By H. J. Roberts, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.C.C.P.
E-Mail: HJrobertsmd@aol.com
(c)2004 by H. J. Roberts, M.D.

17 February 2004

The momentum for reducing the amount of soda pop consumed by children, especially from dispensing machines at schools, has increased. It is justified by the documented contribution of the sugar therein to serious disorders, especially obesity and other problems.

Imaginative entrepreneurs now seek to substitute an array of palatable "sugar free," "caffeine free," and "calorie free" drinks having appealing brand names. They plan to actively promote them to students and school systems, using celebrities such as professional athletes as pitchmen.

Unfortunately, there is a major public health problem when aspartame ­ commonly known as NutraSweet(r) and Equal(r) ­the sweetening agent. I have repeatedly stated my professional opinion, based on the scores of children in my data base of aspartame reactors, that they should not take aspartame products ­ including beverages, foods, vitamins, drugs, gum and supplements.

Each of the components of this chemical (phenylalanine; aspartic acid; the methyl ester, which promptly becomes FREE methyl alcohol) and their multiple breakdown products can damage the developing brain.

Aspartame-induced disorders in children include headache, confusion, convulsions, irritability, depression, intellectual deterioration, antisocial behavior, rashes, asthma and unstable diabetes. Addiction to aspartame products also has become a problem. The details appear in my publications, particularly Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic (http://www.sunsentpress.com).

There also are reservations about the long-term use of sucralose, another popular sweetening agent, in these substitute drinks because of the adverse effects noted in animal studies.

In view of this perceived imminent public health threat, I believe that parents, physicians, other health care professionals, school boards and consumer advocates have an obligation to monitor and guide their communities regarding such exposure. They can expect formidable corporate and bureaucratic resistance, particularly from the FDA and groups supported by this huge industry.

Note to Media: If you wish to interview Dr. Roberts and want his unlisted phone number please call me at 770-242-2599. Otherwise, he will answer you by email. Other information on aspartame is on http://www.dorway.com and http://www.wnho.net. The latter has his recent excellent article, Aspartame Disease: An FDA Ignored Epidemic.

Dr. Betty Martini, Founder, Mission Possible International