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I am guilty of drinking sometimes 4 liters of Coke Zero in a 24 hour period. I have often wondered if aspartame in these drinks can damage the endocrine system. If I think back to my high school day when I was skinny I can remember starting to pile on the weight after consuming Diet Dr.Pepper, could have been my diet but I doubt it. It wasn't enough weight to be alarmed but it was enough to gain a pant size.


Below is an interesting article on the effects of aspertame on the nuclei that transmits signals to the hypothalamus.





Aspartame, MSG, Excitotoxins & the Hypothalamus


By Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.


The hypothalamus is a small area of the brain, no larger than the fingernail, that despite its small size, is responsible for controlling some of the most vital neural systems in the body. The wiring of the hypothalamus is some of the most complex in the nervous system, with connections not only to the pituitary, but also to the limbic system (emotional control system), hippocampus, striatum and brain stem. Through these connections it regulates emotions, autonomic control ( parasympathetic and sympathetic), hunger and satiety, immunity, memory input, and anger control. Disruptions in this vital piece of brain can result in anything from minor behavioral problems or endocrine malfunctions to major disruptions in sexual functions, obesity, immune suppression and endocrine gland failure.


Newer findings indicate that the hypothalamus is involved in several

endocrine syndromes, neurological diseases and even psychiatric disorders.

As early as 1976, it was shown that aspartame feeding in mice could produce

lesions in the hypothalamus of newborns. It should be realized that these

are lesions (injuries) that can be seen through an ordinary light

microscope. While the lesions produced by aspartame doses equiavlent to MSG

will produce smaller lesions, they are significant none the less. Defenders

of the safety of aspartame and MSG often report studies that have shown no

damage to the hypothalamus when seen under the light microscope. Several

studies have shown that the neurons can be injured without such visible

physical damage being present. The effects may be physiological and

biochemical without physical changes in the neuron.


Within the hypothalamus there are a number of collections of neurons called

nuclei. The arcuate nucleus is consistently the most sensitive of these

nuclei to MSG and aspartame toxicity. We know that this nucleus regulates

growth hormone secretion, by way of the pituitary. But, what is less well

appreciated is the fact that this nucleus has intimate connections to the

other nuclei, such as the supraoptic nucleus and paraventricular nucleus.

Indeed, when animals are given doses of MSG or aspartame, these nuclei are

injured as well. Several studies have shown shrinkage of the pituitary,

thyroid, adrenals and gonads in animals exposed to high concentrations of

these excitotoxins. In addition, a consistent finding is gross obesity in

animals exposed to these excitotoxins early in life. Some have raised the

question concerning the connection between a high intake of food borne

excitotoxins and the dramatic rise in childhood obesity over the past two



In animals made obese by damaging hypothalamic nuclei, one frequently sees

accompanying violent outburst. We also know that directly injecting

micromolar quantities of MSG into certain hypothalamic nuclei can

precipitate an explosion of violence in experimental animals. The

hypothalamus is one of the areas of the brain not protected by the blood-

brain barrier. This is of special concern during childhood, since exposure

to high intakes of excitotoxins, such as aspartame, can alter the

development of the hypothalamus, leading to sexual maldevelopment and

endocrine problems that will appear later in life. For example, we know that

infant animals exposed to excitotoxins will have fewer offspring and the

offspring will be smaller than normal.


When the hypothalamus is exposed to excitotoxins early in life, the neural

connections are often misdirected. Something I have called, mis-wiring of

the brain. What this means is that a mis-wired hypothalamus will not react

normally to the internal and external environmental cues that normally

control our endocrine system. This could lead to infertility,

hypothyroidism, adrenal hypoactivity, growth retardation and even emotional

or intellectual problems later in life. All of these have been reported in

studies using excitotoxin models.


Many other problems have been traced to excitotoxin damage to the

hypothalamus. For example, it is known that exposure of infants to high dose

excitotoxins can result in immune system impairment throughout life. This

would translate into more infections, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.


Recently, Trocho and co-workers discovered that the methanol in aspartame

appears to attach to the DNA of cells after it is metabolized to

formaldehyde, and is not only very difficult to remove, but results in

numerous DNA deletion injuries. This could increase cancer risk as well as

risk of other degenerative diseases, such as lupus, diabetes and Alzheimer?s



It is now known that glutamate ( and therefore aspartate) is the major

neurotransmitter in the hypothalamus and therefore excess concentrations may

affect all of the various nuclei in the hypothalamus. This means that

virtually every function of the hypothalamus is vulnerable to excitotoxin

damage, both subtle and acutely dramatic, depending on the dose. In normal

everyday life we are exposed to numerous excitotoxins added to foods and

drinks, in the form of MSG, cysteine and aspartame. Several studies have

shown that these toxic doses are synergistic, that is, they are more than

just the sum effect of each excitotoxin. Therefore, a meal of MSG laden

soup, a diet cola and foods with hydrolyzed vegetable protein and natural

flavoring, could easily damage the hypothalamus, as well as other portions

of the nervous system. During pregnancy, the deleterious effects could be

even more devastating, since it will affect the development of the brain



Another possibility, is the effect of excitotoxins on the sympathetic

nervous system-controlling centers in the hypothalamus. Over stimulation

could result in cardiac electrical abnormalities leading to sudden death.

