Aspartame Poisoning - What you are ingesting in your food and drink.

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    Jul 18, 2007 5:08 PM GMT
    I recently came across some information when I decided to follow up on some advice that a good friend gave to me. Aspartame (NutraSweet) is used in many "sugar free" products as a sweetner. It is poison. This makes me sad on so many levels since it is used in my favorite beverage (diet coke holy crap!)... none-the-less it is something that you should remove from your diet. Read the following link to find out more information on side-effects, and potential risks of using this dangerous product.

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    Jul 18, 2007 6:28 PM GMT
    It might be better to check some of the claims made by these professional hysteria mongerers. At best it's bunch of misleading half-facts (or less). Certainly, if any of those claims were true, then nobody should eat any kind of protein at all.

    Literally, EVERYTHING is a poison. There is nothing at all that won't harm you in some dose. The safest thing for those who want a "toxin-free environment" is probably to place themselves in a large vacuum chamber and have someone turn on the switch.
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    Jul 18, 2007 6:59 PM GMT
    Which isn't to say that some things aren't worse for you than others.

    Already in the 1960s, my dad forbade us from consuming many of the artificial food colors... which the FDA banned a few years later. Guess it made me a weird kid in yet another way. While others would revel in multi-colored ice-cream, I'd be complaining that the choc-chip mint ice cream was green (and happily eating my veggies).

    I've been drinking the clear (no color) PowerAde drinks (rather than GatorAid which Matt says is better). It has Sucralose in it, which I'm not too thrilled about, but I don't drink that much of it. Water and juice are the fare most of the rest of the time (with an occassional Dr. Pepper).
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    Jul 18, 2007 8:45 PM GMT
    They are more recent studies than this proving the contrary... Another good alternative is Stevia - new plant found in the amazon and they are using for non-insulin activating sweetners
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    Jul 18, 2007 9:14 PM GMT
    There's nothing like starting a business based on consumer's fears---That's what this chicky's doing. I'm having a Vanilla Zero (Coke) now with Aspartame, and I use it to sweeten my iced tea. It's a lot cheaper than Splenda (Sucralose) right now in the grocery stores, too, since there are several generic versions out.

    By the way, we've had Diet Coke with Splenda for a while here in Atlanta (Coke central!), so I'm sure it should be available around you as well.

    Understand, however, that there are also alarmist opinions regarding Splenda, too:

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    Jul 18, 2007 9:44 PM GMT
    Mindgarden is absolutely correct -- everything you deal with on a daily basis (short of vitamins, minerals, and lipids/carbs/protein) is poisonous to your system. Additives, dyes, medications, pesticides, chemicals, secondhand smoke, radon gas -- even the smoke from your BBQ and burnt corners of foods contain carcinogens.

    Your liver is a biochemical marvel that is incredibly adept at removing toxins and poisons once ingested. But, as the old saying goes -- everything in moderation. You shouldn't be drinking 15 diet cokes a day and using aspartame to sweeten everything you eat, just like you wouldn't lace everything you eat and drink with alcohol, cocaine or freon. In any substantial quantity, you will eventually overwhelm your bodies' natural ability to process and eliminate anything it doesn't agree with.

    Does that mean you should live in a box? No. But it means you should make smart choices about the food you eat and what you expose yourself to on a regular basis. Don't listen to the fanatical reports on the internet that 'you'll get cancer and die if you do X or Y'. Everyone always will have an opinion, particularly on the internet, where you can publish to your heart's content. Notice Dr. Hull wants you to pay $180 for a 'hair-analysis' to essentially determine that you've ingested it and you 'need to detox'. The hair analysis will also tell you if you've done illicit drugs, medications, and everything else that is deposited there. Presence of it in your hair doesn't mean something is wrong with you. it just means it's been processed and eliminated by your body.

    But Aspartame and Sucralose (Splenda) have been two of the most thoroughly studied food additives in the history of the FDA. The gold standard for 'toxicity' is called the LD50. That's the dose that causes death in rats/mice when administered daily. It's often a rather substantially high dose, of which you'd be unlikely to consume orally. So, naturally, a huge dose of some foreign compound is going to be toxic. But if you ingest small amounts of toxic substances, countered with a diet rich in antioxidants and whole foods, the liklihood of adverse effects is substantially minimized.

