Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No More Aspartame

I admit it.
I am a diet soda junkie.
Over the last 5 or 6 years I have consistently drank 1-6 cans of diet soda each day.
I went through phases where I tried to drink water instead, or gave up my caffienated Diet Cherry Pepsi for uncaffienated Fresca for a few months.
But in the end I always came back to my favorite additionally flavored (cherry or vanilla) diet cola.
And lots of it.
I have heard many warnings about the dangers of aspartame.
That it is possibly the cause of gulf war syndrome, that diet soda is actually likely to make you gain weight as this study on soda drinkers shows, and that it has been shown to cause metabolic syndrome.
Blah, blah, blah. Yada yada yada.
All in one ear and out the other.
Millions of people drink diet soda right? We're doing okay aren't we?
So I went right on sipping my Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr. Pepper with pleasure.
And as I have gotten older and had less energy and more sleeping problems, another Vanilla Coke Zero during the day gave me an added caffiene boost. (And then maybe another one later).
So a few weeks ago I got yet another e-mail about a mother whose daughter died from illnesses caused by diet soda. Yada, yada.
Please don't think me callous but most of these e-mails are made up or at least embellished anyway right?
But I figured hey, the only way to know something is to find out for myself, right?
So I gave myself a challenge. No diet soda for 2 weeks.
2 weeks. I can do 2 weeks.
Then I realized that my Special K Protein Water and my Propel are all have artificial sweeteners too.
Okay, so cold turkey. I opened a bottle of Dasani and steeled myself for a long haul.
This is about how it went:
Day 1: You know, Dasani is petty good water. And I don't think I have the munchies like I usually do.
Day 2: Still no munchies. Hmm...
Day 3: Hey, I didn't need a nap yesterday. And I'm not tired now.
Day 4: I slept like a baby last night. Got up with energy and had it all day.
Day 5: No munchies. Didn't need a nap again. Had energy.
Who needs this Nutrasweet crap anyway?
Sooo instead of drinking something that makes me tired, and drinking more of it to get a caffeine boost; and instead of drinking a zero calorie soda that makes me hungry I am giving up my diet soda.
I will probably not be gallavanting in to Washington to rally for Congress to ban Aspartame.
I will probably not be spending my weekends passing out "Nutrasweet is Sweet Death" t-shirts in front of Walmart.
But I will not be drinking the crap anymore either.
Decide for yourself. Check out what wikipedia has to say about aspartame. Try a 2 week break yourself, or don't. And keep on lovin' your Diet Mountain Dew.
But as for me and myself, I will drink Dasani.
And I'll do some research to figure out if Sucralose and Splenda are bad too.
And when I do need a caffiene pick me up, I'll turn to my Icebreaker caffeine mints, or a full flavor Cherry Pepsi.
And you thought this was Wordless Wednesday.


Anonymous said...


FYI, anyone can change information at Wikipedia and the anti-aspartame critics have been active at doing so; that stuff though is irrelevant to its safety. Check about aspartame and don't believe anything from sweetmisery or related sites. Here is the real story effective this year.

Aspartame is perfectly safe used as directed in healthy people. First, all the misguided concern about aspartame has been wrongfully created by a combination of errors that started with the original Searle work, were perpetuated by a misguided aspartame internet conspiracy theory, and supported by two also wrongly designed 2006 and 2007 studies. In the eyes of misguided FDA evaluators of the original Searle work, there were tumor concerns evident in the original Searle safety study. Then the internet conspiracy theorists have kept this fable alive for twenty years. But those original results were simply false positives stemming from an error that nobody, even FDA, caught. The Searle work and everything since (including both highly quoted Soffritti et al (that is Rammazini), 2006 and 2007 studies) used a simple, yet wrong experimental design. They used control rats (fed no aspartame) and treated rats (fed different, graded doses of aspartame to get a dose response). The problem with this design is that it is simply improperly balanced. Even a high school science fair student can recognize this fact once it is made clear. Methanol from aspartame degradation is converted to formaldehyde. Formaldehyde has long been known to react with and deplete a portion of the vitamin folate in exposed rats, but that issue is resolved if folate is replaced by daily and microgram sustenance supplements. But this degradation of folate only happens in the treated animals, because only they get the aspartame source of the methanol. Control animals were not given equivalent methanol. The consequence is that only the rats receiving the aspartame will show a dose-dependent increase not in tumors arising from aspartame, but from a dose-dependent induction of folate deficiency induced tumors. Proper design would involve feeding folate supplements; it would best have used three groups, control rats, aspartame treated rats, and folate supplemented, aspartame treated rats. This design would not have given rise to tumors, because the rats would not have been depleted of folate, which causes exactly those tumor types reported in the 2006 and 2007 lifetime exposures.

