I like to think I'm pretty self aware in terms of what foods work with my body and which ones don't. Yet it wasn't until my last year of college when I finally realized why gum made me nauseous and why Samoa Girl Scout cookies turned my stomach into a knot. And it wasn't until yesterday when I realized why after every dental cleaning I felt sick to my stomach. I have a sugar alcohol sensitivity. Anything containing a zero calorie sweetener like sorbitol, xylitol and manitol is a killer for my body. Sugar alcohol sweeteners are in many low calorie drinks,candies and packaged snacks, nearly all gum and breath mints, and many toothpastes and mouth washes. These sweeteners that end in -ol do not put you at risk for cavities like cane sugar which makes them a popular dental product. They also are not absorbed by the body, meaning they are calorie free. So why do they make people sick? The body isn't meant to absorb them. And in large doses, they are used as a laxative. Nice.
Thankfully sorbitol, xylitol and the like don't have that effect on me. When I accidentally consume sugar alcohols, I feel nauseaus and my stomach turns into a knot. Whenever this happens, I go to whatever new product I've just used and read the label. And you know what? It happened this week. When I bought a flouoride rinse for cavity protection I saw the label contained sorbitol. I bought it anyway thinking since I was spitting it out, it would be fine. Wrong. So wrong. And when I came back from my recent dental cleaning, feeling sick as usual after an appointment, I finally figured out the large quantities of tooth polish etc used during the appointment likely contain sugar alcohol.
This food sensitivity isn't dangerous, just annoying. I feel so thankful I don't have a true allergy. But this also turns me into a crazy pants when I order coffee at Starbucks. I order a latte with skim milk and no whip but drill it in to the barista that I want the regular sugar. Please don't make this a skinny order with the sugar free syrups (sugar alcohol is an ingredient). And I'm also the only person who refuses gum because I know what it contains.
After years I finally get it. And I'm glad to have it figured out (for the most part). It just goes to show a little deep thinking and listening to your body, can help you in a big way. You just have to listen.
Do you have a food intolerance? How long did it take you to figure it out?