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Eating sweets, diabetes and diet soda

Created date

August 23rd, 2011

Q: My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer s disease two years ago. Lately, he s been eating a lot of sweets, which he never did before. Should I let him do this or try to control his diet?

A: With Alzheimer s disease, many people experience changes in personality, and this can also be reflected in their dietary choices. Some of these choices may simply make the Alzheimer s sufferer feel happier for a short time. Recent compelling research shows that positive emotional experiences for Alzheimer s patients decrease emotional distress and behavior problems. These positive emotions may be brought about by choosing favorite foods, sleeping or bathing on a different schedule, or engaging in activities that make use of special skills or talents the Alzheimer s patient used to have before the disease s onset. It is important to make sure that these behaviors are not harmful. For instance, if an Alzheimer s sufferer also has diabetes, you may need to limit dietary sugar. If you have questions about the potential harm of a particular choice, talk to your doctor.

Q: I have diabetes and drink two or three diet colas every day. Is this bad for my health?

A: Although a few studies have shown an association between high cola consumption and decreased bone mineral density or increased fractures in teenagers, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that drinking cola can harm you. Cola can, however, contain significant amounts of caffeine which may adversely affect you in certain instances. You may also be at risk for health problems if cola regularly replaces other nutritious beverages (like juice or milk) in your diet. Talk to your doctor about the possible effects of these beverages on your health.

Austin T. Welsh, Jr., M.D.

Medical Director Creek 

Overland Park, Kans.

Dr. Welsh received his bachelor s degree from Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and his medical degree from The Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He completed his residency in family medicine at St. John s Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis, Mo. Welsh is board certified in family practice and geriatric medicine and has a fellowship in geriatrics. He joined Tallgrass Creek in October 2007.