Articles By Linda A. Frisch

Sugar Sham by Linda A. Frisch

When’s the last time you looked up the definition of sham? How about artificial or brainwashed? Everyday is spent educating patients about the devastating health hazards of using artificial sweeteners. Not only are they “using,” many are addicted and their health is in serious decline.

Daily we see dizziness, headaches/migraines, abdominal complaints, seizures, ADD/ADHD, sleep problems, foggy thinking, memory loss, muscle tremors, edema, skin rashes, blood in the stool, insulin resistance, rising blood pressure, weight gain, respiratory issues, joint pain, numbness and tingling, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. What is more startling and of greater concern, younger and younger patients are developing auto-immune disorders, Type II diabetes, heart disease and cancer in epidemic numbers. Could it be plausible that toxic chemicals being ingested day in, day out are causing the health crisis of man, woman and child? We believe the answer to be unequivocally yes!

The question begging to be asked: What’s it going to take before mainstream America realizes they are being deceived by the food industry? Not only has the general public been brainwashed about the safety of artificial sweeteners, too many health care professionals have bought into the sham as well.

Why are we willingly accepting these fabrications as truth? Sugar Blues, by William Dufty came on the scene in 1975 warning the public that sugar was the culprit behind much of our health woes and weight gain. He exposed the history of sugars use in our food industry and its relationship to declining health. Dufty’s fanaticism about sugar contributed to societies panic and desperate search for an alternative. At that time, saccharin was the only artificial sweetener available for human consumption. Today we must ask ourselves, is sugar (sucrose) truly the evil one? Let’s take a closer look at the top three artificial alternatives and high fructose corn syrup.

Coming on the scene in 1879, saccharin was discovered while researching toluene derivatives. It is a white, crystalline coal tar compound that is about 500 times sweeter than cane sugar. Commercialized not long after its discovery, by 1912 it was banned as a result of possible health risks. In 1914 the sugar shortages of World War I created a demand for artificial sweeteners. Abandoning previous health concerns for economic growth, the ban was lifted. World War II had a similar effect and by 1945 saccharin made its claim to artificial fame. By the 1960’s it was the sweetener of choice by the diet soft drink industry. In 1971, saccharin was quietly removed from the GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) list by the FDA. And yet, saccharin is still used by the food industry and public today. We know saccharin by its pink packet, Sweet’N Low.

Discovered in 1965 and approved by the FDA in 1974, aspartame (better known as Nutrasweet®, Equal®, Sugar Twin® or the blue packet) took the world by storm. Today there are more than 6000 products containing aspartame. This artificial sweetener is 200 times sweeter than sucrose and the most controversial to date. It is responsible for 80% of the complaints to the FDA regarding food additives according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, author of Sweet Deception.

It is scientifically known as 1-aspartyl 1-phenylalanine methyl ester. When one studies and understands the breakdown of aspartame, it will bust the truth wide open about its toxic effects in the human body. According to Mercola’s research, aspartame is completely metabolized. There are greater than 816 published studies on aspartame indexed in the National Library of Medicine. While the manufactures of aspartame hold to their position that aspartame is safe, we believe otherwise. When words like wood alcohol/paint remover and formaldehyde turn up in a discussion regarding the breakdown of aspartame, it doesn’t take much to realize these are poisonous toxins and should never be ingested. Yet, many continue gulping and gobbling down beverages and man-made foods sweetened with aspartame believing they are making the safer choice. Brainwashed once again!

