Why We Don’t Sell Diet Soda

Artificially sweetened “diet” products are considered by many people to be a healthy alternative to similar products which contain sugar. The most common artificial sweetener used in the U.S. today is aspartame, which is marketed under the brand names Nutrasweet and Equal. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar, and can be found in 6000 foods including the best selling diet sodas Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi.

Aspartame was approved for use in the early 1980’s over the objections of many scientists including senior scientists at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Their objections related to disturbing findings in animal studies (especially the frequency of brain tumors), seemingly flawed experimental data, and the absence of extensive pre-marketing trials on humans.

By 1988, seven years after the initial release of aspartame, fully 80% of complaints volunteered by consumers to the FDA about supplements involved aspartame products. (That is not a misprint. It was 80%, as in 4 of every 5 complaints!!!) Complaints included symptoms such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, severe headaches, dizziness, convulsions, siezures, severe depression, aggravation of diabetes, nausea and/or abdominal pain, and severe joint pains.

In 1995, faced with an avalanche of complaints, the FDA decided it was time to act. Did they call for a ban on aspartame? No. Did they call for new studies to evaluate its safety for human use? No. FDA took bold action which was downright audacious. They decided to no longer record complaints related to aspartame, perhaps on the theory that what you don’t know can’t hurt you.

The government and industry have repeatedly claimed that there are numerous studies showing aspartame’s safety. The only problem is, virtually every one of these studies was funded by the manufacturer(Monsanto). And a number of them utilized flawed and/or obviously doctored data. Independent researchers are nearly unanimous in their expressions of concern about the toxicity of aspartame.

Recently, new, independent research from the European Ramazzini Foundation found that moderate regular consumption of aspartame led to a repeated incidence of malignant tumors in rats. This has renewed calls in Europe for an outright ban.

The following facts, which have been established by recent independent (i.e. not funded by Monsanto) scientific research, should be cause for serious concern: 1. Aspartame breaks down into methanol (wood alcohol). 2. Methanol quickly converts to formaldehyde in the body. 3. Formaldehyde causes gradual and eventually severe damage to the neurological system, immune system, and causes permanent genetic damage at extremely low doses. 4. Methanol from alcoholic beverages and from fruit and juices does not convert to formaldehyde and cause damage because there are protective chemicals in these traditionally ingested beverages. 5. The most recent independent research in Europe demonstrates that ingestion of small amounts of aspartame leads to the accumulation of significant levels of formaldehyde in organs (liver, kidneys, brain) and tissues.

Now, formaldehyde is great for embalming dead people. However, if you are alive and intend to stay that way, it is something that you’d best avoid. It may be an exaggeration to say drinking diet soda embalms your brain, your organs and your nervous system. But it’s not much of one.

I personally avoid these products like the plague, and suggest you do the same. If you want to find more in depth information about this topic, I recommend you check out the Aspartame Toxicity Information Center. Just google “aspartame” to find it.

–David Ottoson