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    Jul 18, 2007 11:00 PM GMT
    Its either aspartame or dunkin donut for me. I have this craving for sweet food all the time. Drinking diet pop, with artificial sweeter kill those craving. It a lesser between two evil. So, I drink a lot of diet pop. I know it not good for me, but at least I dont get fat.
  • UStriathlete

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    Jul 19, 2007 12:41 AM GMT
    ultimate replenisher. better than diet soda. it you want carbonation, drink cyrtal geiser with lemon or lime.

    there's choices, natural or chemicals. it's that hard people. just go to your health food store and ask.
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    Jul 19, 2007 4:07 AM GMT
    One urban legend has it that, when heated, aspartame takes on a chemical composition similar to anti-freeze, aka propylene glycol. (Ever wonder why you don't find Nutra-Sweet in baked goods?)

    As another interesting side note, many of the "toxic Chinese imports" of late are tainted because of the use diethylene glycol, a low-cost but toxic sweetener.

    Lastly, it's not just aspartame that's tainting your diet Pepsi. CNN just reported, the other day, that most diet sodas contain concentrations of Benzene that are well above standards for tap water. Benzene is linked to leukemia and other cancers.

    I swore off diet sodas, years ago, but do occasionally indulge in Sucralose.
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    Jul 19, 2007 4:32 AM GMT
    I agree that there can be great overreaction to food safety, and that there are a dime-a-dozen health gurus who try to create hysteria about additives.

    I also realize that there has been a baker's dozen of these with respect to the aspartame issue.

    That is true. But what may also be true is that there may be some hidden effects of aspartame that are or are only emerging after long term use.

    I really defer to the medical experts here on RJ, and there are quite a few.

    I haven't seen the PBS special on aspartame, though I have been told about it, possibly incorrectly. And I have a neighbor who is adamant that aspartame was the culprit in ALS type symptoms in a friend of hers, which abated when she eliminated it from her diet.

    I'm just worried that there is something to the concerns about long term use. Worried enough not to want to ever have a diet sweetened soft drink ever again.

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    Jul 19, 2007 4:41 AM GMT
    Agreed, fastprof. I'm just not sure I trust /any/ medical professionals, holistic or otherwise. There is so much double-speak and contradiction out there, these days. The situation with former US Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, comes to mind. But, I am becoming increasingly skeptical about holistic/alternative health care providers, as well (glorified snake-oil salespeople?).

    I'm admittedly no purist, and I just can't afford to shop exclusively at Whole Foods. Had I the means, I certainly would opt for the purest, most natural foods available.
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    Jul 19, 2007 5:14 AM GMT
    Here it is....COKE and DIET COKE are bad for you...nevermind the aspartame.

    Caffine is not good, and plus the phosphoric acid in coke eats away at your insides, cause stomach ulcers, rotting your teeth away.

    Rather than relying on these fake sugars how about exercising and eating healthier.
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    Jul 19, 2007 6:10 AM GMT
    Is there really a need to consume aspartame? No. Does diet cola really restrict you from gaining weight? No. Will you really suffer if you stop drinking soda? In the scheme of things, no.
    There's no controlling absorption of toxins from the atmosphere, tap water, etc., but you can be proactive and control the amount of toxins taken in by reducing consumption of sodas, cigarettes and other such articles.
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    Jul 19, 2007 7:50 AM GMT
    Guys, just having come out of college, one of the important pieces of information I brought with me is that a large portion of the internet is personal perceptions and ideas, misinformation based on unsubstantiated and unverified "tests", or fear and rumor, or propaganda used to control the public for one reason or another.

    It's just like the "reality" shows on tv, which, if you pay attention, betray themselves as put on, or like the "interior design" shows on tv which use people who are really decorators, or even people with no education, just having a "knack" for "design". (I know, I paid the price for education, and I can see it so obviously). It's all just glitter to distract and entertain.

    The only way that you can know for sure that the information is legitimate is to see if they have a link to, or reference a peer-reviewed scholarly paper or scientific journal.

    Look at Google Scholar. It's quite helpful, but some library systems have subscriptions to web sites which deal only in scholarly papers and journal articles. Ask your librarian.

    Don't give in to the panic mongers.
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    Jul 19, 2007 11:27 AM GMT
    sundown55 hit the nail on the head. The internet is a wealth of information, most of which is wrong, because it is based on opinion, speculation or my favorite, a really well thought out argument that the poster hadn't ever realized that the very first supposition that their thesis was based on was just that, a supposition that was presented as fact. The writing that followed was well reasoned but not presented as being based on a supposition but rather as fact

    This was the prime reason I stopped reading Prevention magazine years ago. They would mix facts in with 'possibilities' or statements like 'many believe that' as a validation.