With increasing controversy over the safety of aspartame, Splenda® (the yellow packet) comes to the rescue. Really!?! After being denied approval for eleven years, the FDA suddenly approved sucralose in April 1998. Like the two previous artificial sweeteners, the latest sweet savior, sucralose, was also discovered by accident. This time chemists were trying to create a new insecticide. After experimenting with hundreds of chlorinated sugars, three chlorine ions were exchanged for three hydroxyl groups on a sugar molecule creating “1,6-dichloro-1,6-dideoxy-beta-D-fructofuranosyl-4-chloro-4- deoxy-alpha-D-galactopyranoside” to be renamed sucralose crafting a name that sounds natural…like sucrose (commonly known as sugar). Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sucrose. Quoted from Sweet Deception, “McNeil Nutritionals has gone to great lengths to suggest that Splenda is natural and safe by using the slogan, ‘Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.’ But after the sugar has been treated with trityl chloride, acetic anhydride, hydrogen chlorine, thionyl chloride, and methanol, in the presence of dimethylformamide, 4-methylmorpholine, toluene, methyl isobutyl ketone, acetic acid, benzyltriethlyammonium chloride, and sodium methoxide, it is anything but a sugar molecule. Nowhere in nature is there any form of sugar that remotely resembles the resulting chlorinated hydrocarbon known as sucralose. This product is not natural, nor is it a real sugar. It isn’t even close.” The ultimate brainwashing is currently taking society by droves. It’s simply a matter of time before sucralose catches up with aspartame’s devastating outcome. Will you be the next victim to suffer the wrath of artificial sweetener symptoms?

Not being considered as toxic to the human body as the previous three artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was developed in the 1960’s. With the US subsidizing corn growers, farmers were producing more corn than they could sell. Scientists discovered that treating corn syrup (being manufactured from the excess of corn) with an enzyme called glucose isomerase, which converts some of the glucose in corn to fructose, makes the corn syrup sweeter. Unfortunately this technique was cost prohibitive for over a decade.

By 1971, two Japanese scientists found a way to reuse the critical enzymes allowing refiners to convert corn to a blend of glucose and fructose at a much lower cost. Bingo! The corn refining industry was off and running. It didn’t take long before the food industry was replacing sucrose with HFCS and saving a ton of money to boot. Besides being a cheaper alternative to sweetening foods and beverages, it dissolves quicker than sucrose, it doesn’t spoil easily (prolonging the shelf-life of these man-made products), and it makes foods softer and chewier. Great for the food manufacturers, but terrible for mankind! Criticism of HFCS and its relationship to the obesity epidemic runs the gamut. Recently the corn growers and manufacturers of HFCS have ramped up their ad campaign debunking the bad rap they are receiving about HFCS being tied to obesity. Some experts who blast HFCS recommend saccharin, aspartame and sucralose in its place as a safe alternative. This is nothing short of ignorance.

As if all the previous data isn’t convincing enough, consider this truth: more and more of our food manufacturers are combining artificial sweeteners and HFCS to save a buck or create a more palatable product. We haven’t even scratched the surface of what will come from this irresponsibility on the part of those we put our trust in.

Once again, the question we must ask ourselves: Why are we surrendering our long-term health to this sham? Could it be that we are out of control sugar-a-holics and we’ll overlook the truth to satisfy our addiction? Take a look around. If the obesity epidemic hasn’t gotten your attention, surely the demise of your health or someone you love has you wondering.

Are there healthier options? Absolutely! Stevia, is a South American herb, officially known as rebaudina Bertoni, estimated to be 200 to 300 times sweeter than sucrose. Stevia has finally been given the thumbs up by our FDA in December 2008. To date, most every toxicity test imaginable has been performed on stevioside with no negative abnormalities. European markets have safely used Stevia for decades with no known adverse side effects. It has finally received the stamp of safety approval by pharmacologists and toxicologists alike in the United States. We will begin seeing foods and beverages flood the market touting this new “safe” sweetener under names such as Truvia and PureVia. We recommend you choose Sweetleaf Stevia only as it is the purest stevia.

We continue recommending honey, molasses, and pure maple syrup as safe sweeteners. As for our old familiar friend, sucrose, maybe it’s not the villain after all. The definition of sucrose is and has always been: a pure crystalline disaccharide extracted from sugar cane or sugar beets consisting of glucose and fructose joined together in the molecule. We wouldn’t recommend eating it at every meal, because we do believe sugar overall weakens the immune system, but a little won’t hurt every now and then.

