Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Aspartame is NOT Safe!

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

me long ago!It’s time to talk about sweeteners.  If you’re like me this is a serious subject. I want to live a long life but not a boring one. I like my coffee, which some studies have shown cuts the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.  But I never learned how to drink coffee black and I can’t drink it without a sweetener of some kind.

Life is sweet, but life without ice cream or any other dessert? Yes, I like fruit as a source of fiber, but not as a replacement for dessert.

Years ago I started drinking a lot of diet Coke with Lime.  I prided myself on the fact that I was avoiding excessive sugar. My girlfriend, however, who worked in a neurologist’s office, told me that aspartame was not good for me. “That stuff eats your brain,” she said.  At the time I dismissed such warning as anti-technology alarmism.

Every few years a new sweetener rears its head and we are told it is safe. Remember saccharin? Remember cyclamates?

Now we are being told that Aspartame is safe. Reality check: who is telling us this? Doctors who care about our health? Or merchants who want to sell it to us? I think you know the answer to this.  Even Coca-Cola touts it on their new “Wellness” page.

Aspartame goes by the names Equal, Candarel and NutriSweet. Starting in 1974 the US Government began approving its use as an additive to dry foods; additional approvals followed. Now let’s not get started on the old conspiracy theory bandwagon. I’m not going there. I’m also not going to talk about cancer danger scares.  Let’s talk simple chemistry instead.

Aspartame is broken down in living cells into methanol.  My first experience with methanol or “wood alcohol” was in Introductory Physical Science where we learned you can make it by heating boxwood in a test tube after driving the air out. Methanol is poisonous. If you consume enough of it you go blind. Take even more of it and you will die.

But didn’t animal studies show that Aspartame is safe? Yes, in low doses, because in animal cells the methanol is broken down into formic acid.

But it is INVALID to use these studies as a model for human intake of aspartame. Humans lack a key enzyme that animals have. We don’t break the methanol down all the way into formic acid.

Would you like to know what the end product is in human cells? We break methanol down into FORMALDEHYDE.  This is a poison and preservative used to in embalming corpses.

I used to wonder why drinking soda with Aspartame in it gave me headaches. Now I know. it was because I was converting it to methanol and formaldehyde, both poisons.

Do yourself a favor. Don’t eat things your body will convert into poisons.  With all its pitfalls, sugar is safer. Honey’s even better.

—MRK

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Better living though chemistry

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

I should be celebrating, because the first draft of Gamers and Gods: Asklepios is complete.

I should be…but I’m not. I’m in the process of trying to pass a 4mm kidney stone.

The good people in the ER gave me a prescription for Percocet, but this pain is so intense that the painkillers aren’t killing it, they are only managing it.

I got home from the hospital at 7:30 yesterday morning. By 10am the stuff they had pushed into my IV at the ER was wearing off, so I took a Percocet.

It lasted for about 6 hours. I took another one at 4pm and it lasted 6 hours too. (the prescriptions had said 1-2 tablets every 4 hours).

At 10PM I took a third Percocet, figuring if the trend continued it would take me through most of the night.

It didn’t. The third pill wore off around 2 am — only lasted 4 hours. This means that either the third one was less potent or the stone was definitely on the move again.

For those of you who have never passed a kidney stone, I can tell you that the rumors of it being as bad as childbirth are pretty true. What happens is that the stone, a tiny chunk of minerals crystallized out of the urine in the kidney, has to pass through tight-fitting tubes: it cuts grooves, etching its way down these tubes.

When it does this, the tubes go into spasm, which generates the pain.

Kidney stones can apparently take years to form if the cause is excess uric acid (which also causes gout if the crystallization occurs in joints or extremities). They can also form in as little as a few days if the body is dehydrated so there is not enough water in the urine to keep the minerals dissolved. It’s been hot here in Florida, and I sweat most of the time, even in my sleep. This may have led to my problem. I have to force myself to drink more fluids than I did in my air-conditioned apartment in Virginia.

Since I am awake most of the night with this pain, I am distracting myself by beginning the sequel.

–MRK

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