This has been demonstrated by hypothalalamic stimulation experiments. There

have been clinical reports of cardiac related emergency room visits

following a meal high in excitotoxin additives. Sudden deaths following such

meals have also been reported. Since most hospitals rarely consider this in

their differential diagnosis, we have no accurate data as to the number of

ER visits and deaths related to this event. I suspect the numbers would be

quite high.


In conclusion, there is compelling evidence to indicate that food additive

excitotoxins, such as aspartame, pose a serious danger to our well being,

especially so in the case of children and the elderly. It has been

demonstrated that excitotoxins in the diet can dramatically elevate free

radical generation for prolonged periods of time and that once induced, it

triggers a viscous cycle that ends in neuron death. Most authorities now

agree that elevated free radical generation is associated with virtually all

degenerative diseases as well as most injuries and toxins. It makes little

sense to expose the general public to a product that we know increases free

radical generation so dramatically and is associated with laboratory proven

injuries to the nervous system.


Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.


9 Lakeland Circle, Suite A

Jackson, Ms 39216

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Never. I don't drink soda much at all but if I do it is the real thing Aspartame scares me. My mom drinks diet Coke and I try to tell her how bad it is but she is addicted.

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Never. I don't drink soda much at all but if I do it is the real thing Aspartame scares me. My mom drinks diet Coke and I try to tell her how bad it is but she is addicted.


Same, although I drink more living with them then I did when I lived alone. However, I'm trying to make a conscious effort to drink mostly iced tea as my non-water drink of the day. My dad and stepmom drink diet religiously and always are like "it has no calories! it has no sugar!" as if that somehow makes it ok for you. I'm convinced the chemicals in it are truly awful for you, even if there is limited evidence supporting this theory.


Interesting article, peaches.

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Ouch! I never drank diet pop at all until I was diagnosed with diabetes 7 years ago. Eventually, I got tired of water and tea...always hated coffee. I also refused to eat anything containing aspartame while pregnant or nursing, which took up about 12 years of my adult life. Now, I am an addict. I guess I'll have to reconsider! Thanks for posting this.

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I read a recent study that shows that people who consume diet soft drinks gain more weight and are more likely to become diabetic than those who drink regular soda. The reasons foe this are still unclear.


Now where did I read this study? Hmmm...I'll have to see if I can find it.

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good article. I know that if I want to lose weight, I need to eliminate the diet cola. Not sure why it is that way, but suspect that the aspertame has something to do with it.

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I stopped my addiction to Diet Pepsi 10 years ago when I started being tested for MS. The neurologist said the aspartame can cause MS symptoms and is pure poison in the system.

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I'm wary of some of this junk science. I'm not sure how valid it is. Having said that, though, I'm also wary of aspartame. I don't drink many sodas, but when I do, I buy the diet ones with splenda in them OR I buy sparkling water and make my own.


There are several good brands of diet sodas with splenda:


Diet Rite and Diet RC

Kroger brand

Food Lion Brand (and other grocery store/chain brands)

Some Pepsi (maybe Pepsi One?)

Coke did have one with Splenda, but not sure if they still do

Orange Crush

There are some cream sodas (can't remember the name right now) with splenda


I crave the "fizz" a lot, so I tend to mix concentrated cranberry juice with sparkling water for my own fizzy drink. I love Fresca and wish they made it with stevia or splenda.


Again, I'm sure plain water is best, but since my BLA I'm having a hard time with plain water. In fact, I don't crave the fizzies as much, either. I want lemon/lime/cranberry tasting drinks with salt in them. Ha!







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I wouldn't say that the study I saw was necessarily junk science. I'm a biologist, so I normally have pretty good judgement when it comes to research. I'll see if I can find it - I know the research comes from a major university.


Melissa B.

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I just don't drink soda, period, or tea, or coffee... When I do, my liver and kidneys complain quite loudly, and my urine tends to match the color of Coca-Cola :(


When I do dirnk soda, it's only coke zero -- love splenda!


Stupid Cushing's.

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So here's an article on WebMD that references the study to which I had referred. It's interesting, but it's only one study. I dunno, take it for what its worth. (I'm on my cell phone, so I hope the link comes through.)


Melissa B.

