arydberg
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Can Diet Coke Lead To In Flight Brain Seizures?

Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:52 pm

No way. Preposterous, Impossible. That is what I thought too. After all who am I to question the FDA.

But some research into the effects of aspartame turned up some interesting aviation links that suggest otherwise. At least that's what the people who experienced them feel.

It appears there is enough information out there to question the safety of diet drinks.

Here is a report of a seizure while still on the ground,

http://aspartamesafety.com/web/acsn-pilot-hotline-2/aspartame-flying/

Other links also support the notion that perhaps drinking diet soda is not a wise choice for pilots. Here is a link that reports on two pilots having seizures in flight.

http://www.dorway.com/aviators.html

And more of the same here.

http://www.mpwhi.com/pilot_aspartame_alert.htm

Of course all these could be wrong. If so the penalty for choosing sugar over aspartame is miniscule but on the other hand the error by drinking diet soda could be huge.
 
AA737-823
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RE: Can Diet Coke Lead To In Flight Brain Seizures?

Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:01 pm

Quoting arydberg (Thread starter):
After all who am I to question the FDA.

For goodness sake, if we haven't figured out by now that we NEED TO QUESTION THE FDA, we're just plain stupid.


In regards to the topic, as a small child I had an unusual issue with migraine headaches, followed by extreme nausea and dizziness. They were eventually (after much suffering, sorry to say) traced back to aspartame.

It's not a subject I normally lecture/preach on, but today I'll make an exception.
 
2175301
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RE: Can Diet Coke Lead To In Flight Brain Seizures?

Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:08 pm

Perhaps - for a few select people in this world of multi-billions. There are always the select few with medical conditions who react where about 99.99999999% of other people don't.
 
mtnwest1979
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RE: Can Diet Coke Lead To In Flight Brain Seizures?

Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:43 pm

If this were to occur to anyone in the US, it would be I.
As a constant consumer of diet colas, from dawn til dusk, and very frequent flyer, I would be about the first ( or second ), to be riddled with all of the alleged health problems that I have heard stories of.
Not saying they haven't affected others, but I truly get tired of hearing thesde things over and over etc.

Also, the thread title is a bit biased. Diet Pepsi would also fit this profile.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
 
WesternA318
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RE: Can Diet Coke Lead To In Flight Brain Seizures?

Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:06 pm

Quoting mtnwest1979 (Reply 3):
If this were to occur to anyone in the US, it would be I.
As a constant consumer of diet colas, from dawn til dusk, and very frequent flyer, I would be about the first ( or second ), to be riddled with all of the alleged health problems that I have heard stories of.

Mtn,

do you remember Tab cola? Didnt their cans say that aspertame was linked to cancer or somethign like that? I use to drink that junk all the time!
Check out my blog at fl310travel.blogspot.com!
 
srbmod
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RE: Can Diet Coke Lead To In Flight Brain Seizures?

Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:09 pm

Quoting WesternA318 (Reply 4):
Didnt their cans say that aspertame was linked to cancer or somethign like that? I use to drink that junk all the time!

That was saccharin. The warning labels started to go away as a result of the discovery that there are elements in the urine of rats that made them susceptible to bladder cancer and that human urine lacks those elements and this disproved the link that was being made between saccharin and cancer. One interesting thing to note is that saccharin is still banned in some countries but those countries did not ban sodium cyclamate, another artificial sweetener. For example, Coke Zero in parts of Europe and South America uses sodium cyclamate.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Can Diet Coke Lead To In Flight Brain Seizures?

Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:32 am

The concern with aspartame comes from the fact that it is a small protein. It consists of two amino acids, phenylalanine and glutamic acid (which is also called glutamate). Glutamate is a strange amino acid. When combined with phenylalanine, it tastes sweet. When used alone (typically as the sodium salt called monosodium glutamate) it doesn't taste like anything but intensifies other flavors. MSG has long been blamed for a number of ill-effects, but the interesting thing is what if you give people who say that they have bad reactions to MSG a placebo and tell them that it has MSG in it, they get the same side-effects.

Glutamate, on top of being an essential amino acid, is also a neurotransmitter that activates neurons in the brain. It is present naturally in the brain and is used as a neurotransmitter there under normal conditions.

So what happens if you eat a bunch of glutamate? Well, the body has a bunch of physiologic systems to prevent it from hurting you, including very strict regulation of what crosses the blood-brain barrier. The amount of aspartame in a typical soft drink is relatively small (on the order of 100mg, of which less than 50% is glutamate by weight). By contrast, you get a lot more glutamate from a steak.

Aspartame has long been the target of a conspiracy theory in which critics claim that since 1974 there has been a cover-up of the dangerous health-effects of aspartame. They forget that other chemicals and additives with relatively minor effects have been pulled off the market for very small/insiginificant effects and that if there were actually a demonstrable effect that someone would have blown a whistle after 36 years of use.

The three websites you cite are all anti-aspartame websites and they will grasp at any story to demonstrate that it is dangerous. They're exactly as trustworthy as anti-vaccine sites and anti-round earth sites. Aspartame in the quantities usually consumed by soda drinkers simply doesn't provide enough of any of the components to cause toxicity.

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 1):

In regards to the topic, as a small child I had an unusual issue with migraine headaches, followed by extreme nausea and dizziness. They were eventually (after much suffering, sorry to say) traced back to aspartame.

