Q & A with Dr. Hull

Artificial Sweeteners and Skin Rashes
Q- I have recently learned the skin issues that I have had (breaking out into hives on my face and forehead) were attributed to aspartame. It took a while to track down which ingredient was causing it, but I finally found out when I chewed sugar-free gum and then broke out. The only ingredient was the common denominator, aspartame. I had been on a low-carb diet so I drank, ate and chewed everything sugar-free and diet with aspartame. I've had skin issues all my life, but nothing like this. It seemed to come on months later after ingesting so much diet and sugar-free. I did want to ask if Splenda (sucralose) might also cause skin reactions because I did also use that during my diet. The aspartame I know now, for sure, does cause severe hives for me when I eat or drink it. Thank you for your time.

A- So glad that you found the culprit. Yes, the chlorine used in Splenda is proven to affect the skin as red rashes, dry skin, bleeding and cracked skin, blotches, and burn-like patches. The toxins in aspartame can create dry skin, red, irritated skin, and break-outs.

Remember, the skin is the largest organ in the body, and its purpose is to allow toxins out via the capillaries under the skin. Chemicals deposit with the fat layers under the skin, much like the fat underlying the skin of a chicken can be toxic. So, if the pores are not open enough and the blood is not thin enough to excrete the toxins (niacin helps with this), toxins can collect under the skin, and hence, skin rashes, etc.

Both aspartame and sucralose are made with toxins known to irritate the skin and store in body fat.

PKU or Allergy?
Q- Please help me. When I was 8 yrs old I drank diet cola for the first time and had difficulty breathing. I was taken to the ER. They told my mom it was an allergic reaction to Nutrasweet, and that I may grow out of it. Needless to say, I have avoided Nutrasweet, Equal, Sweet 'n Low and aspartame since that very scary incident.

A few years ago I began having the following symptoms: shaking, restless leg syndrome, fainting from low blood-sugar (I am not diabetic), slurred speech, difficulty with my thought processes, numbness around my mouth and down my arms. I went to my family MD, I had an EEG, head CT and MRI- all were within normal levels.

I then kept a diary of what I ate. I found that when I was eating Healthy Choice® ice cream these symptoms occurred within 10-20 minutes. The ice cream contained phenylalanine. So now I avoid that as well. Within the last year I had juice with Splenda in it and Wrigley's gum with phenylalanine in it, and within 10 minutes my speech began to slur and I could not think clearly. I felt like my head was empty. My husband was with me both times and said it took me 30-40 minutes to come "back to earth."

From reading/researching, I do not have PKU (my mom said they never tested me at birth). Could I possibly carry the gene? Any info you can share with me would be great. I am so scared because they are making everything with Splenda in it. I can't even enjoy eating out because I never know if something may contain the above mentioned. Thank you for your time.

A- Well, I hate to say this, but welcome to the "there is nothing in America I can eat" club!! So many people have stopped eating out because the food quality is so bad and loaded with nasty chemicals - lots of chemicals combined in one "tasty" bite!

I only eat at ethnic food restaurants or high-end restaurants with quality products, and typically graze throughout the day on fresh foods and protein drinks. This costs more money, but eating out once was considered a treat, and nowadays, that's how I personally look at it.

I have a friend coming out with a documentary next year called "Ingredients, Inc" that sends the message about this very thing. It is impossible to conveniently find healthy foods in America and so hard to feed children these days; the schools are the worst places where children have access to low-quality chemical foods.

It appears to me that you are not PKU, BUT no research has been done on the PKU gene or PKU recessive trait reactions to aspartame. I suspect you carry a recessive gene. I believe that I, myself, am PKU recessive because aspartame made me deathly ill in less than one year. If I accidentally am exposed to aspartame or manufactured phenylalanine, I have a petite mal seizure and temporary blindness.

Have you read my book on aspartame, Sweet Poison? I think this will help you with all of your concerns, and you will feel as if you are reading about yourself. You can check your local library for a copy, or I have autographed copies available for $15.95. Sweet Poison

Safe Gum
Q- I chew gum and it helped me quit smoking. I can only find one gum that does not have aspartame; however, it does have acesulfame-K. Can you tell me a better choice of gum to chew?

A- If you are looking for a gum without sugar, try a gum with only Xylitol in it, like the Spry® brand. I've included a link where you can buy it in quantity; otherwise, look for it at a local health food store. Buy Xylitol.

Gums with sugar, like the original Dentyne, usually only have about 1 g of sugar, so you might consider a "sugared" gum as an alternative to the toxic chemicals. That's what I use personally, but I try not to chew gum often. By the way, Dentyne Classic has become hard to find, so we are providing this link Old Time Candy

Crystal Lite® and Headaches
Q- Great job on the website very helpful. I noticed last week that I had a constant headache not real bad - just there. I was home from work for the week on vacation and was drinking a lot of Crystal Lite, then this morning, having nothing in my system, I had 2 glasses of the stuff, and I got a headache within 20 minutes. My fiance is tired a lot. She is very healthy and recently got her blood drawn and all her levels are GREAT!!! She is 41 years old and also eats very healthy - not a lot of fatty foods, lots of veggies and she wonders why she's always tired. So as a result, I find myself on your web site looking for a little input. Have you seen this in anybody else using aspartame? Any info is greatly appreciated.

A- Unfortunately, your headaches and your fiance's being tired all the time are common side effects of aspartame usage. Go to the following link, pay attention to the third paragraph chronic fatigue syndrome, and then if you need more info just type in "chronic fatigue" in the search box in the upper left hand corner.

My suggestion is for you and your fiance to stop all diet sweetener use for just 10 days - I think you will find that is the culprit. Please know that these sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, etc) are in many products that are not labeled "sugar-free" or "diet", so make sure to read product labels carefully.

Posted March 2007 | Permanent Link

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