The Caffeine Aspartame Controversy
In 2005 the public consumed 10.3 billion cases of soda and diet soda combined. Advertisers spend billions of dollars promoting the refreshing drinks. Diabetics and dieters reach for the diet drinks as if reaching for lifeboats to save them from the sea of sugar. It is no wonder as regular soda contains 9 teaspoons of sugar. Is diet soda the solution or a health hazard?
Story of a diet soda addict
.My daughter, at age 37, drank at least ten 12 oz diet sodas per day for 10 years. After 8 years, she began to have serious problems, the worst of which was a severe bladder problem. When she began her habit, she weighed 120 pounds, and eventually weighed 165 pounds. At first, she drank only a few drinks but then craved more, especially when a headache from withdrawal developed. It took 2 years to overcome this addiction after a family intervention..
Role of Caffeine
The FDA recommends 400 grams of caffeine per day as the upper limit of tolerance for most people, varying by individual. According to medicinet.com, diet soda has about 47 grams of caffeine. Even those who are not addicted can suffer side effects by consuming too much at a time. Caffeine is a diuretic and can rob the body of fluid and calcium.
These are the some of the known side effects of excess caffeine:
Role of Aspartame
Diet soda contains the sweetener, aspartame. Dr. H.J. Roberts, a research specialist, states that his studies show that aspartame is addictive, may cause disease, and changes metabolism, resulting in weight gain. Studies at Purdue University and the University Of Texas back the weight gain evidence. Advocacy groups have urged the FDA to ban the sweetener, but the FDA believes there is not enough evidence for such an action. The original approval process of this chemical is questionable and has political implications. Studies performed over the years are deemed inconclusive.
The following are possible side effects of excess use of aspartame:
The controversy over these issues confuses consumers, especially the lack of consensus about addiction. Who will inform the diet soda drinkers of the safe limit? What is a safe limit? Who will dare utter the word “addictive?” As long as the public is not informed about the risks and there are no warning labels on soda, the hazards will continue. Dr, Marcelle Pick who wrote, “Diet soda –how healthy is it?” advocates drinking one or two diet sodas on a short-term basis but using water as the default drink. Consumers then could reach for a sparkling glass of water and embark on a path to good health without the worries of caffeine, sugar or aspartame. .