Posted: 30 September 2005
This article originally appeared at: http://www.thehindu.com/2005/07/21/stories/2005072102850200.htm
NEW DELHI: The Delhi Diabetes Research Centre has warned people, including children and diabetic patients, against use of artificial sweeteners in their daily life as they contain harmful chemicals. A study has revealed various side effects that have led to complications especially among children.
Raising questions over the safety of such artificial sweeteners, the DDRC has cautioned those suffering from various diseases against use of such artificial sweeteners. According to the DDRC chairman, Ashok Jhingan, a large number of health-conscious people and diabetic patients use such sweeteners in diet drinks, diet chocolates, diet readymade coffee, chewing gums, desserts or diet cakes. It was during a check-up of that the adverse side effects of the artificial sweeteners came to light. Many patients complained of different symptoms and it was then that DDRC decided to conduct a detailed research study of diabetics.
"Interestingly, parents of Type I and Type II diabetic children complained of changes in the behaviour of their wards who were consuming a lot of diet drinks, chocolates and other items. It was observed that many of the children turned aggressive, complained of lack of sleep and were found to be short tempered," Dr. Jhingan said. "One couple complained of pain in the abdomen, vomiting, and nausea after consuming diet preparations. When they stopped consuming these items prepared with artificial sweeteners, the symptoms disappeared."
"A large number of Type II patients complained of headache, giddiness, body and joint pains or failing memory after consuming such items and these symptoms disappeared after they stopped taking these sweeteners," Dr. Jhingan said, adding that a comprehensive study was done in ten Type I diabetic children and 28 cases of Type II patients. "The above symptoms were observed in all the test cases confirming the worst fears about the impact of artificial sweeteners on various categories of people."
Stating that people at large and diabetic patients should avoid use of such sweeteners, Dr. Jhingan said these artificial sweeteners contain aspartame that consists of aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol. All these chemicals are harmful to the body and attack vital organs that could lead to serious complications after prolonged use. He also suggested that people suffering from hypertension, high blood pressure, Parkinson disease, emotional and mental disorders and pregnant women should avoid use of such items. "It is always better to use natural sweeteners and products made out of it."