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Confessions Of A Soft
Drink Addict - The Splenda Ruse
By Andrew K.

I have been a serious coke drinker since I was a kid. It was referred to in my home as nothing short of "the elixir of life," almost half jokingly. It used to be that an ice cold Coca-Cola was something you had on a hot day, or with a special meal out. My grandmother would keep those great little 6 oz glass bottles in the door of her fridge and anytime we visited, a Coke was the "treat." That was in the late 60s. A soft drink was something you occasionally imbibed, and there was nothing better on a sweltering hot day than pulling a 6 or 12 oz. frosty cold Coke from a slotted vending machine at a gas station and getting a shot of the "real thing."
By the mid 70s, drinking soda pop became a staple. You could buy enormous plastic liter jugs of the stuff and keep it around. The days of the glass bottle were passing, and soon coke on ice supplanted milk, water, iced tea, lemonade and fruit juice at almost every meal and between meals it became perfectly normal to knock back two or three tall glasses or cans per day. I began to find Coke-a-Cola to be mildly addictive. I found myself quite often' jonesing' for a coke at the strangest times. The excess caffeine and sugar only compounded my insomnia (if not the absolute source of it) and by the late 70s, early 80s, it was not uncommon at all for me to get in my car and bounce over to the nearest get-n-go that had a soda fountain and fill a pre-purchased 32oz hard plastic traveler mug at 2am. Open all night for all addictive pleasures, naturally. It was also during this time that the sugar free "diet" variety became popular and though I was originally mortified by the taste, being a coke addict and purist, I forced myself to graduate to Diet Coke to keep from gaining too much weight. It was a simple issue: I had to have a lot of Coke and in order to do that without throwing myself into type II diabetes (or worse) and gaining 100lbs, the diet concoction was the only way to go. I learned to love it.
To my surprise, the diet Coke was several times as addictive as original (then donned "classic" Coke after the big "new coke" ruse) Coke-a-Cola. It didn't have more caffeine and there was no sugar, so it had to have been either something else they were adding to it, or the Nutrasweet (aspartame) artificial sweetener itself causing the increased addiction. I continued to drink large amounts of diet Coke for many years. It seemed I was never without one, or would stop and fill my 32oz traveler mug when I was out and about. In addition to increased insomnia and other sleep disturbances, I also noticed short-term memory loss, trembling, night sweats, strangely intermittent joint pains, periodic muscle weakness and dizziness. I did not associate any of these things with my intake of diet Coke at the time, and neither did any of the many physicians I saw looking for the source of my many strange maladies. No doctor could ever nail the source of my problems, so I just learned to live with it. One doctor recommended I switch from caffeinated to caffeine-free diet Coke to resolve my insomnia and sleep disorders, but this had little or no effect on my overall condition, which seemed to just get worse and weirder with every passing year. I felt like I was rapidly aging, despite doing all sorts of things to combat my severe fatigue and neuralgia (I tried many different diets and vitamin routines. The one thing I did not take away was the diet Coke. That wasn't even on the table as a choice, as my addiction made sure of that).
Eventually I learned of the revolutionary new Diet Coke made with Splenda and bought the sales pitch about it being natural and made from sugar hook, line and sinker. I was elated that there was an option to Nutrasweet/Aspartame for an artificial sweetener because I slowly was learning of the dangers of phenylketonurics which contains phenylalanine. Readers of Rense.com should be well aware of the documented and archived research on this poisonous chemical cocktail thanks to the great work of Betty Martini (www.dorway.com). This stuff was nothing more than glorified formaldehyde and another component in Aspartame apparently converts into methyl-alcohol during digestion. I was resolved to get off regular diet Coke, even if it meant going back to classic Csoke and putting on the extra pounds. But Splenda came and saved the day. Or so I thought. I started drinking the Diet Coke with Splenda and continued my horrible habit of drinking the stuff continually (roughly 2-3 liters a day). Just like with Classic Coke, and regular Diet Coke, the Splenda version was still perfectly addictive. I craved it constantly and guiltlessly satisfied my craving without any thought to it being harmful. Many of the symptoms I had suffered with Nutrasweet vanished with the Splenda variety almost overnight, which also worked to sucker me into being a big fan of Splenda. I would later learn, Splenda was Sucralose, a 5 step chemical process akin to making a Frankenstein monster which is as follows:
According to the Splenda International Patent A23L001-236 and PEP Review #90-1-4 (July 1991), sucralose is synthesized by this five-step process: 1. sucrose is tritylated with trityl chloride in the presence of dimethylformamide and 4-methylmorpholine and the tritylated sucrose is then acetylated with acetic anhydride, 2. the resulting TRISPA (6,1',6'-tri-O-trityl-penta-O-acetylsucrose) is chlorinated with hydrogen chloride in the presence of toluene, 3. the resulting 4-PAS (sucrose 2,3,4,3',4'-pentaacetate) is heated in the presence of methyl isobutyl ketone and acetic acid, 4. the resulting 6-PAS (sucrose 2,3,6,3',4'-pentaacetate) is chlorinated with thionyl chloride in the presence of toluene and benzyltriethylammonium chloride, and 5. the resulting TOSPA (sucralose pentaacetate) is treated with methanol (wood alcohol, a poison) in the presence of sodium methoxide to produce sucralose. (1)
Even if you don't know what all these chemicals are, it should still scare the living daylights out of any sensible person. This was deadly, ridiculous stuff... all in the name of cheating nature so those of us firmly hooked on soft drinks could have our cake and eat it too, so to speak.
