I have a vivid memory of a moment that occurred 5 years ago.
I was driving home from Albertsons happily sipping on a Diet Coke that I had purchased in the checkout line. Mmmm, Diet Coke sure does taste good, I thought as I zipped along Butterfield Ranch Rd. Then a dark thought entered my mind.
What if this bubbly drink that I loved so much really caused cancer like the health nuts said? I looked down at the plastic bottle in my hand. It looked harmless enough, and that unbelievable taste – how could it be bad? But a part of me wasn’t fully convinced.
Then, in a whoosh, I had an epiphany.
There was no way that Diet Coke caused cancer. The government wouldn’t allow them to sell a product that promoted cancer without clearly informing consumers.
Ahhhhh, I was safe. I took another long sip of the exonerated liquid and embraced the cuddly warmth of the FDA security blanket. It sure felt great to be a protected American citizen.
Boy, was I naïve.
If you’ve watched Food Inc, read The China Study, or just generally had your ears open over the last few years then my blind faith in the FDA probably had you chuckling. And rightfully so.
Here are some eye-opening quotes about artificial sweeteners:
Aspartame (AKA: NutraSweet or Equal):
- “Aspartame is a compound made from three components: phenylalanine (an amino acid), aspartic acid (an excitotoxic amino acid), and joined chemically by methanol, a toxic alcohol. When consumed, aspartame is metabolically broken down into its three component parts—all three of which are toxic to the nervous system as well as to all cells. In addition, further metabolism occurs producing dozens of other potentially toxic compounds and even carcinogenic compounds.” Death by Supermarket, pg 52.
- “Three new studies have shown that the methanol component is metabolically converted into formaldehyde and formic acid, both powerful toxins, even in very small doses. Formic acid is the toxin that causes the intensely painful bite of the fire ant and blindness when methanol is ingested in sufficient quantities. Formaldehyde is known to be a powerful cancer-causing agent, even in very small doses. In one of these studies it was shown that aspartame’s formaldehyde accumulates near the DNA of cells, severely damaging this critical cell component. This can lead to neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.” Death by Supermarket, pg 52.
- “Since the introduction of aspartame in the med 1970s, the incidence of brain tumors has risen exponentially. Evidence indicates that one particular type of brain tumor, primary lymphoma of the brain, may be associated with aspartame use. According to Dr. Blaylock, “It is a particularly nasty tumor with a high mortality rate.” Death by Supermarket, pg 55.
- “When aspartame was put before the FDA for approval, it was denied eight times. G.D. Searle, founder of aspartame, tried to get FDA approval in 1973. Clearly, he wasn’t bothered by reports from neuroscientist Dr. John Olney and researcher Ann Reynolds (hired by Searle himself) that aspartame was dangerous. Dr. Martha Freeman, a scientist from the FDA Division of Metabolic and Endocrine Drug Products, declared, “The information submitted for review is inadequate to permit a scientific evaluation of clinical safety.” Freeman recommended that until the safety of aspartame was proven, marketing the product should not be permitted. Alas, her recommendations were ignored. Somehow, in 1974, Searle got approval to use aspartame in dry foods. However, it wasn’t smooth sailing from there. In 1975, the FDA put together a task force to review Searle’s testing methods. Task force Team leader Phillip Brodsky said he “had never seen anything as bad as Searle’s testing” and called test results “manipulated.” Before aspartame actually made it into dry foods, Olney and attorney and consumer advocate Jim Turner filed objections against the approval.” Skinny Bitch, pg 32.
- “Splenda is made by chlorinating sugar, changing its molecular structure. The finished product is called sucralose. The makers of this poison tout its lack of calories and claim it’s safe for diabetics. The FDA calls sucralose 98 percent pure. The other 2 percent contains small amounts of heavy metals, methanol, and arsenic. Well, gee, at least it doesn’t have calories. So what if it has a little arsenic? Sucralose has been found to cause diarrhea; organ, genetic, immune system, and reproductive damage; swelling of the liver and kidneys; and a decrease in fetal body weight.” Skinny Bitch, pg 35.
- “Not only have multiple class action lawsuits been filed, but even the president of the National Sugar Association and the manufacturer of Equal are up in arms about Splenda. They each filed suit, claiming that Splenda manufacturers are misleading consumers into thinking the product is natural when it is ‘a highly processed chemical compound.’“ Skinny Bitch, pg 36.
Saccharin (Sweet & Low):
- “Saccharin is a coal-tar compound.” Skinny Bitch, pg 35.
I hope these quotes will make you think twice about popping open a can of diet soda, I know I’ve been changed.
Don’t get me wrong, I still crave Diet Coke whenever I bite into a veggie burger, but in those moments I just think formaldehyde, and the urge passes. (If you’ve spent any time in an anatomy lab, you’ll remember the nauseating smell of formaldehyde, used to preserve the cadavers.)
Repeat after me, “Diet Soda = Formaldehyde”
And I don’t know about you, but I ain’t dead yet.