Fruit: that wonderful food found in nature would always be an excellent choice to satisfy the sweet tooth. Let’s not forget dark chocolate. 70% cocoa or higher is another great satisfier.

For most of us, the celebrations of life include sharing a meal and dessert with those we love and enjoy being with. Life without treats? We certainly hope not!

Life is about choices, you make the call!

Evaluating Sweeteners by Linda A. Frisch

There is much controversy today surrounding sweeteners. Of all the subjects we would like to shed some light on, we believe SUGAR SUBSTITUTES are a topic of significant importance.

What are artificial sweeteners, and why are they harmful? Artificial sweeteners are a laboratory mixture of unnatural chemicals that the body can’t process. THESE CHEMICALS EITHER; ACCUMULATE IN YOUR VITAL ORGANS, POLLUTE YOUR BLOOD STREAM, OR CREATE EVENTUAL MUTATIONS OF YOUR CELLS. Our bodies are like machines, only natural, that operate today just as they did thousands of years ago. They don’t understand man-made chemicals and cannot fully process them. Forcing foreign materials in to your body is like pouring shampoo in your car’s gas tank: it wasn’t meant to process it, so the engine stalls, and stops working.

Over the past 25 years, a plethora of information has crossed our path concerning sweeteners. Much of the information regarding sugar substitutes is misleading. Sugar substitutes have been surrounded by controversy over the years, starting with saccharin. Despite the misleading tests over 20 years ago, saccharin (the pink packet) remains the “safest” of all artificial sweeteners though we still believe there is risk.

Aspartame (NutraSweet/Equal – the blue packet) was the most widely consumed artificial sweetener in America. In “The Lark Letter”, April 2004, Dr. Lark states “I suggest that everyone avoid aspartame, especially those with chronic headaches, PMS, depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, environmental sensitivities, and seizures. Additionally, I strongly recommend that children avoid any intake of this artificial sweetener.” Over the past ten years, there has been a 400% increase in ADD, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Syndrome. It is our opinion this phenomena may be related to the use of artificial sweeteners prior to, in both male and female, and during pregnancy for the female. In today’s fast-paced society, prepackaged, man-made foods are often the first foods introduced into children’s daily diet. Needless to say, children are being over saturated with foods their bodies cannot process, leading to chemical poisoning.

Splenda – (sucralose- the yellow packet) is now found in nearly 4000 food products, and amazingly not all these products list Splenda as an ingredient. What is it? Sugar (sucrose) chemically combined with chlorine. Three chlorine atoms replace three hydrogen-oxygen groups on the sugar molecule. Its “made from sugar” slogan is technically true, but misleading. The manufacturer of this chlorinated compound named it sucralose. The improper use of “ose” in the name creates the illusion that sucralose is natural like sucrose which is the precise name for table sugar. According to an article written by Dr. Marcelle Pick, she states that there are responsible experts who say that Splenda is unsafe, and has more in common with DDT than with food.

People don’t want to hear that sucralose may be just as dangerous as aspartame, and that this “white knight” of sweeteners is no improvement. “They simply exchanged the harmful methanol in aspartame for chlorine in sucralose,” states methanol researcher Dr. Woodrow Monte. “People must realize that these chemicals are toxic, and none of them belong in the human diet.” New chemical sweeteners and the blending of sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame K combined in one product) may be causing users to show signs of weight gain, disruption of sleep patterns, sexual dysfunction, increases in cancer, MS, lupus, diabetes and a list of epidemic degenerative diseases.

We have addressed the major players in the arena of sugar substitutes; however, below is a complete list of artificial sweeteners that should be avoided when reading product labels.

