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Glucagal

Dangers of Aspartame!

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Glucagal

I have a daughter who has had diabetes for about 33 years. She has been using Aspartame (Equal etc.) for all those years. Her friend called her today and warned her about an article she read about the dangers of Aspartame and all the products it is in. We read the article and are terrified about what this could mean for the millions of diabetics who depend upon products made with Aspartame. They will never take it off of the market because it makes too much money for the manufacturers of all of the products they sell. My question is, does anyone know what a diabetic can use in it's place? My daughter has already developed many of the complications of long term diabetes and has been treated for them for years. However, we are terrified her life can be at stake if she has to continue to use Aspartame since she cannot use sugar. Any information or advice you can provide will be deeply appreciated. We wonder what other diabetics are using in place of Equal and the other dangerous sugar substitutes. Thank you so much for any help you can provide.

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Seagal

Liquid Splenda (Sweetzfree) or erythritol don't affect my b.g. I don't buy "diabetic" food, so it hasn't been a problem. Keep reading labels and avoid the ones with aspartame if it is worrisome.

 

 

Yes, the dangers of aspartame have been discussed for years, seems like there is always a "new" article.

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Glucagal
I'm curious, which article is this? Because this has been batted around for years.

 

All you have to do is type in "Aspartame Dangers" on Google and it brings up a lot of articles about it. I think the one our friend saw and got upset about was on Mercola.com. I know years ago we heard rumors about Aspartame being dangerous but it died away and we thought there was nothing to it. We do hope there is nothing to this latest one but are trying to find some substitutes for "just in case" there are truths to the rumors. Maybe the new "Zero" drinks are more safer but one never knows. Just trying to help my daughter not have worse problems by ingesting harmful drinks etc. if Aspartame can be harmful.

 

To the other poster: Thanks for the Sweetzfree or erythirtol suggestions. I will pass them on to her.

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Cormac_Doyle

Mercola is an utter quack ... but even a broken clock shows the correct time twice a day!

 

The information about aspartame may be valid ... but I would not trust ANYTHING written on that particular website

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Bountyman
All you have to do is type in "Aspartame Dangers" on Google and it brings up a lot of articles about it.

 

Of course it does. Let's do this: Go to Google and type in any of the medications people here take or even something from a recipe posted here. For instance, a lot of people here swear by coconut oil, let's see what Google brings up on that:

 

Top of the list says: 'A review on how coconut oil may actually promote some very deleterious health effects, especially in regard to cardiovascular disease.'

 

Okay, how about, let's see, lettuce. We all think lettuce is a benign vegetable, right? Gotta eat your veggies. Let's see what Google says: The Dangers of Lettuce. Did you know that according to various ancient writers, lettuce was thought to cause sexual impotence in men? :eek:

 

WHOA! No more lettuce for me...and I'm going to email this out to every dude I know...and my homemade tacos are gonna suck from now on.

 

How about water? We all need water or we'll die, right. Did you know that if you drank too much water at one time you will drown? No, really, that's the truth.

 

My point is that no matter what you search for under "the dangers of"...you'll find someone has a problem with it.

 

That your daughter has been using it for 33 years with no visible "bad" results is more empirical evidence than some email scare from a supposed friend.

 

Do I use Aspartame? Not to defend it...but yes, I do. 2 packets every morning in my coffee for the last 4 years. I'm also off all diabetic medications and insulin for the last 2 months. Do I attribute that to Aspartame? Of course not. Honestly, if your daughter's use of Aspartame hasn't presented any adverse affects that are listed in the Aspartame scare...I wouldn't worry about it now. On the flip side...it's also possible that any other substitute she plans on using could be adverse. Maybe you could Google that before you switch, as well.

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Glucagal

Bountyman: Point taken and you are certainly correct about the internet. We just have to do the best we can and hope we survive "lettuce". :)

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Ela

Some 15 years ago when my son was a chubby teenager he decided to lose weight and stopped drinking regular sodas. He developed a taste for Fresca – he loved it and did lose weight. He was always a curious boy and one day he tells me; look mom, this Fresca thing has Aspartame and it says right here on the bottle that some in experiments on mice it showed increased rate of cancer (I paraphrase). So we stopped buying Fresca and all other products with Aspartame since then.

