Preservative Intolerance...anyone?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 73
   Posted 6/19/2009 8:27 AM (GMT -7)   
A few months back I started to keep a food diary because I was convinced most of my intestinal explosions were triggered by food; I suspected food allergies. That theory was out the window once my Celiac Panel and food allergy test results came back negative.
Now I'm thinking I must just be super sensitive to some things because of my IBD. Has anyone else noticed an intolerance to preservatives or certain spices? The fewer ingredients there are, the better off I am.
For example:
I can eat Fritos like they're going out of style (3 or 4 ingredients max). Doritos (ingredient list as long as my arm, including MSG) send me directly to the bathroom.
Barbeque sauce and ketchup, no problem. Sloppy Joe mix from a can....right to the bathroom.
Homemade soups, no problem. Anything prepared with chicken bouillon cubes....disasterous.
Homemade chocolate chip cookies, no problem. Store bought cookies and crackers.....disasterous.
I can only tolerate real suger. Any kind of artificial sweeteners cause uncontrollable D.
Cheese pizza settles fine. Add pepperoni, OMG!!!
Chinese food, I've learned, is a HUGE no-no for me. Soy sauce included.
Anything containing high levels of sodium, forget it.
Anything containing high fructose corn syrup (which is just about everything these days), including soda, sets me off.
I also cannot tolerate Arugula. Not sure what the deal is there.
Anyone else have similar issues?
Diagnosed with Ileitus October, 2008. Probably Crohn's. Will know for sure in October, 2009 when I have my second Colonoscopy. Weaned off Entocort. Celiac Panel negative. Food Allergy testing negative. Trying to maintain good health and less bathroom visits with diet and probiotic.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 6/19/2009 9:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Most of what you put on your lists is the same for me. Can eat Fritos no problem (if you look at the package they have no preservatives), but Doritos do me in everytime. I can eat some chinese, but never put additional soy sauce on it as it upsets me. I think most of us are sensitive to the preservatives too.

Gail *Nanners*
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease and Anxiety/Panic Forum
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, and Calcium and Xanax as needed. Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission.
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3763
   Posted 6/19/2009 11:18 AM (GMT -7)   

I'm bad when it comes to food.  I eat things and then pay for it later.  But basically I do eat only the foods I should, so I don't really pay too much attention to the list of ingredients of the things of things that upset me. Its usually after a party or something like that, and who knows what multitude of things it was that upset me.

But, I am super sensitive to the additives in medications.  I can take the generics from Walgreens and BJ's, but not from CVS.  I break out in an itchy rash. This just happened about a year ago and since then I have been afraid to try a generic from any other store, so I end up buyin the name brand of everything unless I happen to be in Walgreens or BJ's.


CD 20 years officially, 30 unofficially. 3 resections '93, '95 '97
Managing with strict low residue diet, keeping symptoms to a minimum. All test show small amount of ulceration, still have occasional blockages. But still have a great time with my 2 daughters and husband!

Prednisone, 6MP,Prevacid, B12 shots, Bentyl, Xifaxan.....

ski bum
Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 451
   Posted 6/22/2009 7:16 PM (GMT -7)   
I have these issues too. I'm glad you posted this, because I thought it was just coincidental. Add taco seasoning to the list. I stay away from all the chip snacks with preservatives. Pretzels seem to be OK.
50 y/o F. CD dx'd Aug 05. Initially on Pentasa, then Imuran 125 mg. Started Humira (very reluctantly) on 10/24/07. Ileocolectomy 4/08. Back on Pentasa as maintenance.

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 6/22/2009 10:55 PM (GMT -7)   
Preservatives/MSG's can certainly exacerbate IBD symptoms, this is why I no longer eat fast-foods, processed foods/beverages or refined sugar/artificial sweetners...has definitely helped with my symptoms avoiding those things.

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 2088
   Posted 6/23/2009 3:28 AM (GMT -7)   
yeah I almost don't eat processed foods, because I am sensitive to so many things. The first additive I identified as a problem was carrageenan, which is a common emulsifier. Apparently it comes two different molecular weights, the seaweed itself makes one or the other according to conditions, and the food companies don't know which one they are using, to them it mattters not. If your gut is "leaky", one form will percolate through to cause problems, the other will not. Flavourings in chips, particularly cheesy snacks, and some colourings, will give me a rash, wheeziness and other problems. I scratch like a dog with fleas if I eat the wrong snack !
It isn't just additives, I am obviously sensitive to residues from pesticides etc to judge from the chalk-and-cheese difference I found in the effects on me of non-organic and organic food a couple years back. That profound experience, which I never would have expected, changed me onto an organic, veggie-filled diet which has definitely helped, but not cured. I can eat non-organic food - but it always ends in tears.
I don't know how typical my hypersensitivity is, I would say I have a mild case of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities - even the smell of a new glossy magazine can make me feel ill nowadays. I used to think that was something that was incredibly rare, but I have met enough people now to think that is maybe just another auto-immune disorder.
And of course sugar and salt are things that I now eat only when I must, rather than when a manufacturer says it's nice. nono That change alone has done me a power of good !