Second, all the matter above deals with the rat experimental studies, but there is another totally separate issue, human safety. That issue only exists because of the false claims that aspartame causes problems including tumors in humans. In a corollary of the first line, the fact of the matter is that many people in this country are not healthy; they are intrinsically susceptible to a natural cause of tumors that internet conspirators have wrongly attributed to aspartame. Many people, particularly women, are deficient in this vitamin (folate) and some are seriously deficient in it. The “health weight” trend not to eat sweet rolls, doughnuts and other grain products that have been fortified with folate since 1998 only worsens the underlying problem. Still others have biochemical issues with their folate processing enzymes called polymorphisms that raise their susceptibility to folate deficiency. Widespread folate deficiency, not aspartame, is the real problem causing much of the tumors and cancers epidemic in America today. And alcohol abuse by women is a major factor in increased folate deficiency and contributes greatly to the incidence of breast cancer today.

There have recently been calls for a second round of grain product fortification to again overcome these problems. But the only real solution to the many folate deficiency linked tumors is use of folate supplements. Folate is made not by us, but by bacteria in our gut; given even a folate rich diet (“healthy living”), we simply cannot make sufficient folate to prevent the widespread occurrence of disease associated with folate deficiency. Then, many dietary substances including antibiotics, abusive levels of ethanol, and many commonly used pharmaceuticals (antiepileptic and others) adversely affect either folate or the bugs that generate the folate; they only make us more deficient.

John E. Garst, Ph.D.
(Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Toxicology)

(Information detailing the fatal error in all rat aspartame research is new. It was presented in March, 2008 at the national Society of Toxicology meeting in Seattle and last week (2008) at the Agriculture & Food Chemistry section of the national American Chemical Society meeting in New Orleans).

Pikes Pickles said...

Okay I was about to type YEAH for you! You go girl and lots of other kudos but then I saw the very long and detailed message that anonymous left you and I am afraid to for fear he/she will come to my blog and tell me that I am wrong.
Do you think that anonymous has stock in aspartame? giggle. giggle.

Carrie & Karl said...

Great job giving up the soda! I know it isn't easy because I've done it myself. Now the only time I drink diet soda is at Mom's house.
Honestly I don't know if it is the aspartame that causes weight gain etc, but I do know that the best thing to drink is water, and if you feel better drinking something that has been proven numerous times to be good for you, then good job. Hopefully I'll get to that point again soon, I'm starting with just drinking at least 2 glasses/bottles of water each day, we'll see how that goes...

Weston Elliott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Weston Elliott said...

Aspartame is NOT perfectly safe for all humans! Both my mother and I have severe reactions to it. My mother was told by a physician never to use it because it directly attacks her nervous system.

And as far as Mr G: He convinced me further with his own words: "Methanol from aspartame degradation is converted to formaldehyde." So, as aspartame degrades in your system, it turns to formaldehyde? Ummmm - isn't that what they embalm people with - hopefully after they are dead? I'd just as soon not start the embalming process until absolutely necessary.

Long and short - who cares what is said or published. If anyone finds that putting it into their body has a negative effect on them, why would they continue to use it? Just because the "powers that be" say it's safe doesn't mean it's necessarily good for you. They used to think that cigarettes were safe, too...