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Mr. Laz
03-05-2006, 10:23 AM
since we are putting out health warnings today :p



Don't Drink the Diet Coke

http://www.mcmanweb.com/article-110.htm
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Perhaps a friend has forwarded you an email from "Nancy Markle," which sets out to document the dangers of the artificial sweetener, aspartame, manufactured by Monsanto. Aspartame is the basis of NutraSweet and Equal, flavors Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, and other drinks, and sweetens a host of foods you or I wouldn’t even begin to suspect.

The email, together with a number of websites, credits the artificial sweetener with nearly every woe known to humankind, from MS to Gulf War syndrome. In the words of the letter:

"If you are using aspartame ... and you suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms, spasms, shooting pains, numbness in your legs, cramps, vertigo, dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, joint pain, depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, or memory loss - you probably have aspartame disease."

"You probably have aspartame disease" is a gross overstatement, but so is the term "urban legend" loosely bandied about in various pro-aspartame articles on a number of websites, at least one industry-sponsored. The scientific evidence may fall well short of pinning an actual rap on the sweetener, but it is sufficient enough to raise a legitimate concern.

What We Know About Aspartame

Three byproducts of aspartame are methanol, formaldehyde, and formate, which defenders maintain occur in modest amounts - similar to what is found in fruit juices - and cannot be considered toxic. But according to Michael Schachter MD in an article on HealthWorld, the methanol in juices is chemically bound so it cannot be absorbed into the body whereas in aspartame it is in a free state where it can be absorbed. Additionally, in aspartame the methanol is unaccompanied by ethanol which acts as a protectant in its natural state.

A Medline search reveals divided opinion over whether aspartame consumption can lead to worrisome build-ups of blood methanol or formaldehyde. A 1998 Spanish study on rats, for example, warns "that aspartame consumption may constitute a hazard because of its contribution to the formation of formaldehyde adducts," while a 2002 Japanese study on rats concludes: "It is suggested that aspartame at abuse doses is harmless to humans."

A survey of aspartame studies by Ralph Walton MD of Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine found: "Of the 166 studies felt to have relevance for questions of human safety, 74 had NutraSweet industry related funding and 92 were independently funded. One hundred percent of the industry funded research attested to aspartame's safety, whereas 92 percent of the independently funded research identified a problem."

One in 15,000 people may not properly metabolize phenylalanine, an essential amino acid found in aspartame. The substance is a precursor to tyrosine, a building block of norepinephrine and dopamine, but, in the words of the FDA: "High levels of this amino acid in body fluids can cause brain damage." Accordingly, the FDA duly requires a warning that all products containing the sweetener be labeled for the substance. Newborns are routinely screened for phenylalanine metabolism (the PKU test), which rules out the likelihood of an unsuspecting consumer gulping down hemlock.

The FDA approved aspartame for use in certain dry foods in 1981 and for soft drinks in 1983. In 1996, it removed all restrictions, allowing use in all food products, including ones exposed to heat, which separates the main ingredients. The FDA has set an acceptable daily limit of 50 mg per kg of body weight, which assumes that aspartame can safely replace all sucrose sweeteners in the diet.

The FDA approval, however, should not be equated with safety, particularly in light of how the product got the green light. In 1980 a three-member board of inquiry examined the test results of Searle, the pharmaceutical arm of Monsanto that manufactures aspartame. Although they thought the sweetener did not cause brain damage, they concluded more studies were needed to conclusively demonstrate the product's safety. A five-member panel then decided 3-2 that Searle's safety studies were not conclusive. Nevertheless, commissioner Arthur Hull Hayes overruled the board's recommendations, and granted approval for aspartame's first two approvals in 1981 and 1983. Within three months of the 1983 approval, Hayes resigned from the FDA and accepted a position as a paid consultant in Searle's PR firm. (This is set out in two GAO reports, which nevertheless absolved both Hayes and the FDA.)

Meanwhile, the agency stands behind its original approval in 1981:

"FDA calls aspartame ... one of the most thoroughly tested and studied food additives the agency has ever approved. The agency says the more than 100 toxicological and clinical studies it has reviewed confirm that aspartame is safe for the general population."

Aspartame and Depression and Bipolar Disorder

Fine, but can those who suffer depression or bipolar disorder be considered part of the general population? In 1993, Dr Walton, who is a psychiatrist, conducted a study of 40 patients with unipolar depression and a similar number without a psychiatric history. The subjects were given 30 mgs per kg of body weight a day of aspartame or a placebo for 20 days (about equal to daily consumption if it completely replaced sugar).

Thirteen individuals completed the study, then an institutional review board called the project to a halt "because of the severity of reactions within the group of patients with a history of depression." In a smaller, shorter crossover design, "again there was a significant difference between aspartame and placebo in number and severity of symptoms for patients with a history of depression, whereas for individuals without such a history there was not."

Accordingly, the author concluded that "individuals with mood disorders are particularly sensitive to this artificial sweetener and its use in this population should be discouraged."

