Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's 11:30pm here on Wednesday night, as I'm getting ready to shut down. The computer AND myself. Man, I'll be glad when my shifts change from 7 - 3:30 to 8 - 4:30. That 1 extra hour of sleep will be nice to get back. I am not a morning person.

Meredith's playing the news to the left of me, and the wife is on the couch to the right of me. I believe we're going to do the blog here a little bit differently now. Either one of us can log on and give our two cents worth anytime rather than both of us at the same time or else, you know? It'll just be easier. And there's no format to speak of. This was intended to be a quick update of what's going on. Instead, I'll take as long or short as I want to. Janice is free to do what she wants, too.

So... one thing I can say I'm proud of is that I've been hitting the gym 3 days a week, for 2 hours a session, doing cardio and weights since May. I've run into health issues, like a return visit from Cal the Kidney Stone, that stalled things for a week or two, but other than that I've been very faithful to my regimen. I would dare say I'm in the best shape of my life, or at least so my wife tells me. Janice has been going to, more like five days a week, three days for weights and five of them she does cardio. The pounds are falling off her at this point, as her and Alexandra have joined TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly), a cheaper, more realistic alternative to Weight Watchers etc. So far, Janice has dropped 9 pounds in her 2 weeks, and Alexandra is down 3. Lex, of course, has less to lose, thus her weight will come off slower, and it may be a bit more of a tough road for her, but she's determined. Both will go back to taekwondo sooner than later. I won't be going back though, my TKD days are over.

I do have my eye out for jobs, as I'm only kind of satisfied what I'm doing. It's rather limiting, really. My wages aren't going to go anywhere and it's actually quite redundant, but, it's a job. And I like my co-workers. But there's that nagging feeling that there's gotta be more to work life than this. Still, it's a day job, Monday to Friday, with all my weekends off.

I guess I'm not going to make this an epic post, but there is something I want to address before I sign off. I got an e-mail from a watchful bro of mine, looking out for his kid brother, but the e-mail came with a warning from Microsoft saying that it may contain a harmful message. Boy, were they right! Not a virus or anything, but it's an article from, a health group in the States that, in my own humble opinion, is a bit shady and rather alarmist, bordering on health terrorists in some instances, like the following. Maybe that's why Microsoft warned me of it. Here is the link. It won't do anything to your PC or Mac.

Anyway, after reading that, I was like, "holy shit!! How long have I been ill or dead now??" I've had this love affair with Diet Pepsi and Diet Dr Pepper for something like 20 years! My wife even longer, if you include the wretched Diet Coke. And my ex boss/good friend Donnie Goguen drinks more diet pop than you could possibly imagine. TRUST me on that. I'm serious. So.... why, if any of this stuff is true, are we still here? And healthier than ever?! Or wait, maybe the clock is ticking.... any day now we're gonna keel over! See, that's the point. That's what these sites and so-called doctors try to incite with their frivolous claims: Fear, so that you buy into their schemes. Literally. Often with this Mercola crap, you'll find towards the end of an article, "just buy my book" or something similar to get the rest of the story.

I decided to do some research of my own from the much more reliable and reputable, and found a wealth of info countering the claims in that link:

Aspartame and the Internet
The following letter appeared in The Lancet on 3 July 1999. It is reproduced here with the permission of the publishers of this respected journal.
Sir - Patients at our diabetes clinic have raised concerns about information on the internet about a link between the artificial sweetener aspartame and various diseases. Our research revealed over 6000 web sites that mention aspartame, with many hundreds alleging aspartame to be the cause of multiple sclerosis, lupus erythematosis, Gulf War Syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, brain tumours, and diabetes mellitus, among many others. Virtually all of the information offered is anecdotal, from anonymous sources and is scientifically implausible.
Aspartame, a dipeptide composed of phenylalanine and aspartic acid linked by a methyl ester bond, is not absorbed, and is completely hydrolysed in the intestine to yield the two constituent amino acids and free methanol. Opponents of aspartame suggest that the phenylalanine and methanol so released are dangerous. In particular, they assert that methanol can be converted to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, and thus cause metabolic acidosis and neurotoxicity. Although a 330 ml can of aspartame-sweetened soft drink will yield about 20 mg methanol, an equivalent volume of fruit juice produces 40 mg methanol, and an alcoholic beverage about 60-100 mg. The yield of phenylalanine is about 100 mg for a can of diet soft drink, compared with 300 mg for an egg, 500 mg for a glass of milk, and 900 mg for a large hamburger (1). Thus, the amount of phenylalanine or methanol ingested from consumption of aspartame is trivial, compared with other dietary sources. Clinical studies have shown no evidence of toxic effects and no increase in plasma concentrations of methanol, formic acid, or phenylalanine with daily consumption of 50 mg/kg aspartame (equivalent to 17 cans of diet soft drink daily for a 70 kg adult) (1, 2).
The anti aspartame campaign purports to offer an explanation for illnesses that are prominent in the public eye. By targeting a manufactured chemical agent, and combining this with pseudo-science and selective reporting, the campaign makes complex issues deceptively simple. Sensational web site names (eg, grab the browser's attention and this misinformation is also widely disseminated via chat groups and chain e-mail.
People consult the internet about medical issues for various reasons and many users regard online sources as being authoritative and valid. The medical profession has a role in teaching our patients to be discriminating consumers of the information offered there.
Anthony Zehetner, Mark McLeanDepartment of Endocrinology, Westmead Hospital,Sydney NSW 2145, Australia
Aspartame. In: Gelman C R, Rumack B H, Hess A J, eds. DRUGDEX® System. Englewood, Colorado: MICROMEDEX, 1998. Edition expires 1999.
Anon. ADA position statement: use of noncaloric sweeteners. Diabetes Care 1991.

