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I think you already know my answer to this question - which is NO! Every case of diabetes is different. Diabetes may be a common disease these days, but it is still misunderstood. Most people think diabetes is simply a disease that means you just can't eat sugar. The artificial sugar industry markets fake sugars as totally harmless to the diabetic, and tempts them into believing they can eat and drink all they want by "tricking" their bodies. But what works for one person may not work for another. What makes this matter even more difficult to understand: diabetes is just a little bit different for every diabetic. This is why no one artificial sweetener company (nor medical doctor) should make a blanket statement that sweetener products are "safe for diabetics."
The sweetener companies defend product safety for the diabetic based on mounds of research - corporate funded research studies, mind you, that have negative test results, too. You just don't hear about the harmful ones because who wants to publicize negative outcomes?
So, the primary question to ask: As delicate as diabetes is, how, then, can diet chemical sweeteners be safe when a person with diabetes requires such precise chemical management? Read on...
If you have diabetes, to determine your correct amount and type of medication and/or insulin you need, your doctor must individualize your case of diabetes. Whether Type I or II, every diabetic is different. Treating diabetes is not like setting a broken leg where the procedure to cast the bone is the same for everyone - every case of diabetes should be treated uniquely. There is no standard unit of insulin for every Type I diabetic, no standard dose of medication for every Type II diabetic, and some diabetes can be controlled with diet alone. Even for those on insulin, there is not just one type of insulin nor just one regimen for taking it. Many insulin-dependent diabetics take more than one kind of insulin during a single day. In the same way they require and respond to medication and insulin differently, diabetics respond to foods differently. And diabetics react to chemical sweeteners differently!
Diabetes is a disease that interferes with the way the body uses food. For those of us who do not have diabetes, we take for granted that our bodies properly digest carbohydrates (sugars and starches) and easily changes them into glucose (blood sugar), one of the body's major sources of energy. After twenty years of aspartame use, it seems apparent that artificial sweeteners are not the answer for diabetics with a sweet tooth. Why, you ask?
Basically, diabetics need tools for self-help; the proper tools, that is! Today, "sugar-free" marketers attempt to convince diabetics that life cannot go on without artificial sweeteners. But diabetes survived long before the sugar-free frenzy, and the number of diabetics merely twenty years ago was much fewer than today. So, take control of your diabetes and get control of your life by making a few lifestyle changes such as eating healthier foods (minus the sugar free), drinking plenty of pure water, and maintaining regular exercise. These changes may make living with diabetes much easier and put YOU back in control of your life rather than diabetes controlling you.
Don't lose heart. Having diabetes doesn't mean that you have to give up the things that are important to you such as enjoying a good meal, working, sport activities, or having children. With planning, even travel can be easy and relatively carefree. Those with diabetes do have to be more conscientious about eating and taking medication at regularly scheduled times, and many times may need to educate their friends and family on the nature of diabetes and the treatments necessary to maintain a stable blood sugar level.
But, be careful of the "sugar-free" lifestyle. Stop adding more chemicals to your diet and get back to the basics of living life, even if you have diabetes.
Posted November 2004 | Permanent Link
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