 

Interestingly the warning disappeared from the bottles some time later. Has it become safe? I personally doubt it very much but then who knows.

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Bountyman

I can't ever remember seeing a mouse drinking Fresca. Honestly, most of these "controlled" tests are done with concentrated variations of a product to see what happens. I have a theory that what causes cancer in lab mice is being locked up in a cage and being handled by unempathetic humans that are over 500 times larger than they are.

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CatLord
How about water? We all need water or we'll die, right. Did you know that if you drank too much water at one time you will drown? No, really, that's the truth.

 

Dihydrogen Monoxide!! Oh noes!!!11!1!

 

A troll so hard, legislation was passed against DHMO, school districts started banning it, and politicians started fighting against the 'dangers of this evil chemical'.

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Bountyman

This has nothing to do with DHMO (Hydric acid). It's called water intoxication. At its most basic...water intoxication occurs when a person drinks so much water that the other nutrients in the body become diluted to the point that they can no longer do their jobs. You've probably heard the term electrolyte before, whether in reference to sports drinks (which provide electrolytes in addition to fluids) or to certain conditions, such as bulimia or diarrhea, that cause dangerous "electrolyte imbalances" in the body.

 

Electrolytes are simply salt ions (atoms with an overall positive or negative charge) that cells use to move fluids and nerve messages into and out of cells and throughout the body. Without electrolytes...the body can't function. Water intoxication causes an electrolyte imbalance that affects concentrations of the ion sodium, and it leads to a condition called Hyponatremia. In cases of water intoxication...it is extreme Hyponatremia that can ultimately cause coma and death.

 

There was a case of this just last year at California State - Chico where a student trying to get in to a fraternity died of Hyponatremia during a hazing.

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StringCheese

I haven't reviewed all of the research on aspartame but some of those earlier studies showing how it causes cancer in rodents used excessive daily doses. As Bountyman points out even water can be toxic and be used to start a false frenzy of fear. So as long as you aren't guzzling galons of it a day you should be fine, everything in moderation right. However, there are some concerns about these other sweeteners and high fructose products etc, mostly the problem is that they are sweeter than sugar so the brain becomes accustomed to a sweeter sweet so when you eat food sweetened by sugar your brain expects that sweeter sweet experience and craves more so on average you tend to eat more of the sweet food that you would have otherwise. But really the key is everything in moderation. If your daughter is type 1 there is nothing at all wrong with sugar if she gives herself enough insulin before hand, if she is type 2 there is nothing wrong with sugar as long as she makes sure to account for the amount for the carbs in the sugar and balances it with her exercise/diet/meds etc. The carbs in sugar are no different than the carbs in bread. Of course eating a good diet is really the important goal and sugar isn't necessary and isn't really good for you so avoiding it is good for all people, but there's nothing wrong with a piece of cake on your birthday or something as long as you account for those carbs in your treatment of your blood sugar (extra insulin or extra exercise etc). It is a myth that diabetics can't eat sugar. Diabetics can't reduce the sugars in their blood which are put there by any type of carbs not just from sugar. It's important for diabetics to control their blood sugar, not eliminate sugar from their diet. Going low carb works well for many type 2s it seems and so they would eliminate sugar as a source of carbs, but its not necessary for a diabetic to eat lots of artificial sweeteners. Personally I will use equal or splenda in my tea and there are artifical sweeteners in diet soda but there's nothing else I'd use it for. I don't eat any of those "diabetic" foods or candies because while they may use splenda or fake sugars they often have as many carbs as regular candy/food and also have more fat than regular candy/food so really they are kind of worse for a person. I made that mistake just after I was diagnosed before I was told to count carbs rather than sugar. I cut all sugar from my diet but I got some of those diabetic candies made with splenda figuring that it would be ok. Nope. A week later when I got my meter I figured out that they had an effect on my blood sugar as much as a piece of bread (20 g carbs).

