August 30, 2002
Meal Planning, Food and Diet
Question from Nashville, Tennessee, USA:
I know that my mother-in-law loves us, and I definitely know she adores her grandchildren, but she is convinced that artificial sweeteners are going to kill our children. My husband and I are careful about what we eat and the amount of sugar and carbs we ingest. We were both overweight children, and we are trying to keep our children from falling into the same problems we had. We both have family members with diabetes.
We have used Splenda and are very pleased with its taste and its uses as a ‘sugar alternative’, but we have given the children aspartame. I have read the articles on the website, and I still have questions with regard to young children. Is my mother-in-law justified in saying that artificial sweeteners are harmful to my children (ages two and five)?
There is no good evidence that artificial sweeteners are harmful. There is certainly no evidence that they may cause diabetes or PKU. In the UK, there is a screening test for PKU performed in the first week of life. It is now diagnosed during this period in infants.