Artificial Sweeteners and ADD, AD/HD - Cause and Effect?

The Handwriting's on the Wall

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is characterized by impulsive behavior, reduced attention, and in some cases, hyperactivity. AD/HD now affects three percent to five percent of school-age children. Until recent years, children outgrew AD/HD tendencies by adolescence. This was because hyperactivity diminished with maturity. Not any more. Nowadays many symptoms continue into adulthood. In fact, current research reflects rates of roughly two percent to four percent AD/HD cases among adults. One factor that hasn't lessened with age is the continuous use of diet sweeteners.

By 1994, the DSM changed the name from ADD (attention deficit disorder) to AD/HD because of the rapid advances in the disorder. There are now three identifiable types of this one condition called AD/HD. They are:

  1. Inattentiveness

  2. Hyperactivity/impulsiveness

  3. Inattentiveness with Hyperactivity/impulsiveness

Although individuals with AD/HD can be very successful in life, without identifying the toxic chemicals in the diet and recognizing proper nutritional treatment, this disorder may have serious consequences, including school failure, depression, and problems with relationships, behavioral disorders, substance abuse and early job failure.

A relatively common side effect of psycho-stimulant medications prescribed for AD/HD is a latent tic--the medical term for involuntary motor movements such as eye blinking, shrugging and clearing of the throat. Psycho-stimulant medications can aggravate a tic disorder in susceptible individuals. Often, but not always, the tic will not disappear when the medication is stopped. This proves there is another cause for the tic, and yes, tics and twitches are common side effects from methanol found in aspartame. In most cases, these tics eventually go away when artificial sweeteners are stopped.

Tourette's syndrome is a chronic tic disorder that involves vocal and motor tics. Experts estimate that seven percent of children with AD/HD have tics or Tourette's syndrome that are often mild, while sixty percent of children with Tourette's have AD/HD. Recent research suggests that the development of Tourette's syndrome in children with AD/HD is not related to the psycho-stimulant medication, making the correlation to artificial sweeteners a more realistic cause.

There is no simple test, like a blood test or a written test, to determine whether a child has AD/HD. This is true of many medical conditions, as there is no "test" for a simple headache, yet anyone who has had a headache knows it's real. Usually in these cases, the health "symptoms" are a reaction to a cause that cannot be "seen"--a chemical cause such as artificial sweeteners.

Just look around. The increases in AD/HD are perfectly timed with the introduction of the artificial sweetener NutraSweet in 1981. After over twenty years of use, and now with the current blending of artificial sweeteners, I predict the impact of this already existing problem will continue climbing to devastating levels.

I counsel many people with obvious health symptoms--headaches, sleeplessness, numbness in their arms and legs, vertigo, depression--but no medical tests previously done, such as MRIs, CAT scans, or blood or urine tests, show any physical reason for their symptoms. Most traditional medical doctors are puzzled at this, but simply blame their symptoms on stress, prescribe them medication and send them home to deal with it. If they only knew to look at their patients' diets and the amount of artificial sweeteners they use as the probable cause. This is the same frustration a child feels when diagnosed with, and treated for, AD/HD that is merely a response to artificial sweeteners.

According to a June 1997 American Medical Association (AMA) study, "AD/HD is one of the best researched disorders in medicine, and the overall data on its validity are far more compelling than that for most mental disorders and even for many medical conditions."

One of the best researched disorders, yet the cause remains illusive to traditional medicine? It's time to recognize that artificial chemical sweeteners are a root cause for AD/HD. We need to offer these kids the proper help they need! No more drugs, no more ostracizing, NO MORE ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS!

Not only is the handwriting on the wall, it's scrawled all over our children--"chemicals are hurting us!"

Up to sixty-seven percent of children will continue to experience symptoms of AD/HD into adulthood. However, with early identification and treatment through dietary changes, children and adults can be successful and show improved overall functioning compared to those who do not receive treatment. In adulthood, roughly one-third of individuals with AD/HD lead fairly normal lives while half still have symptoms that may interfere with their family relationships or job performance. Severe problems persist in about ten percent of adults who make little to no lifestyle and dietary changes.

Does your child use diet sweeteners? Has your child been diagnosed with one of these types of AD/HD?

In this ever-continuing web of confusion over what chemicals are causing which health reactions, it is best to return to natural sweeteners and whole foods, especially during pregnancy and during childhood development. Better safe than sorry when it comes to our children.

We are finally opening our weary eyes to the truth at last. With the increase in chemical sweeteners, the blending of artificial sweeteners, and the consumption of sugar-free products by younger and younger age groups, these mental health stats will only continue to climb. It's time artificial sweeteners are recognized as a major cause of increasing mental and physical disturbances among growing children, and it is time professional therapists recommend their patients stop the use of all diet products.

Posted February 2007 | Permanent Link

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