But how? Because some doctor said so? If so he had no rational basis on which to make that assumption unless he did blinded placebo-controlled trial. The caffeine in the soda, on the other hand, can do exactly what you describe.
-Doc Lightning-

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Fly2HMO
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RE: Can Diet Coke Lead To In Flight Brain Seizures?

Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:33 am

Quoting arydberg (Reply 7):
This is troubling.

What I find much more troubling is that the media is so keen to jump on things that are a non-issue and blow everything they touch up to epic proportions and scare the crap out of people, at least the more gullible types (which seems to be the vast majority)

As for me, I hate and avoid anything with the word "diet" on it, just because it tastes like crap compared to the non-diet version of whatever the product is.
 
Airstud
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RE: Can Diet Coke Lead To In Flight Brain Seizures?

Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:07 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 6):
glutamic acid (which is also called glutamate).

Why, why, WHY; I ax you WHY must the chemistry people give multiple names to the same thing. I was reading up on ulcerative colitis (which my sis suffers from) and she takes sulfasalazine for it. According to what I read (in the 1995 edition of the PDR, which I had no business "reading" since I got a D-double-minus in chemistry), sulfasalazine has two main parts; sulfapyridine and 5-aminosalicylic acid or "5-ASA." Then it turns out this 5-ASA goop is also called "mesalamine." Well for petey's sake if it's legit to call it "mesalamine" then why also allow it to be called 5-aminosalicylicaesarsalad on top of it?!? Why not put freakin' "mesalamine" on the birth certificate and have done with it?!!?

Phew.

Sorry to get worked up about this...but chemistry is something that I really wish I understood better (read: at all) and I somehow get the sense that the chemistry community has an ongoing effort to keep the subject even more complicated than it already is, at its simplest.
Pancakes are delicious.
 
oly720man
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RE: Can Diet Coke Lead To In Flight Brain Seizures?

Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:20 am

Quoting Airstud (Reply 9):
Why not put freakin' "mesalamine" on the birth certificate and have done with it?!!?

It's also known as mesalazine in the UK.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesalazine

and its real name is

5-amino-2-hydroxybenzoic acid

The numbers 2 and 5 refer to which bond (or corner) on the benzene ring (the hexagonal structure) the other chemical groups are on. The Amino (NH2) is in position 5 and the hydroxy (OH) in position 2. The acid (-OOH) is in position 1.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzoic_acid

Organic (carbon based) acids have an OOH somewhere in them

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methanoic_acid

which can be a little confusing because in inorganic acids, you usually think of acids being H based, HCl, H2SO4 (hydrochloric and sulphuric respectively) and alkalis having an OH (NaOH, sodium hydroxide or caustic soda)


The names of some chemicals can be rather long, eg tartrazine, the food colourant

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartrazine

a.k.a. Trisodium (4E)-5-oxo-1-(4-sulfonatophenyl)-4-[(4-sulfonatophenyl)hydrazono]-3-pyrazolecarboxylate

so shorthand names are used. Different countries can have different naming conventions or terminology,eg the -amine/azine above. America spells it sulfur, other places sulphur.
wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
 
Go3Team
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RE: Can Diet Coke Lead To In Flight Brain Seizures?

Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:39 pm

Quoting arydberg (Thread starter):
If so the penalty for choosing sugar over aspartame is miniscule

Not for diabetics.

I hated Diet Coke until I became diabetic, now it's my drink of choice.
Yay Pudding!
 
arydberg
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RE: Can Diet Coke Lead To In Flight Brain Seizures?

Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:45 am

Here is another link that suggests aspartame may effect flying safety. Scroll down to the last article "Aspartame not for Dieting Pilots"


http://flightsafety.org/hf/hf_mar-apr90.pdf
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Can Diet Coke Lead To In Flight Brain Seizures?

Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:54 am

Quoting Airstud (Reply 8):

Why, why, WHY; I ax you WHY must the chemistry people give multiple names to the same thing.

Glutamic acid is the glutamate base with a hydrogen ion on the acid group. Glutamate is the deprotonated (free base) form. When either glutamic acid or sodium glutamate are dissolved in water, free glutamate results and exists in equilibrium with glutamic acid. They are different, although from a biological perspective, they are the same.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
Airstud
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RE: Can Diet Coke Lead To In Flight Brain Seizures?

Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:34 am

*dissolves crownic royalate, with lemon in its freewedge form, in soda water*
Pancakes are delicious.
 
TWFirst
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RE: Can Diet Coke Lead To In Flight Brain Seizures?

Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:39 pm

I've been drinking Diet Coke since 1994 and I haven't had a seizhuha;afs'j'ad..adfajfadfoiuahf;daoifdsha;oi
fdjs';ja';;fdsalkfj;adflk;adlfhbvs'poiav';oadjf'mfda;asikbna'ivfnb'ianv'fdna'dfa;dfjn;foi;idsafkfdsa;fdsalk;fdaklfds
aa;fdslk;akjfdkjaf....... adpfpqugrewgloufewa.

Excuse me... not sure what happened there...  

Seriously though, compared to all the chemicals and compounds we're exposed to in much higher concentrations every day... that are known definitively to be harmful... the aspartame controversy is silly.
An unexamined life isn't worth living.

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