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Diet CokeFollowing on from yesterday’s post about fizzy drinks / “soft” drinks (soda for our US cousins) and asking if the UK should introduce a fizzy drinks tax I thought I would explore the “diet” or “light” versions of these drinks a little more…

The British Soft Drink Association (BSDA) says companies are already playing their part in the fight against obesity, saying 61% of soft drinks “now contain no added sugar and we have seen soft drinks companies lead the way in committing to further, voluntary action as part of the government’s Responsibility Deal calorie-reduction pledge”. But do “no added sugar”, diet and light fizzy drinks really provide a healthier alternative?

Over the past 10 years, the consumption of soft drinks containing added sugar has fallen by 9% while the incidence of obesity has increased by 15%. What is the sugar replaced with? Aspartame.

There are over 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption, and these are only the ones that are known about. Aspartame dissolves into liquids and can therefore travel throughout the body and deposit within any tissue. The multitude of aspartame side effects are indicative to your genetic individuality, but can include:

Eye

  • blindness in one or both eyes
  • decreased vision and/or other eye problems such as: blurring, bright flashes, squiggly lines, tunnel vision, decreased night vision
  • pain in one or both eyes
  • decreased tears
  • trouble with contact lenses
  • bulging eyes

Ear

  • tinnitus – ringing or buzzing sound
  • severe intolerance of noise
  • marked hearing impairment

Neurologic

  • epileptic seizures
  • headaches, migraines and (some severe)
  • dizziness, unsteadiness, both
  • confusion, memory loss, both
  • severe drowsiness and sleepiness
  • paresthesia or numbness of the limbs
  • severe slurring of speech
  • severe hyperactivity and restless legs
  • atypical facial pain
  • severe tremors

Psychological/Psychiatric

  • severe depression
  • irritability
  • aggression
  • anxiety
  • personality changes
  • insomnia
  • phobias

Chest

  • palpitations, tachycardia
  • shortness of breath
  • recent high blood pressure

Gastrointestinal

  • nausea
  • diarrhea, sometimes with blood in stools
  • abdominal pain
  • pain when swallowing

Skin and Allergies

  • itching without a rash
  • lip and mouth reactions
  • hives
  • aggravated respiratory allergies such as asthma

Endocrine and Metabolic

  • loss of control of diabetes
  • menstrual changes
  • marked thinning or loss of hair
  • marked weight loss
  • gradual weight gain
  • aggravated low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • severe PMS

Other

  • frequency of voiding and burning during urination
  • excessive thirst, fluid retention, leg swelling, and bloating
  • increased susceptibility to infection

Additional Symptoms of Aspartame Toxicity include the most critical symptoms of all:

  • death
  • irreversible brain damage
  • birth defects, including mental retardation
  • peptic ulcers
  • aspartame addiction and increased craving for sweets
  • hyperactivity in children
  • severe depression
  • aggressive behavior
  • suicidal tendencies

Aspartame may trigger, mimic, or cause the following illnesses:

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Epstein-Barr
  • Post-Polio Syndrome
  • Lyme Disease
  • Grave’s Disease
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • ALS
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • EMS
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Mercury sensitivity from Amalgam fillings
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lupus
  • non-Hodgkins
  • Lymphoma
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

These are not allergies or sensitivities, but diseases and disease syndromes. Aspartame poisoning is commonly misdiagnosed because aspartame symptoms mock textbook ‘disease’ symptoms, such as Grave’s Disease.

Aspartame changes the ratio of amino acids in the blood, blocking or lowering the levels of serotonin, tyrosine, dopamine, norepinephrine, and adrenaline. Therefore, it is typical that aspartame symptoms cannot be detected in lab tests and on x-rays. Textbook disorders and diseases may actually be a toxic load as a result of aspartame poisoning.

Ever gone to the doctor with real, physical symptoms, but he/she can’t find the cause? Well, it’s probably your diet, your environment, or both.

Aspartame was discovered in 1965 by James M. Schlatter, a chemist working for G.D. Searle & Company. Schlatter had synthesized aspartame as an intermediate step in generating a tetrapeptide of the hormone, gastrin, for use in assessing an anti-ulcer drug candidate. He accidentally discovered its sweet taste when he licked his finger, which had become contaminated with aspartame, to lift up a piece of paper.

Did this start an instant sweet success? No.

It took the manufacturer until 1980, to convince the US Food and Drug  Administration (FDA) that aspartame does not cause brain damage, but the US FDA still recommended against approving aspartame at that time, citing unanswered questions about cancer in laboratory rats.

