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I suddenly began suffering IBS in mid-April - eating just about anything seemed to make my belly blow up like a baloon, cramps (I went to the ER once, I was in so much pain), diarrhea. In six weeks I lost 15 lbs (was only 135 to start with), just not being able to eat.I tried a week without dairy, avoided soy, no effect. I avoided wheat for a week, and felt a little better, but I think that was just a coincidence.The only thing I noticed was that I reacted strongly and immediately any time i tried to have a protein-fortified juice or nutrition bar. I couldn't figure out why that would be - the only common ingredient was soy protein, but i didn't react to tofu. Gelatin later turned out to be a problem, too.Someone on the boards made the link for me - MSG! Turns out glutamate is NOT just in Chinese food. In fact, it's in just about every prepared, packaged, or chain restaurant food in America as a side-effect of processing. It goes by 40 different FDA-approved names - hydrolyzed protein, soy protein isolate, autolyzed yeast, yeast extract, malt extract, gelatin, broth, boullion, stock, soy sauce, light beer and - get this - "natural flavorings" almost always has glutamate. I started researching this stuff over the last few weeks, and found that people with MSG sensitivity also have similar problems with nutrasweet (aspartame) - which is similarly toxic. I've had my stomach turn a little uneasy after eating fake sugar in the past but didn't think much of it. As soon as I started really cutting MSG out of my diet - reading labels VERY carefully, eating mostly home-prepared foods and stuff from Trader Joe's - as soon as I went "clean" I started feeling better. After six weeks of suffering and uncertainty, I can finally eat a full meal and not be sick. I feel great. I have energy, I'm not craving food all the time.*Sure, if i make a mistake I'll get stomach cramps and bloating, but it's not so bad as it was. It usually passes in 20 or 30 minutes, as opposed to 2-3 hours before. That's most likely because MSG reactions are dose-related - each person can tolerate a certain amount - so even when i 'cheat' and eat some glutamate, I don't have as much of it in my system as before.Interestingly, i find that this diet puts me pretty well in line with Heather's IBS diet that so many people have success with. I wonder if they might benefit from cutting MSG too.So if anyone is suffering and not finding their trigger, I urge you to give MSG and aspartame the boot for a week. You have to really be careful and compare all your ingredients with a list of the differnt MSG names. If possible, prepare your own food for a week. (The first time i just casually decided to avoid MSG, I wasn't aware of all the different sources, so I was still ingesting a lot of it, and still having pain.)here's a list of ingredients to avoid:http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.htmlOther than that, I've also been taking soluble fiber (Grapefruit Pectin) and trader joe's probiotic. I didn't take them for a day and noticed the difference. Seems to regulate the BM's a bit - at eatingforibs.com they explain why soluble fiber is so good...*I've learned that MSG and aspartame - both almost always present in diet foods (even "natural" ones)- are known to increase carb cravings - they stimulate insulin production which can drop your blood sugar after eating. That's probaly partly why that study found that the likelihood of obesity increased 41% for EACH can or bottle of diet soda a person consumes.
 
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