OUCH. Now that's harsh. Lay the smackdown on Merc's candy ass why don't you!

Anyway there's more, if you care to read, here, here, and perhaps most entertainingly from Time magazine here.

Now excuse me while I get my can of decaf Diet Pepsi before bed.

Good night.


  1. Yeah, I 've heard about Granted, I have not gone to it myself, but I know it claims that there some sort anti-aspartame conspiracy on the internet. I believe that is starting the consipracy. You don't need to go on the internet to learn of the real dangers of aspartame. All you need to do is look at the science and the studies of it. Notice there was no mention of this here. The gist of it is this: in the beginning, Searle, who wanted aspartame approved, funded studies on aspartame. During these studies, tumors formed in the animals, but they were cut out and thrown away, then the results were listed as normal. Later independent studies were done that discovered many problems with it.

    It is not unusual to find someone who has had some sort of malady they could not get away from, and then they stop ingesting sapartame, and suddenly they get better. Can these people deduce that what they had was aspartame poisoning? Sure! Scientific? No. But they can still come to that conclusion because it makes sense. If you go to bed at night and there's nothing on your lawn but grass, and you wake up in the morning and there's snow on the ground, you can deduce that it snowed during the night, even though you didn't see it snow.

    The components of aspartame are, in fact, in many foods. That's true. However, the effects are blocked by compounds and other elements, and while phenylalanine is in any food with protein, the amount is much less than in aspartame. Other foods have perhaps about 4% which the can safely breakdown for most people, but aspartame is 50% phenylalanine, which is why aspartame is required by law to have warnings on their labels for phenylketonurics. Phenylketonurics have to stay away from protein because they lack the enzyme that breaks phenylalanine down. If they ingest too much ( or anyone really--it's just easier with them) they can suffer mental retardation, or other brain damage. Simply put, the three elements that constitute aspartame, phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and then methanol(known to be a nervous system toxin that poisons the metabolism) when ingested together forms a toxic combination that that human body is not equipped to handle.

    Think of this issue this way: Why would people discuss the dangers of aspartame? I say, to help others. On the other hand, why would an independent, unbiased entity, like, say, (since you say they are respectable and reputable) claim emphatically that there is an anti-aspartame conspiracy? What do they get from it? I don't know. This is why I think they get money from aspartame or one of its affiliates to try to convince people it is safe.

    If your only research involved, I suggest you do more research on it. Frankly, it seems to me you believed so quickly because what they say is what you wanted to hear. The fair thing to do would be to research both sides of the issue, and then see what you think! I think you might be surprised!

    If you really drink as much as you say you do, and have not noticed anything in your body that has been nagging you that won't go away...good! But just because this is the case, it doesn't mean you won't have a problem in the future, or that other's experiences with feeling better after they gave up aspartame is untrue! In fact, the argument that you ingest so much aspartame for so many years and have not had any adverse effect is just as unscientific as those who claim they had aspartame poisoning because they had not felt well until they stopped ingesting it! That being said, I hope you continue to not experience any adverse effects and stay well!!!

  2. Interesting point of view. But, the evidence provided by Snopes wasn't created by them, it was acquired from various reliable sources, like numerous medical journals. They're not exactly a 'payola' site that takes monetary compensation in exchange for bias towards companies.

    I have gone off Aspartame for lengthy periods of time and not noticed any adverse effects. Hey, I'm on Zoloft too, because I have problems with my seratonin levels that effect mood changes, and it levels me right out. And no, Aspartame has nothing to do with this. I was in a number of accidents in my youth involving serious head injuries, and my taking Zoloft long predates my Aspartame consumption.

    Anyway, to each their own. But if ingesting Aspartame for the past 20-something years hasn't shown any side effects yet, I have to say it won't. Oh, and same goes for Zoloft. I dare say I wouldn't be here without it. And, my sugar levels were bordering on diabetes before I drank diet soda. Since then, I've never felt healthier. Huh!

    That's about it.

  3. More research....

    I dunno, it makes me think of the global warming thing. The vast majority of the world's scientists and environmentalists say and prove that it's happening, but a small group of naysayers insist it isn't. There are also the aspartame naysayers. I guess you can only prove so much based on factual evidence before bullshit tries to take over.