May 27, 1999
Meal Planning, Food and Diet
Question from Michigan, USA:
I am a grandmother of a little girl who is now 6 years old. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 3 years. We do the carb. counting for her diet and thanks to the specialists (doctors, nurses and dietitians) we are managing pretty good. I have rheumatoid arthritis and in the course of my treatment, it was recommended that I not use aspartame as a sweetener, as it is really a poison. This made me start to investigate this for myself and especially for this little girl, who can only have what we adults in her life give her. Needless to say I was not happy with my findings, and really afraid for what it appears we are doing to her. There has been far more articles on the subject than I ever had any idea of. Among them, these really stand out in my mind. Dr. Russell Blaylock, neurosurgeon, wrote a book entitled, "EXCITOTOXINS; THE TASTE THAT KILLS" (Health Press). Among other things he says, that memory loss is due to the fact that aspartic acid and phenylalanine are neurotoxic without the other amino acids found in protein, thus it goes past the blood brain barrier and deteriorates the neurons of the brain. "The ingredients stimulates the neurons of the brain to death, causing brain damage, of varying degrees." Dr. H.J. Roberts, diabetes specialist and world expert on aspartame poisoning, has also written a book entitled "DEFENSE AGAINST ALZHEIMERS DISEASE". Dr. Roberts tells how aspartame poisoning is escalating Alheimers Disease. Dr. Roberts said his diabetic patients have presented with memory loss, confusion, and severe vision loss. Just before the Conference of the American College of Physicians a fax was received from Norway, asking for a possible antidote for this poison, because they are experiencing a plague of neurological diseases in their country. There are many more articles on this with many, many more drastic results from the use of this, as I am sure you are probably also aware of. Now I am not a doctor or even a nurse, just a mother and a grandmother, but I can tell you this scares me. What are we doing to our people? Especially our juvenile diabetics? They have 2 strikes against them to begin with, where a long life is concerned. Are we really keeping their numbers down, at the risk of the above factors? These children do not have a choice in this, they depend on the adults in their lives, parents, doctors, and other family members. What are we doing and what should we be doing? When our little granddaughter was diagnosed we were all very carefully instructed in her care and diet. Sugarfree foods containing Aspartame were a big part of her diet plan. I know that her parents would never want to give her anything that would bring her harm. What do we give her and why is the teaching not being changed? Stevia, as a sweetener, was recommended to me for my diet, if I needed to use a sweetener. Would this be acceptable for her diet? I know that it has not been approved by the FDA, but then Aspartame was, so what are we to think or do? I would be very grateful for any insight in this matter that you can give me.
I am glad you are reading information on diabetes and sweeteners to be knowledgeable about your granddaughter’s health. Please keep reading and seeking more information.
Although the possibility of some side-effects of using aspartame is just becoming more prevalent in the literature, it is not proven with sound scientific studies that the sweetener is unsafe. We must await that research. Studies to date have shown that in moderate use, it is safe, but keep in mind moderation here. A small child should probably limit (or be limited by the parents) their intake to the equivalent of 1-2 cans of aspartame-sweetened beverages per day, in addition to small amounts from diet gelatin, etc.
Additional comments from Dr. Quick:
For information about aspartame, including links to other information that will help you better understand the product, see Aspartame at this website.
The ADA also posted a webpage on sweeteners at http://www.diabetes.org/nutrition-and-recipes/nutrition/sweeteners.jsp.