As to further particulars of the study, based on the eight depressed subjects and five healthy subjects who completed it:

Three quarters of the patients with a history of depression taking aspartame reported feeling depressed vs none of the healthy subjects taking aspartame and about 40 percent of both groups taking a placebo. The 40 percent is probably a statistical aberration owing to the small numbers who completed the study. Nevertheless, the figures consistently show the depressed/aspartame group experiencing an array of symptoms in far greater numbers and severity, including: fatigue, nausea, headache, trouble remembering, insomnia, and other symptoms.

The depressed/placebo group showed almost none of these symptoms, along with the healthy/aspartame and healthy/placebo groups

Dr Walton told this writer he believes aspartame inhibits serotonin synthesis by decreasing the availability of the precursor L-tryptophan, a finding borne out in another research team’s 1987 experiment on rats.

Remarkably, Dr Walton’s study is the only one we have related to both mood and aspartame. It would be helpful to get a second opinion, but no one else since, apparently, has tried to either replicate or refute his results. This may be due to the political and funding climate. "The NutraSweet company," Dr Walton told this writer, "clearly tried to block our study."

So we are left contemplating the fridge, where our Diet Coke is being chilled, with but one aging study to either guide us or confuse us. Once again, like the trial and error of our meds, we find ourselves human guinea pigs, this time experimenting with our diet. For many, aspartame may turn out to be a life-saving alternative to that well-documented sweet poison, sugar (see article). Others who continue to experience depression, fatigue, and other symptoms, however, may want to moderate their aspartame consumption and see what happens.

Splenda

In 1998, the FDA approved the use of another artificial sweetener, sucralose (Splenda), in all foods. Sucralose is derived from actual sugar. Those "Atkins friendly" and "Low carbs" graphics now plastered on commercial baked goods and desserts like product logos on racing cars are just another way of saying the sugar has been removed and replaced with Splenda. RC Cola uses Splenda in its diet version, and in the summer of 2004, Coke and Pepsi debuted half-sugar, half-Splenda concoctions - C2 and Edge, respectively - to capitalize on the Atkins fad.

Critics point out there have been no long-term studies of Splenda on humans, that pre-approval studies on rats turned up shrunken thymus glands and other organ damage, that relatively few studies exist, and that the product has no long-term safety record.

In the meantime, no one’s saying water is bad for us.

For three free online issues of McMan's Depression and Bipolar Weekly, email me and put "Sample" in the heading and your email address in the body.

Bowser
03-05-2006, 10:26 AM
Looks like I'm going to have to find a stream in the high Rocky Mountains to drink my water. Hopefully some bear doesn't piss in it, causing my scrote to turn mauve.

Lurch
03-05-2006, 11:01 AM
Looks like I'm going to have to find a stream in the high Rocky Mountains to drink my water. Hopefully some bear doesn't piss in it, causing my scrote to turn mauve.

Muave? Better than blue, I'd say. Not that I give a damn one way or the other.

Skip Towne
03-05-2006, 11:04 AM
DON'T EAT FOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

HemiEd
03-05-2006, 11:20 AM
This explains a lot of my problems, about a case a week of Diet Pepsi. What the hell am I supposed to put my Jack Daniels in?

CoMoChief
03-05-2006, 11:31 AM
There was this study coming out of the Univ. of Maryland that people shouldnt use the ice that comes out of the soda fountain machines at resturants because theres bacteria found in more than 70% of the resturants that were tested. Thats quite a large % IMO. Which I guess that would make some sense because I dont know of how many places ever clean that thing out. All they ever do is refill it if it gets low. But then I dont see how that much bacteria could grow in such a cold place. Thats just what I heard, and its still probably not gonna make me order my next drink without ice.

alanm
03-05-2006, 11:41 AM
This explains a lot of my problems, about a case a week of Diet Pepsi. What the hell am I supposed to put my Jack Daniels in?
How can you defile good Jack Daniels by mixing it with Diet Pepsi?
That's just wrong on soooooooo many levels.
You ever hear anyone order a Jack Daniels and......Pepsi? No.
Coke my friend. Coke. And no Diet shit to boot. :cuss: :cuss: :)

HemiEd
03-05-2006, 12:14 PM
How can you defile good Jack Daniels by mixing it with Diet Pepsi?
That's just wrong on soooooooo many levels.
You ever hear anyone order a Jack Daniels and......Pepsi? No.
Coke my friend. Coke. And no Diet shit to boot. :cuss: :cuss: :)

Can not stand the sweet taste of Coke, might be good for Pancakes, never tried it though. I have been drinking Diet Pepsi and JD for quite some time. It is really good, you should try it. :)

alanm
03-05-2006, 12:42 PM
Can not stand the sweet taste of Coke, might be good for Pancakes, never tried it though. I have been drinking Diet Pepsi and JD for quite some time. It is really good, you should try it. :)
To me Pepsi is a lot sweeter. Coke has more of a kick to it. But I prefer RC over both. Just seem to have a hard time finding Royal Crown where I live. I dislike Diet anything regardless.
:Lin:

Demonpenz
03-05-2006, 12:53 PM
i go through a 2 liter of diet mountan dew a day

ILChief
03-05-2006, 12:55 PM
How can you defile good Jack Daniels by mixing it with Diet Pepsi?
That's just wrong on soooooooo many levels.
You ever hear anyone order a Jack Daniels and......Pepsi? No.
Coke my friend. Coke. And no Diet shit to boot. :cuss: :cuss: :)

Jack Daniels sucks. Crown Royal is where it's at!!!