"Splenda (sucralose) is created in the lab, using a complex process involving dozens of chemicals you and I can barely pronounce - let alone consume. Basically, the chemists force chlorine into an unnatural chemical bond with a sugar molecule, resulting in a sweeter product, but at a price: a huge amount of artificial chemicals must be added to keep sucralose from digesting in our bodies. These toxic substances prevent (hopefully) the dangerous chlorine molecules from detaching from the sugar molecule inside the digestive system, which would be a carcinogenic hazard." (2)
For more than two years I consumed Diet Coke with Splenda, thinking I was doing the safest possible "diet" cola thing, when in reality I was ingesting something if not equally dangerous as Aspartame, perhaps even MORE dangerous. It was during the last year of drinking Diet Coke with Splenda that I developed a very serious and troubling heart ailment. Being a stubborn fool, I'm not one to run the doctor over every little thing, and having no health insurance and not being financially well to do, anything involving doctors and exams and treatments were reserved for the absolutely life-threatening. Likewise, some part of me was simply resolute that I had finally aged enough, smoked enough, eaten enough crap and gotten little or no exercise to the point that I was on the verge of congestive heart failure. In a more-or-less consigned state of depression and personal disappointment, I just accepted my own armchair diagnosis and procrastinated endlessly as to whether I should see a doctor and get a cardio exam.
Weeks became months and I had done nothing. I had developed a constant, frightening arrhythmia that left me weak and short of breath. My heart was skipping and missing beats almost continually, jerking around in my chest powerfully, and though painless it felt like someone was physically squeezing it or thumping it and knocking it out of rhythm. Each time it would skip or slosh weakly through a beat, I felt like my breath was being taken away, only to find it returning to normal for 20-30 minutes at a time, then resuming. Some days the amount of time my heart would fall out of rhythm would last so long that I had to lay down. I kept waiting for this to turn into something with pain, but it never did. And I thought more and more that is was terribly odd that I could have this happening so constantly and not have some episode or dramatic decrease in health enough to shove me into either the emergency room or to a cardiologist. Like with the Nutrasweet side-effects, combined with my stubborn ignorance (and fear), I learned to live with the arrhythmia. It never seemed to get worse (any worse would have been intolerable, perhaps even deadly). Stupid, yes. I know. But that's me. Stubborn Irish stock, slow to learn, self-destructive and mule-headed.
One afternoon I trekked to the local supermarket to stock up on my beloved "elixir" and found there was none. I went from store to store, but no Splenda Diet Coke anywhere. I thought this was really strange and inquired with several store managers, who told me they had heard it was going to be discontinued, that not enough people bought it, etc. The thought of going back to regular Diet Coke with Aspartame was mortifying to me, but providence had it that I would be without Splenda Coke for more than 4 days, due to a fluke in distribution in my area.
Lo and behold, I noticed by day 2 without the Splenda, my heart rhythm was perfectly normal. Not so much as a skipped beat! By day 4 and 5 I was entirely convinced, it was the Splenda which was directly effecting my heart rhythm. For well over a year I suffered this debilitating and frightening condition, and then it was absolutely gone. Several months passed and still, no return of the arrhythmia at all. Splenda, without a doubt, was attacking my heart. I don't know if that continued off-set of proper rhythm would have led to something worse or not. It was miserable and baffling, and to find that it was Splenda/Sucralose doing it was a shock. I wondered if others had the same or similar experiences and probably have seen doctor after doctor only to find that they haven't a clue what the source of the problem is.
I still have not overcome my addiction to Coke, though I've resorted to drinking considerably less and only regular Coke with the sugar (and have paid for that with the added pounds), but as with all addictions, its one day at a time and I know I can eventually kick it entirely. But I write this not to warn about addiction (as much of that may simply by my own nature and metabolism) but to warn about the very powerful and debilitating side effects of both Nutrasweet and Splenda. Don't make the mistakes I made. Don't buy the marketing bull crap. Both Nutrasweet and Splenda, even in small amounts, are poisonous and are causing, as I have learned, much suffering in people the world over. Even in those who did not drink the abnormal amount I did. Now we hear that soft drinks of any kind contain sodium benzoate...
"... which can be broken down into the listed carcinogen benzene in the presence of strong acids, such as the citric acid found in this product. Soda manufacturers have been aware of this synergistic possibility since the 1990s, but without pressure from regulatory authorities to change their formula to prevent the formation of benzene, have continued to mix benzoates and acids. Ironically, the high fructose syrups used in regular drinks seem to slow this reaction down, and the formation of benzene appears to be most problematic in diet drinks." (3)
Bottom line... stop drinking soft drinks. Switch to tea or fruit juice, purified water or make fresh lemonade. If you just have to have something carbonated, make sure it is not commercially produced with Sodium Benzoate, Aspartame, Phenylketonurics, Acesulfame K (ace K), Splenda/Sucralose. There is a wonderful, all natural sweetener called Stevia, an herb, which you can get at any health food store in liquid or powder form and it works excellently with non-carbonated drinks as a sugar supplement. Unfortunately, it doesn't do well with carbonation. It has no side effects and may even promote better digestion, among other potentially positive benefits.
(1) http://www.janethull.com/newsletter/1205/the_hidden_chemicals_in_splenda.php
(2) http://www.janethull.com/newsletter/1205/the_hidden_chemicals_in_splenda.php
(3) http://www.theecologist.org/archive_detail.asp?content_id=636



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