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View Diary: Aspartame: not enough outrage. (116 comments)

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  •  Fun story about lifelong Diet Coke addict who (10+ / 0-)

    recently quit here. She suffered withdrawal symptoms from the NutraSweet (aspartame). She didn't quit caffeine...replaced the DC's caffeine w/coffee.

    Aspartame is nasty, nasty stuff. Just wish the diarist had actually written a SUBSTANTIVE diary about it, and the almost 30-year controversy that has followed since its hasty approval in the deregulated Reagan era.

    Sweet are the uses of adversity...Find tongues in the trees, books in the brooks, and good in everything. -Shakespeare, As You Like It.

    by earicicle on Sun Mar 22, 2009 at 07:29:07 AM PDT

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      •  Some day I'll learn that Facebook thingie! (0+ / 0-)

        And BTW, I hear that the crazy illustration accompanying the article perfectly captures what the Irish-American author looks like. I hear the author loved it so much she bought the original from the artist and hung it over her desk!

        Sweet are the uses of adversity...Find tongues in the trees, books in the brooks, and good in everything. -Shakespeare, As You Like It.

        by earicicle on Sun Mar 22, 2009 at 06:41:34 PM PDT

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    •  Aspartame-free since 1986! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      earicicle

      STILL pissed at Reagan-era policies that let that crap be approved for human consumption.  

      Used to live on diet soda (Tab/Diet Coke) back in the day. Saccharine was not ideal, but I was young and it didn't seem to be causing me any problems, so a few diet sodas a day were typical for me. Moved to the UK in '83, and drank more diet soda there, to offset lack of decent coffee back then.  When I moved back to the US in '85, I kept downing my usual diet beverages, except...something was different now.  They'd replaced good old bad old Saccharine with a new sweetener, Aspartame (NutraSweet), and my central nervous system did NOT approve.  

      It crept up on me as the concentration of the substance built up over the first month or so - inexplicable headaches I put down first to jet lag and stress, then to long hours and too much caffeine and nicotine (no caffeine-free diet colas back then, and I was a smoker, which didn't help).  But as time wore on, the headaches were more constant, and they brought along other symptoms: small-muscle twitches, a metallic taste in my mouth, gastro-intestinal distress, rapid heartbeat, localized numbness (tongue, jaw, neck, arm, hands), and finally full-blown panic attacks.  Scary, 0-to-60, calmly going about my business to dizzy, gasping for air, I-can't-feel-my-hands panic attacks.

      I was in and out of the ER, getting neuro tests I couldn't afford (no insurance, of course - I was a freelance artist and window display designer at the time).  I'd been hit by a car and suffered a mild TBI (severe concussion) a year earlier and they were trying to rule out complications from that.  After nothing showed up, they did heart tests, psych tests, and allergy tests - nada (though I did find out that I was mildly allergic to penicillin and oysters).  It was frustrating and scary.  I went on an elimination diet during the allergy testing, to rule out common things like gluten or dairy allergy.  The only constants, things never eliminated, were coffee and - you guessed it - Diet Coke.  Finally, in desperation, I dropped both.  

      Within a week my symptoms disappeared.  I missed coffee more, so reintroduced it first.  Still no symptoms.  Hmm.  Brought back the Diet Coke and was violently ill within 24 hours.  After that, it never failed - whenever I'd forget to read a label (Aspartame is everywhere!) I'd get sick, in a very specific way that told me what was going on.  With very few exceptions (as when restaurant personnel helpfully decided that since I was not thin, what I really wanted was a diet soda), I've been Aspartame-free for years.  I gave up soda in favor of selzer due to concerns about HFCS and empty calories about 10 years ago.

      Aspartame is evil.

      •  Saccharine got a bad rap in the rush to bring (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Vacationland

        aspartame on the market, IMHO. Your story is powerful evidence. Thank you for sharing it, but I'm sorry you went through hell!

        Sweet are the uses of adversity...Find tongues in the trees, books in the brooks, and good in everything. -Shakespeare, As You Like It.

        by earicicle on Sun Mar 22, 2009 at 08:06:18 PM PDT

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