Q & A with Dr. Hull

Q - I was intrigued by your article on aspartame poisoning [writer did not indicate which article] until I read the bit, "In 1991, I was diagnosed with an 'incurable' case of Grave's disease, a fatal thyroid disorder. (a quote from the author)".

Perhaps to be more believable, you should have your facts straight... Graves Disease is a thyroid disorder; hyperactive thyroid disease requiring daily medication and monitoring by a doctor, but it is not a "fatal" disease. Because of this misstatement, I alas can't take your book or article seriously.

From: shaking her head with disbelief

A-You have misunderstood. I was relating what the doctor told me - my case of Grave's disease was "incurable" and "fatal" unless I had my thyroid removed. And while Grave's disease is controllable with the use of medication, as you stated, if left untreated, it can indeed be fatal.

This is from Women's Health:
Severe, untreated Graves' disease can be fatal. Thyrotoxic storm is a rare life-threatening condition that develops in cases of untreated hyperthyroidism. It is usually brought on by an acute stress, such as trauma, surgery or infection. Symptoms are severe, with a pounding heart, sweating, restlessness, shaking, diarrhea, change in consciousness, agitation and confusion. Congestive heart failure can develop rapidly and lead to death.

However, the point I am trying to make is that I didn't really have Grave's Disease - that was the doctor's diagnosis, and a misdiagnosis, at that. I did have all of the symptoms listed above, but in fact, I had aspartame poisoning.

Hope this sets the record straight.

I noticed you don't say much about xylitol. I have been reading about it, and it sounds like a better substitute for sucralose because it is natural. I was wondering what your opinion is? Thank you.

A-Thank you for your email. I'm always encouraged when people question food choices. I have numerous articles on the sugar alcohols and I have written about them in my Splenda book. Xylitol is a better choice than aspartame or Splenda, especially in gums, but this doesn't mean it is healthy for you. I do not recommend the isolated forms of the sugar alcohols as a solution to the chemical sweetener issue. In their natural sources of fruits and vegetables, sugar alcohols are safe, but when removed by manufacturers and placed into processed foods, they can cause diarrhea and toxic effects. So, if you chew gums, etc, you can certainly more safely use those with the sugar alcohols compared to the laboratory chemical sweeteners, but use them sparingly. Use caution, also, when giving too much gum and condiments to kids.

You might want to check out these links:
- Splenda Exposed
- Are The Sugar Alcohols Like Xylitol Safe?
- Healthy Newsletter, July 2003
- Is Splenda Found In Gum?
- Splenda Marketing Campaign Article

Have you heard of any bad effects on FOS [Fructooligosaccharides]? Particularly the FOS made from sugar?

A-As with sugar alcohols, FOS are natural sugars that are safe to use if in their natural forms. Simple sugars, like fructose and glucose, are quickly absorbed into the body by the intestines, but FOS, for the most part, is indigestible because it acts as a non-digestible fiber in the diet. Beware of manufacturers that adulterate them for manufacturing purposes, though. Many times, these natural sugars are exploited and/or morphed, veering from a natural state to an unhealthy one. As long as they are used in small amounts and consumed as much as you would eat them in their natural forms, such as the Jerusalem artichoke, then use them. But if you find yourself consuming them in manufactured products more frequently than you would eat them naturally, then back off and consume only what you feel is a normal, healthy natural amount. These are better sweeteners to give children and those sick or elderly, though.

Good dietary sources of FOS are the Jerusalem artichoke tuber, chicory root, leeks, onion, garlic, oats, barley, and rye. FOS is digested in the colon and large intestines, and some common side effects from eating FOS are bloating and gas.

Check the sources of these sweeteners when purchasing. Thanks for the good question. You are pursuing the right choices for sweetness. The best advice: don't sweeten anything. Train yourself to enjoy the sweetness of natural foods and beverages. And drink mostly water.

Posted May 2007 | Permanent Link

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