  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Aspartame (NutraSweet/Equal)
  • Saccharin (Sweet-n-Low)
  • Acesulfame-K (Sunett®)
  • Neotame®
  • Alitame®
  • Cylamate ®

Below is a list of sweeteners which are natural and safe for consumption. Certainly with the rise of obesity, one would benefit from using sugar in any form in moderation.

  • Stevia Plus
  • Date sugar
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Barley Malt
  • Date Sugar
  • Honey
  • Pure Maple Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Sorghum

I hope I have been successful in shedding some light on a subject that remains controversial. It is my recommendation to all who seek my professional counsel to avoid artificial sweeteners. Be diligent in reading labels to guarantee avoidance. Just because the package says “sugar free” does not mean is it not sweetened in some artificial form.

Revved Up? by Linda A. Frisch

“It came out of nowhere! A group of friends were hovering over me asking if I was alright. I wasn’t sure why they were asking this question but what I did know: I had checked out….entering a darkness I could not control.” After repeated episodes and several trips to the emergency room with no definitive answers, Erin scheduled an appointment.

Erin had been a patient since she was a toddler. Though we hadn’t seen her in a couple years, she was a vibrantly healthy young lady the last time she was seen in our office. Scared and sitting on our examining table, she and her grandmother were describing symptoms that resembled a seizure disorder. After taking a thorough history and asking questions from every angle, we uncovered Erin’s addiction to many popular energy drinks we find teens gulping down daily. She said they helped give her energy to keep up with all her activities, homework and part-time job. As the demands and stress increased in her life, so did her consumption of energy drinks to cope. Little did she know they were taking a drastic toll on her health, potentially leading to early death.

Between the excessive amounts of caffeine, sugar or artificial sweeteners, taurine, guarana (which contains synephrine – a popular alternative to ephedrine which was banned by the FDA in 2004,) and other herbal stimulants, not only our youth but many adults are relying on this type of pick-me-up to stay on top of their fast-paced lives.

Quoting Roland Griffiths, PhD, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore: “Drinks with the highest caffeine content should warn of potential health dangers. Many of these drinks contain as much caffeine as found in 14 cans of soda.”

Symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, tremors, dizziness, numbness, fibrocystic breast cysts, rapid heartbeat, nervousness, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, and sudden death syndrome have all been directly linked to consuming energy drinks.

Though more and more reports surface warning of the dangers of consuming energy drinks, they don’t explain what is actually causing all the negative symptoms.

Caffeine is absorbed rapidly and enters all organs and tissues of the body between a few minutes and up to an hour of ingestion, depending on speed of individual metabolism. It has a metabolic half-life of about three hours and is excreted as a methylxanthine derivative (in both urine and to a lesser extent, feces.) Methylxanthine is a diuretic agent. Caffeine is a cardiac muscle stimulant, smooth muscle relaxant, and a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. One mechanism behind the latter is an increase in the excitability of neurons in the CNS. Caffeine stimulates gastric acid secretions, increases plasma (blood) glucose and free fatty acid concentrations.

The effects of caffeine for each individual are as varied as thumb prints to humanity. It is difficult to say what is considered safe. As with all debates on health care, there is data supporting positive effects of caffeine intake. If we are to weigh the pros against the cons, the cons far out weigh the pros.

What is becoming a larger concern for young adults is the increased consumption of mixing energy drinks with alcohol. Due to the diuretic and dehydration effects, the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol becomes more dangerous. With energy drinks being a stimulant and alcohol being a depressant, impaired judgment is heightened.

To date France, Norway, Denmark, and six German states have all banned the sale of energy and similar drinks.

My mission is to inform. All too often we consumers trust those who manufacture our beverages and foods to be safe for our health. Unfortunately, this is not the case. More often than not, it is greed that drives our manufacturing industry….not humanity’s safety.

If we as a society are to turn the tide on healthcare, we must make wiser choices about what we deem healthy and nutritious.

With fatigue being one of the chief complaints spoken in every doctor’s office, obviously pounding down energy drinks is not the solution.

Life is about choices: you make the call!


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