Is it ok to drink Diet [fill in the blank soda]? I miss it!

This is the question posed by a low-carber recently. I know there are constantly new low-carb friends coming aboard, but my response now is the response I am going to give 10 years from now. It’s the same response I began giving a year ago.

Aspartame is not ok. At least not for me and many others. Read on.

I drank Diet Coke for 24 years. I loved Diet Coke. I coveted diet Coke. As a second generation Atkineer, I began my Atkins journey at the age of 14. I drank Diet Coke for over two decades, certain that I was doing well for myself, staying away from all of that terrible sugar regular sodas contained.

I drank Diet Coke through four pregnancies. I drank Diet Coke until I was 38.

Along the way, some weird things began happening.

Half of my face started to go numb and twitch. I lost my balance and fell a lot. I started to notice tingling in my legs and in my arms. After years as a writer, I was losing words in my head. I couldn’t carry on a conversation without some stuttering or frustration because a word I knew I had wasn’t there in my head anymore.

I saw my Dr. who gave me an MRI. While tests were not conclusive, he intimated the possible beginnings of Multiple Sclerosis, a neurological disease.

Symptoms continued, worsened. I came across–thanks to LCF– a documentary discussing aspartame called Sweet Misery (a free download from Netflix). I was shocked and startled to see the symptoms I suffered were the same as those caused by neurotoxins–that which aspartame is likened to.

I threw out every single thing in my home that contained aspartame or any aspects of it.

Within two weeks, the facial numbness I had been experiencing constantly for years was gone. The leg numbness. Gone. The pins and needles. Gone. My slurred speech. Gone. Lost words. Gone. My lack of balance. Gone.

As an interesting side note, my husband had been suffering severe anxiety and mood swings. Within two weeks of stopping aspartame–gone.

Now, one could say this is anecdotal, but I would smile. I can, you know. I can feel my face to do it.

I would ask that anyone at all who thinks aspartame is not harmful in any way watch the documentary and then continue to feed their children sugar-free chewing gum with a clean conscience. I was appalled in the amount of stuff aspartame can be found in.

I also want to add that my four children all suffer from various severity of autism…

… a neurological condition.

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  1. Dana Seilhan says

    I drink it anyway, not because I think it’s fantastic for me but because (1) I don’t have any obvious reactions to aspartame and (2) I’m physically addicted like mad to caffeine, and I think psychologically addicted to fizzy stuff. Dunno why.

    Now I tend to drink Diet Dew… but the aspartame in that is kind of “cut” with the sucralose they also add.

    And I dunno, it seems to make a difference. When I run out of Dew and drink Diet Coke instead, I am more prone to headaches. It makes no sense but there it is. I don’t know if it’s a greater amount of NutraSweet that’s the culprit or whether some other ingredient that’s in DC but not in DMD is bothering me–the phosphoric acid maybe? Nah… maybe not.

    But man I wish they would just switch all mainstream diet sodas over to sucralose already. Even better, stevia. Even Truvia would be preferable, sugar alcohols or not.

    I try to kick it, I really do, from time to time. It’s got to be almost as hard for me as quitting smoking would be for someone else.

  2. Anonymous says

    How much were you drinking per day?
    I average 1 or 2 cans a day

  3. Anonymous says

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I’ve always been against artificial sweeteners just because they taste horrid.

    Dana I don’t know if you are trying to loose weight by staying low carb but you may want to look at your caffeine addiction. Caffeine interferes with ketosis. It releases emergency sugar stores into our blood stream and we will use it for energy rather than fat until it runs out or we have our next fix. That and the fact I have High Blood Pressure convinced me to finally kick my addiction.

  4. Diet soda is worse for you than regular soda. I’m convinced of that after watching my mom become physically dependent on it and gain weight after drinking it for years and years.

  5. iheartchocolate says

    I am an addict. I admit it, and after reading your post, ashamed. I drink at least 2, 2 liters a day of coke zero. I don't know how to stop! What can I substitute it for that isn't just water? Where do you get stevia drinks? Health food store? Help me with this process-PLEASE?

    Autism? Really? I am sorry, I had no idea. My mom has warned me for years sending me articles on it, but I just poo pood it all and kept on enjoying my addiction. I had no idea it was so serious!

  6. iheartchocolate says

    I notice you really support stevia, but I haven't seen it in stores. Does it really not impact your blood sugar? Splenda is bad for me, it takes me out of ketosis and acts for me just like sugar, spirring cravings and such. I really do want to make the transition to something else, but I have to have something to replace it with. Can you recommend some things? (other than water?)

  7. cleochatra says

    Hey there! Well I can't say definitively that aspartame causes autism, but if the chemicals are neurotoxins and autism is neurological in nature, it made me say hmmmmmmmmmmmm…

    Don't be ashamed! who knew, right? I drank the poison for 24 years! I am still symptom free ever since kicking the crap to the curb!

    Do I still miss it? Sure. But being able to feel my face is worth it. lol

  8. cleochatra says

    I have very woobly blood sugar and have had no issues with stevia. Granted, I do not recommend stevia with erythritol! That's a sugar alcohol derived from corn! Booo!

    I use sweetleaf stevia. It's the good stuff.

    Also, I switched from soda to iced tea and am now drinkin water. Bakc when I was addicted to colas, there was no way ion hell I could bring myself to drink water. It tasted bad! Can you imagine? Now that the crap is out of my system, I love water and the occasion iced tea, with stevia or without. Saccharine also doesn't cause me sugar issues and I'll use that in a fix in a restaurant on rare occasions.

    I can't stand Splenda.

  9. I gained a lot of weight when I switched from regular coke to diet (irony much?) but … I took a break from all soda for about a year and a half until I found the non-aspartame Diet Rite and the Diet Coke sweetened with Splenda (I know, you say 'Splenda, meh') and since I started to drink those, I don't have any of the problems I had with Diet soda; including the bloating, weight loss stalls or weight gain. While it IS better to drink water, tea, etc, I think 1 can of these 'safer' sodas is not going to be too bad in the long run. Just my $0.02 on this subject 🙂

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