Mother-in-law paranoid about aspartame dumps our Diet Mountain Dew

As mothers-in-law sometimes do, mine annoyed me this past weekend. We had asked her to watch Lexie on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, my mother-in-law (MIL) was supposed to pick Lexie up after school and watch her until Jase and I returned from his orchestra field trip to the local amusement park. Lexie ended up not feeling well in the morning and luckily MIL was able to watch her all day.  During the day, she noted we had Diet Mountain Dew in the fridge. When my husband returned home from work, he received an ear full about the dangers of aspartame.

Now I know that lots of parents don’t let their kids have food with aspartame. But I had not done any research into these health claims about it causing everything from Alzheimer disease and headaches to diabetes and ADD. But as with many things – coffee, wine, chocolate – there are claims these items are either good or bad for your health. Often, you can find studies to support you either way.

A little over 10 years ago, my husband’s triglycerides were off the charts. Cutting sugary drinks and food was recommended. At that time, his favorite drink was Dr. Pepper, and he drank WAY TOO MANY of them (about 8 a day). So, we switched him to diet Dr. Pepper and his triglycerides fell back to an acceptable range.

So when he switched to drinking Mountain Dew, we went with the diet version, and he has been drinking this for many years. Lexie also likes Mountain Dew, and I figure she asked for one, alerting MIL to the fact that it is diet, which lead to her lecture to my husband.

MIL returned Saturday morning as we had asked her to watch Lexie while the rest of us went to see Solo: A Star Wars Story (which is a good movie). And this is when she did something that annoyed both my husband and me. She got rid of all the diet Mountain Dew in the fridge and pantry. I had just bought 3 12-packs on Thursday. She replaced them with the regular, non-diet version.

But it goes beyond replacing the drinks. She didn’t tell us. In fact, she told Lexie not to say anything about it. And she filled Lexie’s head with a whole bunch of unproven things about aspartame so that Lexie now thinks it will kill you.

Now, I am an adult in my forties and so is my husband. We are both college educated and reasonably smart. We are perfectly capable of doing our own research and making our own decisions. I have no problem with her voicing her concern. I would have had no problem if she bought us some regular Mountain Dew and asked us to get rid of the diet drinks. I also would have been fine with her sending me (or my husband) links to the studies that support her belief. But she didn’t do that. She came into our house and removed our property, told my daughter to lie about it, and filled her head with things that are NOT true.

I have not found any conclusive studies that show aspartame causes anything that the rumors on the internet claim. Aspartame has been used in food products since 1981. It is one of the most reigorously tested food ingredients and has been deemed safe by over 100 regulatory agencies including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization, American Heart Association, the American Dietetic Association, the UK Food Standards Agency, Health Canada, and the European Food Safety Authority.

Needless to say, my husband and I are both livid with her. I had all sorts of thought of never allowing her to babysit (or pet sit) again. Luckily for us the kids are getting older and the need for a babysitter has gong down. It is only Lexie who needs someone if we are going to be gone for an extended time or during a meal. Lexie already stays by herself for short periods such as when Jase goes to karate or to his violin tutor.

I’ve left it for my husband to address MIL’s actions with her. But it does make me wonder if I need to worry about anything else. I mean, I know she doesn’t have a Facebook account because she believes they will steal her data or allow thieves to access her computer or something like that. Jase, my husband and I all have an account. If she finds out about our accounts, will she decide to delete them next time she is in the house?

All I can say is if she did that, she would be giving us our key back and would not be allowed in our house without supervision!