    If you look at any real scientific approach, you expect to find out if a theory is right or wrong. There are some 'concept zealots' particularly in the health field, that intentionally ignore facts in order to prove that their theory is correct. (Often there is money involved - a big give away).

    One significant example is that in the early 1980's, there was a valid report on the autopsies of people who died of Alzheimers had higher deposits of aluminum in thier brians. The actual statement of the report was that it was significan't. The 'half' information was that aluminum caused it [the Alzheimers] without reporting the other possibility that it was a result of it. It took the Alzhiemers foundation 10 years to retract the 'aluminum causes it' public statement. I remember so many people throwing out all of their aluminum cookware.

    I advocate healthy a healthy diet, but you must remember that your body is designed and expects a certain amount of toxins (chemical and biological). Completely eliminating them from your diet isn't healthy because it also eliminates your body's ability deal with them. This is no different than the way your muscles will atrophy if unused. As far as that goes, we also know that too much or too little are both unhealthy and can cause damage.

    This always reminds me of an old Saturday Night Live news bit where they say "Scientists have finally discovered the cause of cancer, and that cause is white lab mice."

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    Jul 19, 2007 1:35 PM GMT
    Well, who is the lobbyist behind the Diet Soda industry (a la Thank You for Smoking)? Don't the big three (tobacco, alcohol and firearms) pay lots of money to scientists to produce (biased) research that is meant to assuage the panic monger's message? Then, why not Coke and Pepsi? The soda industry is massive, and they clearly have to protect shareholder interest above all else.
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    Jul 19, 2007 4:36 PM GMT
    By the way the chemicals in the coke itself are probably worse than the aspartame... relax man
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    Jul 19, 2007 4:41 PM GMT
    I forgot - The guy who said its ok to cook in aluminum pots - dunno. Aluminum may not cause alzheimers but does cause cancer... Along with Teflon. Again kept very quiet due to the money involved.
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    Jul 19, 2007 4:55 PM GMT
    >>>"everything you deal with on a daily basis (short of vitamins, minerals, and lipids/carbs/protein) is poisonous to your system."<<<

    Not quite right. Everything is a chemical. Everything is a toxin, at some dose. Vitamins, minerals, lipids, carbs, and proteins all have toxic effects. If essential vitamins and minerals were regulated to the same safety levels as pesticides, most of them would be banned. In fact, some of them have been used as pesticides. Bruce Ames, who developed "The Ames test" which is blindly mis-used as a measurement of carcinogenicity, is always bemoaning the fact that any metabolizable carbohydrate would be classified as a carcinogen, if force-fed at the concentrations used in toxicity testing.

    People have this weird compulsion to force everything into boxes labeled "good" or "evil." But the real world just doesn't work like that.
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    Jul 19, 2007 5:14 PM GMT
    Iron could be deadly for me.

    Hereditary hemochromatosis is a disorder that causes the body to absorb too much iron. This causes iron to build up in the blood, liver, heart, pancreas, joints, skin, and other organs.

    In its early stages, hemochromatosis can cause joint and belly pain, weakness, lack of energy, and weight loss. It can also cause scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), darkening of the skin, diabetes, infertility, heart failure, irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia), and arthritis.1 However, many people do not have symptoms in the early stages.
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    Jul 19, 2007 6:42 PM GMT
    Wow - thanks for all the feedback. I wasn't necessarily playing the role of alarmist (or was I?). Simply had heard several interesting reports and decided to toss this out there into cyberspace to see what came back.

    Regardless, diet sodas are off my menu there are plenty of healthier alternatives that I have opted to replace them with...

