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Eat well, feel better at work: avoid diet coke and sweeteners

I always tell my clients that I would rather they drink a ‘full fat’ coke than a diet coke.  Why? Because as far as I am concerned, aspartame is a substance sent from the depths of hell.  Don’t get me wrong, I abhor sugar in its white, powdery form more than any other (and honey is no better, but that’s for a later date etc): coca cola contains 9 teaspoons in a can.  But here is why aspartame is so dangerous:

  • Some people have serious reactions to it, including seizures and death.  It can also trigger or worsen brain tumours, epilepsy, CFS, Parkinson’s, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
  • Other common reactions: headaches, migraines, dizziness, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, increased heart rate, insomnia, blurred vision, anxiety attacks, palpitations, hearing loss. 
  • Aspartame is linked with chronic diseases such as cancer, autism, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

Aspartame is composed of aspartic acid (or aspartate), phenylalanine and methanol

I’m going to explain what each of these ingredients does below:

Aspartate is an excitatory amino acid which acts as a neurotransmitter.  Too much aspartate allows the influx of too much calcium into brain neurons, triggering oxidation, a process which damages or kills cells.  So effectively, you’re stimulating your brain cells to death. 

Phenylalanine is an amino acid which is usually found in the brain.  Some people with a genetic disorder called phenylketonuria cannot metabolise phenylalanine leading to dangerous high levels in the brain; they have to avoid phenylalanine in all shapes and forms at all times.  Excessive levels of phenylalanine cause serotonin levels in the brain to decrease, even after just one can, and can cause emotional problems such as depression. 

Methanol converts to formaldehyde, which is a deadly neurotoxin in the brain. This causes a myriad of the side effects I already mentioned. 

And to top it all off, when aspartame is metabolised, it creates diketopiperazine (DKP), which has been implicated in the occurrence of brain tumours.

Still want that can of diet coke?

Please see this interview with a toxicology expert for more information.

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