It was 1983, before the FDA further approved aspartame for use in carbonated beverages, and 1993 before it approved use in other beverages, baked goods, and confections. In 1996, the FDA removed all restrictions from aspartame, allowing it to be used in all foods.

Here in Europe, several European Union countries approved aspartame in the 1980s, with EU-wide approval in 1994. The European Commission Scientific Committee on Food reviewed subsequent safety studies and reaffirmed the approval in 2002. The European Food Safety Authority reported in 2006 that the previously established “Acceptable Daily Intake” was appropriate, after reviewing yet another set of studies.

Since Aspartame was approved by the FDA, the website Healing Daily says that aspartame complaints have represented approximately 75 percent of the complaints filed with the association, oh and Aspartame has been banned by the European Union from being used in any children’s products.

Damage Limitation

In the US, a new Coca-Cola ad campaign that encourages people to come together to fight obesity is drawing fire from consumer advocates and obesity experts. Coke says it’s trying to make consumers more aware of the “healthy choice” beverages Coke makes; critics say Coke is simply doing damage control.

There can be no doubt that fizzy drinks are one of the primary beverages responsible for skyrocketing obesity rates. As Dr. Sanjay Gupta told CNN:

“…the scientific community has …reached a consensus that soft drinks are the one food or beverage that’s been demonstrated to cause weight gain and obesity. And if we’re going to deal with this obesity epidemic, that’s the place to start.”

Evidence of just how behind-the-times Coca-Cola is, their brand new multi-million dollar campaign focuses on the sentiment that:

“…beating obesity will take action by all of us, based on one simple, common-sense fact: All calories count, no matter where they come from. …And if you eat and drink more calories than you burn off, you’ll gain weight.”

This “conventional wisdom” has been firmly debunked by science. Not all calories count equally. And the “calories in, calories out” hypothesis for maintaining weight has equally been shown to be incorrect. It is in fact FAR more important to look at the source of the calories than counting them.

In short, you do not get fat because you eat too many calories and don’t exercise enough. You get fat because you eat the wrong kind of calories. At the end of the day, your consumption of carbohydrates, whether in the form of grains and sugars (especially fructose), will determine whether or not you’re able to manage your weight and maintain optimal health. This is because these types of carbs (fructose and grains) affect the hormone insulin, which is a very potent fat regulator. Fats and proteins affect insulin to a far lesser degree. Kudos to The Atlantic for calling Coca-Cola on its misleading tactics in its recent article titled, Coke’s Unconscionable New Ad:

“Coca-Cola’s latest attempt to position itself against the rising tide of concern about the role of sodas in the obesity epidemic is unconscionable, because of this statement: ‘All calories count. No matter where they come from including Coca-Cola and everything else with calories.’

For Coca-Cola to suggest that all calories are equal flies in the face of reality as best as we can determine it… Coca-Cola wants us to ignore the considerable research confirming that sugary soda is a major contributor to obesity, and that it has no nutritional value… Coca-Cola could use its considerable advertising muscle to promote healthy exercise, yes, but when it does so as a ploy to confuse the public about the dangers of its products, that’s not a public service, that’s unethical.”

Maybe Coke needs to review this “translated” version of its new advert:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/RyeImvWtnr4[/youtube]

or this “Honest” Coca-Cola obesity commercial:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/bHhCP5ad-zM[/youtube]

2013 miles in 2013

Having completed a year without all alcohol in 2012, my self imposed challenge this year is to complete 2013 self powered miles by the end of 2013. My rules are quite simple:

  1. All miles must be completely self powered (no motors, sails, etc)
  2. I must be able to evidence all miles, either via GPS or with a picture of any static gym equipment

To complete my 2013 miles I will be running, cycling, rowing and who knows, I might even try a few other self powered methods along the way.

I need to average just over 5.5 miles (9 km) per day to hit my target. I ran just over 670 miles in 6 and a half months in 2012, so this is a big step up. It is not going to be easy, but hey, it wouldn’t be a challenge if it was!

As part of this challenge I am planning a few races and have already signed up for 2 half marathons in March, a full 26.2 miles marathon in May and a return trip to the Great South Run.

I will be doing this challenge in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and so will keep my existing Just Giving page going for another year. I have been surprised since I started fundraising for the CF Trust just how many people are unaware of this disease and so I hope my efforts will not just raise money, but also awareness of the UK’s most most common life-threatening inherited disease.

To donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust please click here to visit my just giving page or donate by text – send AYWB55 and the amount to 70070. For example, texting “AYWB55 £5″ will donate £5.