for nearly 34 years now and my best friends are still ice packs, peppermint oil, and my dark quiet room care.

  • mike ashley
    4 years ago

    my name is mike and I have suffered with severe migraines for over 40 years…..usually brought about by low atmospheric pressure?…I know, crazy isn’t it but no fun if you happen to live in England!
    No pharmaceutical cures have ever touched it for me….my cure, and this may sound ridiculous, but for me a 100% success rate at stopping and reversing the symptoms immediately…..6 teaspoons of white sugar and a glass of water taken as soon as the first symptoms appear.
    This has worked for me for the last five years and is a life changer as it is always reliable and virtually instant in its reaction.
    My rationale….simply that this amount of sugar is a poison that the brain cannot ignore and it simply prioritises the chemical centres to produce insulin etc and ignore the migraine as a lower priority?
    If your not diabetic suggest you try it….what is there to loose?

  • Katie M. Golden moderator
    4 years ago

    It stinks that it took so much trial and error for you to figure out that fake sugars are a huge trigger for you, but I’m glad you know now! That’s great info for others trying to nail down any dietary triggers.

    Thanks for sharing!
    -Katie Moderator

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