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 2832
   Posted 6/23/2009 6:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Like pb4 and some others of you I find additives/fillers/[reservatives tend to do a number on me too, so I avoid processed food altogether and avoid any preservatives as best as I can (obviously not possible altogether when eating out, but I try to freqeuent restaurants that cook with 'real food' on the spot as opposed to the chain places that prepackage their foods and have food heaters rather than chefs). The funny thing about carrageenan is that it is used experimentally to induce colitis in lab animals and yet the FDA approves it as a food additve- go figure. This is the same FDA which bans pig whipworm eggs, a proven IBD therapy, and throws monkey wrenches into the importation of many other good therapies available in Europe, from the US- what a disfunctional agency.
Pancolitis >20 years, allergic to all 5ASAs
(To pharma: enough already with the umpteen variants of Asacol!)
Tried everything under the sun (natural and alternative)
Some partial success with TSO but was too expensive to keep up 
Remicade Humira, lots of probiotics, entocort, tapering increasing pred again,
maybe surgery this year soon

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 202
   Posted 6/23/2009 12:54 PM (GMT -7)   
I had never thought about the preservative relationship to my flairs.  One thing I do know is that if I go to eat out at a place like Dennys, or Village Inn, IHOP, or other similar places, I have immediate bad reactions.  I thought it was maybe something they all use on their grills?  It's interesting and just adds a whole new dimension to our already complex disease.

Crohn's Disease. 
Diagnosed 13+ years ago. 
Been in remission for short periods of time but each time I come out of remission my disease seems to have spread.  No longer isolated in my ileum, now from stomach down to rectum.
Current Medications:  Humera 40mg injections every other week, Imuran 150mg, Levsin, Welchol 625mg, Prednisone 10mg(started weaning off, now going back up in dosing).Canesa suppositories
Misc:  I recently joined a local crohns disease support group that meets monthly.  It has been great talking to and meeting other people who share the same disease.  I hope to continue gaining insight through this forum as well.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 947
   Posted 6/23/2009 4:03 PM (GMT -7)   
I cannot do coffee,alcohol, or tomato sauce.
Diagnosed with Crohns in 2001
First and hopefully last Ileocecectomy 2/18/2009

Medications: Asacol, Precription Folic Acid, Multivitamin, 1000mg Calcium, Vitamin D, Probiotics,  Monthly B-12 injections.

Living a Great life with my Wife and my two Chocolate Labs
Hunter & Hailey.
I love them dearly.

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/5/2013 8:02 PM (GMT -7)   
I was diagnosed with late onset Crohns 2 years ago. Since then, I have found wheat gluten is a driver - no surprise! Modern wheat is very bad for 80% of the general population and it appears to cause all autoimmune diseases and diabetes. Also for me, sugar is fine, fruitose can be problematic.

But I have found 4 preservatives that cause much more grief. All are based on industrial solvents.
Absolutely avoid preservatives BHA, BHT, THBQ, and benzoates. I can handle MSG so far.
BHT is in wheat thins, frying oil for fried chicken, pizza sausage & peperoni.
THBQ is in many things and can be up to 1,000 parts per million.
Benzoates are in most soda pop, ReaLemon juice, sauerkraut, and lots of well hidden places.

I have greatly reduced my methotrexate dose by avoiding these preservatives and limit my wheat to a minimum.

Read all food labels carefully.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 193
   Posted 2/7/2013 9:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Be suspicious of any food that is in a can, box, jar, bottle, or envelope. Reading labels becomes a valuable life-style and you will be surprised what's really in our food. I use organic all the way, make my own probiotic yogurt and use liquid organic vitamins and avoid all gmo's. Organics cost a bit more but we can pay the farmer now or the pharmacy for life. My crohn's was limited to the terminal ileum for 38 years, therefore, my experience cannot be representative compared to those with crohn's activity elsewhere, but I no longer have it.
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