 

If you want good reliable scientific information about aspertame etc go to pubmed.com and search the topic you are interested in it will give you the primary research being done rather than trusting editorial articles which are not always the most accurate sources of information. There was a bill recently passed that all research funded by the NIH will be available free to the public 1 year after publication. I think that will help get research out to the public better.

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Ela
I can't ever remember seeing a mouse drinking Fresca. Honestly, most of these "controlled" tests are done with concentrated variations of a product to see what happens. I have a theory that what causes cancer in lab mice is being locked up in a cage and being handled by unempathetic humans that are over 500 times larger than they are.

 

Lol, you got me there! :D

 

Of course I wasn't talking about Fresca being the cause of mice cancer but Aspartame that is a sweetener they use in Fresca. As for mice? You might be right - I have no idea, lol.

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Ela
I haven't reviewed all of the research on aspartame but some of those earlier studies showing how it causes cancer in rodents used excessive daily doses. As Bountyman points out even water can be toxic and be used to start a false frenzy of fear. So as long as you aren't guzzling galons of it a day you should be fine, everything in moderation right. However, there are some concerns about these other sweeteners and high fructose products etc, mostly the problem is that they are sweeter than sugar so the brain becomes accustomed to a sweeter sweet so when you eat food sweetened by sugar your brain expects that sweeter sweet experience and craves more so on average you tend to eat more of the sweet food that you would have otherwise. But really the key is everything in moderation. If your daughter is type 1 there is nothing at all wrong with sugar if she gives herself enough insulin before hand, if she is type 2 there is nothing wrong with sugar as long as she makes sure to account for the amount for the carbs in the sugar and balances it with her exercise/diet/meds etc. The carbs in sugar are no different than the carbs in bread. Of course eating a good diet is really the important goal and sugar isn't necessary and isn't really good for you so avoiding it is good for all people, but there's nothing wrong with a piece of cake on your birthday or something as long as you account for those carbs in your treatment of your blood sugar (extra insulin or extra exercise etc). It is a myth that diabetics can't eat sugar. Diabetics can't reduce the sugars in their blood which are put there by any type of carbs not just from sugar. It's important for diabetics to control their blood sugar, not eliminate sugar from their diet. Going low carb works well for many type 2s it seems and so they would eliminate sugar as a source of carbs, but its not necessary for a diabetic to eat lots of artificial sweeteners. Personally I will use equal or splenda in my tea and there are artifical sweeteners in diet soda but there's nothing else I'd use it for. I don't eat any of those "diabetic" foods or candies because while they may use splenda or fake sugars they often have as many carbs as regular candy/food and also have more fat than regular candy/food so really they are kind of worse for a person. I made that mistake just after I was diagnosed before I was told to count carbs rather than sugar. I cut all sugar from my diet but I got some of those diabetic candies made with splenda figuring that it would be ok. Nope. A week later when I got my meter I figured out that they had an effect on my blood sugar as much as a piece of bread (20 g carbs).

 

If you want good reliable scientific information about aspertame etc go to pubmed.com and search the topic you are interested in it will give you the primary research being done rather than trusting editorial articles which are not always the most accurate sources of information. There was a bill recently passed that all research funded by the NIH will be available free to the public 1 year after publication. I think that will help get research out to the public better.

 

I totally agree with everything you say except I don't worry about fat in candy. In fact my candies are very fatty! :T. I use Truvia to make them. Is it bad for me as well? I hope not and I tried to research when I stopped eating regular sweets and it seems that Stevia is the best choice. And you are so right about "sugar free" products! Some SF cookies have MORE carbs than their regular variation! :eek: I think it's outrageous and yet most people think that diabetics only have to skip sugar and they'll be fine!

