Sugar Substitute Reaction

My 5-year old son was diagnosed 4 months ago.  Aside from the first week after diagnosis, he has barely eaten a meal.  Always compaining of a stomach ache and episodes of diarrhea, I did all kinds of research finding out that it could be Celiac's disease.  So, we went on a gluten-free diet as an experiment before our next Endo visit.  While keeping a food diary, and a recent severe reaction, I found that the reactions were likely being caused by a sugar-free syrup.  I took him to the pediatrician for a sick visit and they referred us to a GI specialist and suggested that we take the sugar substitutes out of his diet and miraculously for the past 5 days, he has not had a stomach ache or diarrhea.  Has anyone else seen any reaction to sugar substitutes in their Type 1 child?

Yes, I have seen this.  When we made the switch to sugar free drinks my husband found his stomach had issues after drinking it.  We have found the target brand grape sugar free mix to be better.  I don't know why but it seems Crystal light was very irritating to his stomach.  I have made all juices in the house sugar free no one accidently gives my son the wrong juice.  My son has been fine, and not had any complaints.  Good luck!  

My 6 yo daughter complained constantly of a stomach ache. we took her in to see her pediatrician who decided that she had gastric (acid) reflux. she was spitting her food out alot and making alot of saliva other times. also she was complaining of her chest hurting. he doctor decided that it was excess stomach acid comming up. we have her on prevacid (very expensive) to help. it seems to help some(she's been on it for several months now). it doesn't help entirely. We still have to give her a kids tums alot. It is very common for type 1 and type 2 diabetics to have gastric issues. However. my brother has celiacs and I have often worried that she might too. Honestly, I am terrified to find out. I think we will try to limit her artificial sweetener intake some. That is really hard to do since the alternative is water, or water unless you want to give insulin all day for drinks. Which sweetener was it that bothered him? My daughter consumes a lot of artificial sweeteners each day through drinks and I worry about that. We try to use Splenda, but I'm not sure it's any better.



Straight from my "Beyond Basics" T1 class:

"Sugar Alcohols" are used in many lo-cal  and lo-fat products.  They are used as a sugar substitute to reduce the carb & calorie count of foods and drinks.

Greater than 10 grams per day may cause side effects, including bloating, gas & diarrhea (some individuals may be more sensitive).

Examples of "sugar alcohols" include xylitol, altotol, manitol, and erythritol.

Check your nutritional labels under "sugar alcohol", and be sure to caluclate the "grams per serving" compared to what is actually being consumed.  For example TWO sugar-free Oreo's contain 7 grams.  If you eat FOUR cookies, you're over the "10 grams" mark, and may have side-effects.

Lovely, eh?



Our daughter was diagnosed with celiac in June.     We were told..  Do not go on a gluten free diet until you are diagnosed, otherwise you may get a false negative and never know you have it or not.


Update:  We went to the GI Pediatric Specialist on Saturday and told him the whole story.  He agreed that from the diary that I was keeping of the food and drinks and the reactions, the reaction was indeed caused from the sugar substitutes.  We are having the Celiac test just to rule it out, but we have been sugar substitute free for 9 days now and my son is a new person.  He is running around like a normal 5 year old, eating everything on his plate (instead of two bites) and asking for more.  He has not had one stomach ache in 9 days and he had them after every meal, snack or drink previously. 

We had switched to the diet drinks, crystal light mixes, sugar free ice cream & popsicles, and other favorites to try to keep his 5 year old life normal, but control the numbers.  Well, it backfired.  Now, we will need to cut out more of the sweet things and just manage the numbers the old fashioned way, the right way, by diet.  I thought Splenda and the other sugar substitutes were safe. But, after research and going to the GI doctor, I found out that the sugar substitutes are "bad news" as our doctor stated.  They are not even recognized by our body as food, that is why they don't change the blood sugar numbers.  They just travel through the body and absorb fluid as they go, thus the diarrhea, stomach cramps, etc.  Some people can handle the sugar substitutes, no matter what the quantity, and some people can't.  So, beware if your little one is ingesting the "diet" drinks, or the "sugar-free" stuff, it might just irritate their little tummies and cause you a nightmare!  Hope this saves someone some time and effort. 

It took me 3 months to figure out.  (My son was diagnosed 4 months ago.) We had probably went to the pediatrician's office 5 or 6 times in 3 months and each time, we were told it was a virus and it needed to run it's course.  They said that kids with diabetes are more prone to catch viruses.  The funny thing, my son is not in pre-school or daycare, so I knew it was not right for him to be so sick for so long.  He even ended up in the ER for dehydration over this time period.   Well, I will stop now, I hope we have the answer and are on the right road.  Thanks for listening.

hi my daughter is 4 and was diagnosed nov 16 2008 we had problems with complaints of staomach aches before diagnosis she was late being diagnosed was dka at diagnosis however it all went away for awhile after dx then I started letting her have crystal light and other sugar subsitute drinks with aspartame. I just had her at docs and they ordered stool tests celiac tests came back negative however I found a drink she likes with no aspartame last week and we have been diarhhea free; no complaints of stomach aches and eating alot better too. It is hard to find drinks here without aspartame that are also sugar free.

It really isn’t fair.we can’t freely give our kids juice and milk like parents of non-diabetic kids can. When we try to give them something other than good ole carb free water, it hurts their little stomachs. Add that to the list of all the reasons it stinks to have diabetes!

I too have been thinking that we should go back to no Crystal Light - mostly because I just worry about eating 'non-food' foods.  My ony suggestion is that I think Crystal Light is WAY too sweet tasting when you mix it at the ratios directed. I almost always double the amount of water and sometimes even add more water - it still has some taste but is not so strong. Maybe it is because we never had Kool-Aid prior to dx, but my son does not seem to care when I serve it watered down. Not sure if this would help any of your kids that can't tolerate it - or something to consider if you are in a real bind and they flat out refuse 'good ole carb free' water.  :) Do you think it might work to make regular Kool-Aid and water it down to a low carb amount if they can't tolerate ANY artificial sweetner?  (Again maybe I'm just lucky that my kid is too little to tell/complain that I am watering it down and I have no idea how many carbs are in standard Kool-Aid).

I have started giving my daughter the 25 percent less sugar capri suns sometimes with A snack or meal. They have around 15 carbs. I don’t like to give heR a regular juice box for snacks or meals since they make her bs high. We drink those only for lows. I didn’t offer her the Capri suns before we got a pump since that would have meant way too many shots! Still she gets thirsty between meals, and I can’t seem to break the habit of carb free/sugar free even though insulin coverage is just a push of A button. I have also been encouraging more water.