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So here's an article on WebMD that references the study to which I had referred. It's interesting, but it's only one study. I dunno, take it for what its worth. (I'm on my cell phone, so I hope the link comes through.)


Melissa B.



Hi, Melissa. I remember this study. What bothers me the most about it is the fact they correlate the diet soda drinking to gaining weight. The converse could be true... I can't lose weight, so I'll drink diet sodas in an effort to try to lose. Not to mention the stigma of an overweight person drinking a regular soda. I know I'd get remarks from folks if I did. Instead of correlating diet soda drinking to obesity, why aren't they studying why obese folks can't lose even though they drink the diet sodas and possibly do all the other "right things"? Why can some folks eat all the junk food they want and drink the sugary sodas but never get obese? Why aren't they studying that? The problem is probably more endocrine than anything to do with sodas. This, to me, is junk science even though done scientifically. It's like "proving" that butterflies live longer if they can fly. Well, duh.


"Scientists" are more into getting the research money than they are into doing valid science anymore. I can say that because I have science degrees, so I'm belittling myself in a way, too. And that is one reason I respect Dr. F so much. He avoids the junk research and does valid research although he gets less research money for it. I won't get into the details unless someone is interested, but if you go to my blog and read the 4-part retrospective written by a smart person who has gone through the CUshing's journey, you'll get an inkling. It happens with Cushing's research, too.


I hope I didn't offend anyone. It was not my intention.




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No offense taken here, Robin! While I don't drink artificial sweeteners, I do agree that the study shows a correlation rather than causality.


Melissa B.

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No offense here. I really didn't post the article with the intention to correlate aspartame with weight gain/loss. It was more for the effects of aspartame on the endocrine system.

I never researched endocrine disruptor's prior to my surgery, maybe I have become a bit OCD with eliminating pesticides, soaps, laundry detergent ( Don't worry I'm not avoiding bathing I buy paraben free chemical free and make my own laundry soap), now it's on to certain foods. I never realized how many chemicals contribute to endocrine disorders. I know I can't eliminate all of them but aspartame will be one. It's killing me because my hubs drinks Coke Zero and it's sitting in my fridge as I type :ohyeah: I tried sparkling water La Cruix and it is defiantly going to take some getting use to! I can't have fruit juice because I am also trying to eat a yeast free diet for a while, I like water and green tea so I will manage.

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Before it all kicked off with me, I'd already

Noticed I was becoming intolerant to things

I couldn't drink pepsi max anymore would

Be bloated etc but also jittery and anxious

(Maybe the caffine)


I used to consume:


Muller light yogurts

Cadburys hi lights hot chocolate (used to mix it

With my porrige and have it for breakfast

Was sooooo nice)


Both of these have aspartemaine in them.


When I started out my journey I ended up at

A homeopath she said out of everything

Your not good with aspartemane is the worst

For me!!


I really notice now if I do have something with aspartemane

I had half a can of pepsi max last night

Never do normally since homeopath..but really fancied

Something fizzy other than water...


I could feel anxiety and a fast heart beat feeling


Within a few minutes!!


I know my mum lived on diet coke but

She has found out she has thyroid hypo, RA,

Gluten problem..and now is seeing endo re



She said to me I think the diet coke was

Keeping me going like your smoking!!


The homeopath said that the candidas is triggered

Through toxins like aspartemane, sugars etc

And it takes over your body and leads to all

These diseases...she said to my mum that she has had candidas

For years and years...


Sorry if I went off topic...but yes I do think

Aspartemane is very bad for us..should be banned!!



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I wouldn't say that the study I saw was necessarily junk science. I'm a biologist, so I normally have pretty good judgement when it comes to research. I'll see if I can find it - I know the research comes from a major university.


Melissa B.


Here's some information on the research:





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I stopped drinking diet 15 years ago after I lost the 100 lbs. I drink one regular coke in the morning for the daffene. Tha'ts it other than a LOT of gatorade out of necessity.

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I had an addiction to Coke -- regular coke or diet coke or coke zero. I started drinking a bit of Chrystal light pink lemonade sprinkled in my ice water -- it's still aspertame, but I use very little. I also found a great sugar-free flavored creamer for my coffee, which coffee sometimes bothers my reflux, but I love it. I don't know if it is aspertame or splenda. I'd have to look. It's carmel flavored, yum. Also, a bit of cinnamon in my coffee grounds is good and doesn't need any flavoring.


I'm looking for an awesome hot tea, without that strong tea flavor --lol. I'm not sure if anyone catches my meaning. I think tea is better for the tummy than coffee, but I don't like the taste that much. I would like one with caffeine and one without.


Anyone who says there isn't anything in soft drinks that are addicting, are lying. They must put some drug in it. Truthfully, I had a problem!

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