May 2015 

Diet Soda – Why Should You Avoid It?

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High fructose corn syrup is a blend of glucose and fructose and is significantly cheaper than table sugar, therefore making it very attractive to the food industry for its use as a sweetener.  It is found in very poor quality foods that are nutritionally void and filled with other disease promoting fats, salt, and chemicals.  The scary thing is that we are consuming high fructose corn syrup and sugar in pharmacologic quantities never before experienced in human history: 140 pounds a year per person versus 20 teaspoons a year 10,000 years ago! (1)

What happens when one consumes high fructose corn syrup?

  • Insulin spikes
  • Production of triglycerides and cholesterol is triggered
  • Toxic gut bacteria enter your blood stream and trigger inflammation  

These rapidly absorbing sugars enter the blood stream and go straight to the liver, causing damage and “fatty liver” conditions which affect 70 million people in this country. (1)  The glucose that is absorbed and causes the insulin spike leads to increased metabolic disturbances that drive increases in appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, and more. With childhood obesity rates more than doubling in children and quadrupling in adolescents in the past 30 years, it’s hard not to overlook the consequences of a diet that contains high fructose corn syrup in many of the foods we consume.

What about the effects of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) on the brain?

HFCS depletes the body of the natural mineral zinc which is responsible for cleansing the body of heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, and cadmium, as well as aluminum and other toxins that are known to disrupt proper brain development. (2) 

Not only does it deplete the body of minerals that help detox the body, but research has revealed that high-fructose corn syrup is contaminated with the toxic heavy metal mercury.  Studies published in Environmental Health and The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy found detectable levels of mercury in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first or second highest labeled ingredient. (3)

Aspartame can also have damaging effects on the liver and the brain.  Also known as NutraSweet and Equal, Aspartame is manufactured from aspartic acid and phenylalanine.  Methanol is released from the aspartame within hours of consumption and begins traveling through the body via the blood4.  Methanol coverts into Formaldehyde are a serious neurotoxin and carcinogen.  Aspartic acid also can affect your brain cells since it is capable of crossing your blood-brain barrier. (4)  These amino acids mediate the death of central neurons after intense exposure. (4)

Your blood-brain barrier, which normally protects your brain from toxins, is not able to adequately protect you against the effects of aspartame consumption because it: (5)

  • Is not fully developed during childhood
  • Does not fully protect all areas of the brain
  • Is damaged by numerous chronic and acute conditions
  • Allows seepage of excess aspartate into the brain even when intact

Pregnant woman should especially avoid the diet drinks sweetened with aspartame.  One large study which included more than 59,000 Danish women found that even just an average of one soda per day increased their risk of going into labor before the 37th week by 38 percent! (6)  The study also showed that those who drank four or more diet sodas increased their risk of premature birth by 78 percent. 

The research and publications are endless when linking diet soda to disease.  It is an addictive substance that is often hard for someone to give up.  However, by becoming aware of the potential side effects of “diet” foods and drinks, one can conclude that it should not be a part of anyone’s diet.  Soda can affect the absorption of many minerals and vitamins which are crucial for development of many systems of the body. 

Diet soda is just one of the many culprits in today’s society that is causing disease.  By knowing deficiencies and toxicities that make up one’s metabolic analysis, one can evaluate their lifestyle and make better choices to optimize their health.  It’s not easy knowing where to start.  That is where your experienced nutritionist can help you by analyzing your comprehensive blood analysis and hair tissue mineral test.  Ask us today on how you can start on your way towards better health!

If you would like to have a personal discussion about the subject matter of this newsletter you may reach me at (386) 956-1668.

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Have a Healthy Day!

Dr. Stephen W. Hayman 




1.  Diet Soda Intake Is Associated with Long-Term Increases in Waist Circumference in a Biethnic Cohort of Older Adults: The San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging.  Journal of American Geriatrics Society.  15, March 2015. 

2.  Meeting of the American Diabetes Association, San Diego, California, June 26, 2011

3.  Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings.  Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine.  Nueroscience 2010

4.  Martino, Joe. Aspartame Damages The Brain at Any Dose.  Collective Evolution. October 6, 2012


6.  Intake of artificially sweetened soft drinks and risk of preterm delivery: a prospective cohort study in 59,334 Danish pregnant women.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  2010 September.