    Thanks again,
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    Jul 19, 2007 7:51 PM GMT
    Modern medicine has come a long way in extending lives in comparison to our ancient forefathers, yet today some form of cancer or heart disease strikes an average of 1 in 3 people who now live in the 1st world.
    If we were to compare daily life today to that of a person living a couple thousand years ago, we might find a few differences.
    Rushing to work did not exist as most people lived on farms, the stress people experienced in spite of the occasional tribal war was probably having a hard time harvesting crops due to heavy storms, stubborn donkeys, or natural disasters.
    Today we still have natural disasters, and the tribal wars continue on a much larger scale and which now cost billions of dollars, but the environment we live in is obviously very different.
    Today we have food grown with pesticides and artificial fertilizers, and livestock injected with various antibiotics or hormones to fatten them.
    Toxic wastes are constantly being dumped into the oceans, which wind up in the fish we eat.
    Almost every food product on supermarket shelves has some form of chemical preservative and even the air we breathe and water we drink is questionable depending on how close we live to the nearest garbage dump or factory.
    Billions of tons of oil is extracted from the earth and then pumped back into the atmosphere through burning which winds up in our lungs, depletes the protective ozone layer, and as a result exposes life on the planet, to more dangerous ultraviolet rays from the sun.
    Our bodies are also hit with car fumes, cigarette smoke, alcohol or recreational drugs, pollution in all its forms, poisons, allergens, exposure to various hair and household sprays, pesticides, rancid fats and oils, chemicals and preservatives found in foods and soft drinks, chemicals in artificial colorants and sweeteners, chlorinated water, toxins from food cooked in aluminum or Teflon pots, chemicals used in medications or drugs, various hits of radiation from sources such as chemotherapy, X-rays, milder forms in TV screens, and over exposure to the ultraviolet light from the sun. In fact there are over 500 known human carcinogens (or substances known to cause cancer,) which many people are in contact with or eat daily, such as deep fried foods, and even the simple procedure of smelling household paint.
    This scary list can go on and on as our daily intake or exposure to some form of poison definitely can all add up, or it can be quite small depending on the location and lifestyle of each individual. For example a person living out in the country would not be faced with the same amount of daily toxin or carcinogen exposure as someone living in a city.
    Now this might all sound a bit like extremist ecological mumbo, but that’s not what I’m getting at. The point here is that our bodies have to detoxify all of these substances somehow and this is definitely not something people even a hundred years ago had to deal with.
    In spite of these and the many other daily physical beatings our bodies take in this 21st century, it constantly repairs itself and continues to live to the ripe old age of about 70. Our bodies could probably easily live to about 130 if it werent pumped full of yes minute poisons...
    So anyone who says "a bit of toxins are OK" maybe should evaluate where they live!
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    Jul 19, 2007 10:16 PM GMT
    I steer clear of anything the says 'sugar free" or low calorie cus that sometimes means sugar substitute. I know these chemicals are poison cus I get blisters in my mouth or just feel sick after I eat something that contains them.
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    Jul 19, 2007 10:20 PM GMT
    I am not going to disagree with Alexinrio's copmments, but I would like to bring forth the following...

    "Rushing to work did not exist as most people lived on farms."

    Well, not quite true. Farmers were constantly rushing to get as much done as possible with available day light...

    "...yet today some form of cancer or heart disease strikes an average of 1 in 3 people who now live in the 1st world."

    Well, exact causes of death before the age of modern medicine were not well investigated, so who knows how many were dying of cancer...?

    Furthermore, people did not live long enough for genes to mutate to metastic cancers in the past, they would die younger from diseases and infections easily treatable today. Increased cancer rate is directly proportional to increased aging population. It may just be mathmatics....

    However, I am not down playing the importance to avoid as much toxins as you can, but also to understand the processe how the body metabolize toxins and not play into hysteria.
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    Jul 19, 2007 11:45 PM GMT
    Actually, there are a lot of data available on historic causes of death, at least for the last few hundred years.

    In the 19th century, almost everyone died from infectious disease. In 1900, about 60% of deaths in the US were caused by infectious disease. By 2000, that number was down to about 9%. The difference was not made by advances in medicine, but by advances in sanitation. Specifically, water treatment, sewage treatment, food processing and food distribution. A small percentage of the decrease can also be attributed to childhood vaccinations.

    The percent of all deaths attributed to cancer has risen from about 5% to about 25%, but when corrected for smoking, cancer rates in the US were steady through the 20th century, and when corrected for an aging population, they actually declined.

    Many many people have tried to correlate pesticide use with cancer rates, and the results are always the same. The countries that use the most pesticides always have the lowest cancer rates. Nobody really knows why, but most researchers speculate that those countries have the best access to nutritious food.

    It's also worth noting that the CDC says that currently about 5000 people in the US die each year from bacterial food poisoning in fresh foods. They also claim that 75 million people are sickened from it each year ("most of which are unreported" so this is an extrapolation). Virtually no illnesses or deaths can be attributed to additives or pesticide residues in processed food. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with eating fresh foods - certainly the benefits outweigh the risks. But that is where the only real measurable risks in the food supply lie.