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Maggiegong

I agree that mega doses of anything can produce an adverse effect. I have heard the term clinical to lethal ratio ( that is the amount of something needed to produce a measurable reaction as a percentage to the doseage that will kill you) and I suspect that many of the supplements we take here, not to mention our prescription medication that helps us get healthy, could be much more toxic than aspartame if we were to step outside the therapeutic window in which they work.

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patricia52

It did not take a doctor to figure out that aspartame was causing my problem I had gained some weight and was trying my mothers diet coke. Within two hours of drinking the diet soda, I was passing blood through my kidneys. After the third episode, my mother noticed the connection. Even the aspartame in a stick of gum causes me problems. As for Splenda, it just makes my fibromyalgia pain worse.

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don1942

Discovered in 1965, aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener that is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose. Aspartame is unique among low-calorie sweeteners in that it is completely broken down by the body into its components – the amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, and a small amount of methanol. These components are found in much greater amounts in common foods, such as meat, milk, fruits, and vegetables, and are used by the body in the same ways whether they come from aspartame or common foods.

 

Aspartame is one of the most thoroughly studied food ingredients ever, with more than 200 scientific studies supporting its safety. In addition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization, the Scientific Committee on Food of the European Union (SCF), and regulatory agencies in more than 100 countries have reviewed aspartame and found it to be safe for use.

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Peggy_TX
Discovered in 1965, aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener that is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose. Aspartame is unique among low-calorie sweeteners in that it is completely broken down by the body into its components – the amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, and a small amount of methanol. These components are found in much greater amounts in common foods, such as meat, milk, fruits, and vegetables, and are used by the body in the same ways whether they come from aspartame or common foods.

 

Aspartame is one of the most thoroughly studied food ingredients ever, with more than 200 scientific studies supporting its safety. In addition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization, the Scientific Committee on Food of the European Union (SCF), and regulatory agencies in more than 100 countries have reviewed aspartame and found it to be safe for use.

Peanuts are "safe" -- but not for everyone!!!

I have HORRIBLE side effects from Aspartame. I don't think it should be removed from shelves, but people DO need to listen to their bodies and stop eating things that cause problems for them. Sometimes that's nuts, sometimes it's shellfish, sometimes it's gluten and other times its Aspartame.

It's a worthwhile discussion, but one can't say how anything will effect "everyone"

(and, by the way, note that EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT that contains Aspartame is required to carry a warning label in the US. Unlike any other sweetener, such as acelfame-K, stevia, sucralose, etc)

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Bountyman
...(and, by the way, note that EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT that contains Aspartame is required to carry a warning label in the US. Unlike any other sweetener, such as acelfame-K, stevia, sucralose, etc)

 

Let's not get into a "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!" tactic in regards to aspartame, it scares the kids. Actually, the warning is about high levels of the naturally-occurring essential amino acid phenylalanine as a health hazard to those born with phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare inherited disease that prevents phenylalanine from being properly metabolized. Since individuals with PKU must consider aspartame as an additional source of phenylalanine, foods containing aspartame sold in the United States must state "Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine" on their product labels.

 

If you don't have PKU...the warning doesn't apply.

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Peggy_TX
Let's not get into a "Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!" tactic in regards to aspartame, it scares the kids. Actually, the warning is about high levels of the naturally-occurring essential amino acid phenylalanine as a health hazard to those born with phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare inherited disease that prevents phenylalanine from being properly metabolized. Since individuals with PKU must consider aspartame as an additional source of phenylalanine, foods containing aspartame sold in the United States must state "Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine" on their product labels.

 

If you don't have PKU...the warning doesn't apply.

But if you do, it does!! *pout*

OK... I'll try not to harsh the happy buzz.

 

I just hate the stuff -- but TOTALLY agree that most people would never have any problems with it, if consuming "normal" quantities.

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DeusXM

Bountyman, you're a legend!

 

If anyone is looking to cut down on aspartame though...I would question seriously how often it is essential to encounter artificial sweeteners. In my experience, the main places you'll find this stuff is in a)soft drinks and b)you might put a teaspoon of it in your coffee.

