Do you drink diet soda????


A Rant on Aspartame and Diet Soda.

Several years ago, I had a patient come into the clinic with muscle weakness, numbness in his arms and legs, headaches, vision problems, fatigue and a whole host of problems. He had been to his medical clinic and numerous tests were performed, including CT and MRI scans, blood work, tests for Lyme’s disease and MS. His working diagnosis was MS (multiple sclerosis) which is an autoimmune disease that affects the nervous system and ultimately muscle function. Since we have a comprehensive natural health approach at the clinic, he felt that we may be able to find something the medical doctors and tests did not.

We completed a pretty extensive history and exam, and had some of the findings his medical clinic had, but in asking about his diet, he said that he would usually have at least 6 cans of diet soda a day! Wow, how could they have missed that one?

What are the symptoms of aspartame “poisoning” (also known as Equal, Splenda and several other names, and is the prime ingredient in diet soda, diet foods and “sugar-free” products)? Well, first aspartame is a chemical poison. It contains Phenylalanine which can decrease serotonin (the feel-good brain hormone), and cause depression; Aspartic acid, which is a neurotoxin the increases free radicals and causes the death of healthy immune cells; and Methanol, which is wood alcohol that converts into FORMALDEHIDE in the body, and is also a neurotoxin.

The symptoms of aspartame poisoning are: blurred vision, fatigue, numbness, muscle weakness, depression, dizziness, “brain fog” and memory problems, to name a few. Sounds like MS right? It also sounds like Lyme’s disease. It can also lead to permanent nerve damage, so some people may stop using it but still have the permanent side effects. Methanol is also a know carcinogen and affects the brain function. Is your Diet Coke or Diet Mountain Dew worth your life and health??

Aspartame and most sweeteners also cause a spike in blood sugar, which sets up a cascade of problems that may lead to diabetes and metabolic syndrome. So, the thing you are using to lose or not gain weight is actually causing you to gain weight and store fat around your middle.

So what are the alternatives? Actually sugar is better than artificial sweeteners because it works with the cells, but we have a huge sugar addiction in this country (more on that in another blog), and that isn’t the best solution. One alternative is stevia, a highly sweet herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant. It is safe in its natural form and can be used to sweeten most dishes and drinks. We have several types and flavors of stevia (Stevita) at If you have to have the “fizzies” use a flavored stevia product in mineral water with lemon or fruit. It can be very refreshing and a good alternative to soda and Crystal Light (don’t get me started on that one!)

But keep in mind that even stevia can cause insulin issues, and should be used very minimally if you have problems with blood sugar, diabetes, high cholesterol and metabolic syndrome, since any sweetener can decrease your insulin sensitivity. It is also important to avoid “stevia-like” sweeteners, such as Truvia and PureVia as they’ve been highly processed and contain only the active ingredient in the stevia plant, which may have unforeseen biochemical ramifications. It is best to stay natural, wean yourself off your sweet tooth and use real fruit as your “sweet treat”. Once you get off the sugar wagon, most products will taste too sweet and anything artificial will really taste bad. Give it up for 30 days, and you will notice the difference, have more energy and feel better. It will be a new habit.

Dr. Susan