Rain Man
03-05-2006, 01:04 PM
i go through a 2 liter of diet mountan dew a day

Diet Mountain Dew? That's like taking meth without the battery acid. It's just not the same.

BigMeatballDave
03-05-2006, 01:42 PM
Why are soda companies so reluctant to completely switch over to sucralose? I drink alot of Dr. Pepper and it pisses me of to no end that they don't offer a diet version with Splenda.

kcfanXIII
03-05-2006, 01:55 PM
the way i see it, and i see it a lot, diet anything is a sham. if you truly need to drink a diet soda as opposed to the real thing, you shouldn't drink soda. i wait tables, and it seems every fat person icome accross justifies ordering dessert, because they drank a diet soda, or five.
i personally, don't drink soda, unless its mixed with alcohol. the carbination is what gets me, gives me heart burn, and makes me cramp up.

BigMeatballDave
03-05-2006, 02:01 PM
the way i see it, and i see it a lot, diet anything is a sham. if you truly need to drink a diet soda as opposed to the real thing, you shouldn't drink soda. i wait tables, and it seems every fat person icome accross justifies ordering dessert, because they drank a diet soda, or five.
i personally, don't drink soda, unless its mixed with alcohol. the carbination is what gets me, gives me heart burn, and makes me cramp up.Yeah, don't drink soda, its BAAAD! However, Alcohol is just fine...
:rolleyes:

kcfanXIII
03-05-2006, 02:09 PM
Yeah, don't drink soda, its BAAAD! However, Alcohol is just fine...
:rolleyes:

i don't understand it either. when i was playin sports way back in high school, i stayed away from carbinated beverages to fight dehydration, and simply because i drank so much water, there was no time for soda. and then i read in a psych class that a theory behind the cause of alzheimers <SP?> was aluminum deposits in the brain. that made me stear clear of coke in a can. but seriously the main point of what i said, is diet sodas are all a sham. if you think diet soda will help control a weight problem, you're just ignorant. if you have a big enough weight problem to say i need a diet soda, you should replace it with water, or juice of some kind.

BigMeatballDave
03-05-2006, 02:15 PM
i don't understand it either. when i was playin sports way back in high school, i stayed away from carbinated beverages to fight dehydration, and simply because i drank so much water, there was no time for soda. and then i read in a psych class that a theory behind the cause of alzheimers <SP?> was aluminum deposits in the brain. that made me stear clear of coke in a can. but seriously the main point of what i said, is diet sodas are all a sham. if you think diet soda will help control a weight problem, you're just ignorant. if you have a big enough weight problem to say i need a diet soda, you should replace it with water, or juice of some kind.Yeah, I agree with you on the 'I just had a diet soda so I can scarf down a whole pie' bit. Diet soda is great as long as its not followed by a cheesecake...

KCChiefsMan
03-05-2006, 02:31 PM
I drink a ton of diet soda...... :hmmm:

Psyko Tek
03-05-2006, 02:34 PM
This explains a lot of my problems, about a case a week of Diet Pepsi. What the hell am I supposed to put my Jack Daniels in?


water

HemiEd
03-05-2006, 02:49 PM
water

yek, water is for Scotch IMO. :p

Ari Chi3fs
03-05-2006, 02:52 PM
i havent had any soda since Tuesday.

That whole Lent thing... plus I was way addicited to Moutain Dew. I am Mountain Done.

Simplex3
03-05-2006, 03:18 PM
yek, water is for Scotch IMO. :p
For pussies drinking scotch, maybe.

HemiEd
03-05-2006, 05:04 PM
For pussies drinking scotch, maybe.

Drink Scotch straight, have not found any that I would enjoy drinking straight. Any suggestions?

Saulbadguy
03-05-2006, 07:41 PM
the way i see it, and i see it a lot, diet anything is a sham. if you truly need to drink a diet soda as opposed to the real thing, you shouldn't drink soda. i wait tables, and it seems every fat person icome accross justifies ordering dessert, because they drank a diet soda, or five.
i personally, don't drink soda, unless its mixed with alcohol. the carbination is what gets me, gives me heart burn, and makes me cramp up.
I prefer diet soda even though i'm a fatty. The regular stuff is way too sweet, unless its root beer.