 

So the obvious point to make is, is it REALLY so much of a hassle to decide to cut out soft drinks and drink water? And as for coffee....well, I certainly wouldn't advocate removing coffee or tea from anyone, but the point is that the sweetener quantities used are actually pretty low. A teaspoon of actual sugar is probably slightly less than 5g of carbs. That isn't actually a massive amount and I'm pretty sure that you can train your palette to put up with less sweetener. I know I certainly have. I used to drink coffee with candarel in it when I was a student. But the cheap coffee place on campus only ever had regular sugar, and at home, I was too lazy to go and buy an actual jar of sweetener for my homemade coffee. So the end result was by default I'd either have to be more proactive, or not have any coffee at all, or have coffee without sweetener. So I went for the coffee without sweetener.

 

I'd say if anyone is concerned about the effects of particular sweeteners, you can either learn to put up with the potential effects, switch back to sugar and just factor that into your diabetes management, or you can be lazy and just learn to go without. And for me, laziness wins every single time.

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PinkRose

What everyone seems to be missing in this thread is that these artificial sweeteners are purely unnatural factory-made chemicals (with the exception of Stevia). Since when have any artificial food chemicals ever been a welcome addition in our diets? The secret to any healthy diet is to eat unprocessed, whole foods that is not contaminated with artificial additives. It's a simple rule of thumb but it really works.

 

I have always found the taste of artificial sweeteners to taste awful. When one orders 'diabetic friendly desserts' in restaurants, for some reason they overload the dish with so much of these artificial sweeteners, that it's often sickening to try to eat it all. It tastes like rubbish.

 

I am also a long-term T1 as well and I do not find it a problem whatsoever to incorporate a little of REAL raw unprocessed cane sugar in my tea & coffee. I also have no problems with handling dark chocolate that is high in fat and not overly sweet as well. I can handle small quantities of sugar - it doesn't raise BGs like we've been taught to believe in the past (sugar on it's own is not even a good hypo fix). Each to his or her own in terms of what they can handle. Let the meter guide you.

 

If your daughter has kidney complications, then Stevia and artificial sweeteners are certainly a no-go zone for her kidneys. Raw sugar is the superior option - in careful moderation and accurate insulin bolusing of course.

 

I still don't know how people can actually like consuming artificial sweeteners - it tastes like I'm swallowing washing detergent that has been mixed with some real sugar! The artificial chemical taste is so apparent.

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tabathadolley
What everyone seems to be missing in this thread is that these artificial sweeteners are purely unnatural factory-made chemicals (with the exception of Stevia). Since when have any artificial food chemicals ever been a welcome addition in our diets? The secret to any healthy diet is to eat unprocessed, whole foods that is not contaminated with artificial additives. It's a simple rule of thumb but it really works.

 

I have always found the taste of artificial sweeteners to taste awful. When one orders 'diabetic friendly desserts' in restaurants, for some reason they overload the dish with so much of these artificial sweeteners, that it's often sickening to try to eat it all. It tastes like rubbish.

 

I am also a long-term T1 as well and I do not find it a problem whatsoever to incorporate a little of REAL raw unprocessed cane sugar in my tea & coffee. I also have no problems with handling dark chocolate that is high in fat and not overly sweet as well. I can handle small quantities of sugar - it doesn't raise BGs like we've been taught to believe in the past (sugar on it's own is not even a good hypo fix). Each to his or her own in terms of what they can handle. Let the meter guide you.

 

If your daughter has kidney complications, then Stevia and artificial sweeteners are certainly a no-go zone for her kidneys. Raw sugar is the superior option - in careful moderation and accurate insulin bolusing of course.

 

I still don't know how people can actually like consuming artificial sweeteners - it tastes like I'm swallowing washing detergent that has been mixed with some real sugar! The artificial chemical taste is so apparent.

 

Not everyone can use sugar instead of artificial sweeteners. I try to limit my intake of splenda and equal (the only two that I don't dislike the taste), but replacing those with sugar would never be an option for me.

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