Q & A with Dr. Hull

To: Dr. Janet Starr Hull
Subject: Aspartame and diabetes

Q. I suffer with diabetes and as a result I used to drink an average of 6 to 8 liters of diet drinks a week. However, last year after reading the article on the 92 side effects of aspartame, I stopped and now drink regular soft drinks. But I wondered what you could recommend as an alternative due to being diabetic.

A: I suggest you drink water throughout the day. One or two cups of organic coffee or tea are fine, also. If you insist on having a cola, have one or two regular colas a week. It is more important to watch your processed fats, simple carbs and get regular exercise. Monitor more closely the simple carbs and processed fats than the complex sugars and natural, complex nutrients. I feel saccharin (the pink pack) is a safer sugar substitute opposed to the other colored sweetener packets, and natural Stevia is a great alternative.

To: Dr. Janet Starr Hull
Subject: Bilirubin and diabetes

Q: I was on Metformin and just stopped it because it was making my bilirubin levels rise above normal. I was concerned and am trying to maintain my blood levels for diabetes with diet again. What do you think?

A: If you're not insulin dependent, you can safely do a liver cleanse and get on a good supplement program. You can still cleanse if on insulin, but be more conservative so not to stress your blood sugar levels while detoxing fats and toxic chemicals. Avoid all food chemicals (if possible, as meds are toxic, too), and see if this lowers the liver enzymes.

To: Dr. Janet Starr Hull
Subject: Spiraling downward

Q: I ran across your Web site by accident but am glad I did. I have been a diabetic since I was 14 yrs old and was recently diagnosed ironically with Graves' Disease. The doctor wanted to kill my thyroid, but has me on a med called METHIMAZOLE to slow it down. I don't even know what this drug is really doing - it could be killing the thyroid slowly for all I know.

Anyway my diabetes has been at quite the downward spiral in the past few years. I've been dealing with uncontrollable blood glucose levels, chronic joint and muscle pain and fatigue, memory loss, lack of focus, IBS, vision and circulatory problems, skin problems, sexual dysfunction issues, frequent colds (even in the summer). The strange part is I had (just within the past 2 years) started using Splenda and sucralose in everything, and often in combination with aspartame, using Pepsi®, diet yogurt, diet popsicles.

I wonder if there is any way I can stop using these products and then reverse the effects of these chemicals after the quantity combined with the number of years I have been drinking diet sodas. The strange thing I have noticed particularly with aspartame, if you stop using it, it seems to have an addictive effect where you get some kind of strange withdrawal symptoms which draw you back into using it. I am really paranoid these chemicals have done my body damage and I need guidance on how to rid them for good and what to use to detox myself safely. Please help.

A: We've been contacted by a number of people who experience similar symptoms when using Splenda® with aspartame. Many diabetics have found they can't control their blood sugar levels when using Splenda®.

We suggest you treat getting off Splenda® and aspartame as you would any other addiction. It's more important to get off it. Take it easy on yourself and drink lots of water. Eat a healthy whole foods diet and remember to take regular supplements. If you find yourself craving diet colas, switch to something else. Green tea is great, and you can safely sweeten it with pure agave nectar (low glycemic effects), honey or stevia. Try no sweeteners at all, and use organic milk or half & half instead with coffee or tea.

After you have been off the chemical sweeteners, you should see a reduction in symptoms. It's a safe bet that you will also see a reduction in the Graves' Disease symptoms.

If you get a chance to read my books, Sweet Poison and Splenda: Is It Safe or Not?, please study them carefully. You'll find loads of information on both sweeteners, and some solutions on how to get on with your health and wellness.

Good luck to you. Let us know if we can be of further assistance.

To: Dr. Janet Starr Hull
Subject: Agave

Q: I just finished reading your Web site and thanks so much for the wake up call. I recently visited with a "diabetic nurse" and she recommended I use Splenda® and even co-signed the use because it was approved by the FDA. I told her of my concern with the use of chlorine in its production and she just kind of skipped over this thought. I presently use agave sweetener from a cactus plant. I'm told it is all natural and to this point appears to fill the void of sugar in my diet. Once again, thank you for this Web site and if you or your staff find that agave is not a good product for me to use please let me know.

A: I don't have a problem with pure agave. As I understand it, it has very low glycemic affects. However, I always recommend doing your own blood testing to see if it affects your blood sugar levels.

You were right to question the chlorine issues with Splenda®. Japanese researchers say consumers absorb approximately 40 percent of the chlorine while the FDA estimates 15 percent and the manufacturer says none is absorbed.

I've had a number of Splenda® users contact my offices complaining of gastrointestinal issues, gas, bloating and joint pain who, once they stop using Splenda®, see a reduction in symptoms. Think about this: chlorine produces a chlorine gas. I've also heard from many people with diabetes who find it difficult to control their blood sugar levels when they use Splenda®, aspartame, and various sugar alcohols.

Try using no sugars or sugar substitutes at all, and learn to enjoy the fresh taste (and sweet taste) of whole foods.

Good luck.

To: Dr. Janet Starr Hull
Subject: Inulin as a sweetener

Q: I read your Web page on sweeteners, as I am interested in finding alternatives for my family, particularly my Type 2 diabetic dad. During the course of my investigations I came across an alternative genre of sweetener incorporating inulin and oligofructose that is relatively new and I thought I'd get your take on it. It is apparently marketed by several companies (Orafti® for one) and is also touted by fitness guru Suzanne Sommers as Sommersweet® in her product line and books. What do you think of the stuff? PS. I'm also a geologist and use geographic Information System software (ESRI) a lot.

A: Aw - another geologist! I find they make the best nutritionists, as no one understands the relationship of minerals and life more then an earth scientist!! My undergraduate major at UT Austin was in Geography/Geology. I taught both subjects at UNT.

Yes, inulin is an excellent nutrient, and one that is safe to use for sweetness. My colleague, Kelly Goyen, owns Empirical Labs, and has created a sweetener made from inulin and the mung bean. I am so impressed with his creation, I promote the sweetener for him. Suzanne Sommer's SommerSweet is also a good product.

I write about the benefits of both inulin and the mung bean in my book, Splenda® Is It Safe Or Not? I also have a third book coming out later this year titled The Sweetener Wars, detailing the entire sweetener industry and the battle for your dollar. There are some good sugar alternatives out there; they are simply downplayed by the chemical food industry and mainstream advertisers.

To: Dr. Janet Starr Hull
Subject: advice for the sugar-free user

Q: My cousin was recently diagnosed with diabetes and now she uses almost all aspartame-sweetened foods. I just recently looked up phenylketonuria, only to be SHOCKED at what I found out about aspartame. How do you think I could approach my cousin about her aspartame intake without scaring her or making her think I'm crazy??

A: Good luck on this one. Many people get so scared of letting go of sweet foods, especially if diabetic. Another issue for your cousin may be Splenda®. Suggest she look into these dangers for herself. You can tell her all you want about it, but she is going to do as she sees fit. Just offer her the information; the links and the history of these products...don't forget to include Splenda® info.

THERE ARE sweet alternatives available that aren't made with methanol, chlorine, formaldehyde, etc. In the end, the choice is hers to make. If, however, she begins to feel crummy and develop health issues she didn't have before, maybe she'll make the connections.

Good luck to you. Your cousin is lucky to have someone who cares so much about her health.

Best In health,

Janet Hull

Posted April 2006 | Permanent Link

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