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07/09/2006 02:29:37 AM · #1
I got the scare of my life tonight . As some of you may know, I live with 20/200 vision (20/100 corrected), due to toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. Yet, photography is my life and career. I can't imagine life without it.

I was edittiing some photos earlier today (also, messing around on DPC) when all of a sudden I could not see anything but birght blinking lights and squiggly lines. I developed a headache in front of my head and mostly all I could see was in my peripheral vision. I left the computer sitting and went and laid down, thinking I had over-exhausted my eyes.

After I regained my vision (about 3 hours later), I googled the symptoms I was having, just to see what I might need to ask the eye doctor, if I need to go.

The first link that popped up was this:
http://www.dorway.com/betty/eye.txt

Oh smack, there goes my syptoms and I do drink a lot of Diet Coke (6+ a day).

That was cause for alarm, so I researched more, searching for aspartame toxicity. I found this link:
http://www.sweetpoison.com/aspartame-side-effects.html

There are over 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption.

I went through the list and found I notice the following un myself:
**decreased vision and/or other eye problems such as: blurring, bright flashes, squiggly lines, tunnel vision,
**decreased night vision
**pain in one or both eyes
**decreased tears

dizziness, unsteadiness, both
confusion, memory loss, both
severe drowsiness and sleepiness
numbness of the limbs

depression
irritability
personality changes

palpitations, tachycardia -- I went to the ER once for this, Drs found nothing wrong and a cardiologist wrote it off as anxiety.

diarrhea & abdominal pain --quite often

excessive thirst -- I constantly am drinking something, usually Diet Coke

I'm coming off Diet Coke, since I notice that I have too many symptoms showing that are related to aspartame. If you use it, and are seeing any of these sysptoms, please stop. I'm thoroughly convinced we are killing ourselves.

I'm praying God let that link hit me for a reason and that hopefully I haven't done any permanent damage to my vision or my general health.
07/09/2006 02:35:56 AM · #2
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:


I'm coming off Diet Coke, since I notice that I have too many symptoms showing that are related to aspartame. If you use it, and are seeing any of these sysptoms, please stop. I'm thoroughly convinced we are killing ourselves.

I'm praying God let that link hit me for a reason and that hopefully I haven't done any permanent damage to my vision or my general health.


I hope you'll be okay. I'm thinking that once it gets out of your system that should be okay? I don't know... I'll say a prayer for you now. I know how scary it is to think aieee, did I just do something permanent to myself accidently?

I second the plea that you made to stop intaking aspartame. I haven't had more than a headache with it, myself, but...

I worked in a margarine factory in the lab. One thing I did was to mix the artificial flavor. When there is artifical flavor, color, anything.... it's just a chemical. Someone somewhere is putting an unnatural chemical into what you're eating or drinking, and it could be just about anything. We would keep one of the chemicals in hard plastic bottles, and write the date with a sharpie... and we'd wipe the sharpie marks off, after, with the chemical we were putting in the flavoring.

My goal is to avoid most everything artificial.. but the two main culprits, I've read, is the aritifical flavor in margarine, and aspartame.
07/09/2006 02:49:24 AM · #3
Rummy's disease

That stuff is in everything:((
07/09/2006 02:56:08 AM · #4
Thanks for the prayers ks... I appreciate it.

You know the funny thing is after doing more research, I saw that aspartame causes you to crave carbs and food in general, so you don't actually lose weight on it.

I'm not putting anymore of it in my system, not after the scare I had tonight. Anyone know of any good detox programs?
07/09/2006 03:03:40 AM · #5
I'd not heard of the craving carbs thing... that is really ironic, sadly.

Drink a lot of water. That should help flush your system faster (in addition to, if you're accustomed to drinking a lot, it will help to have something to substitute for the soda).
07/09/2006 03:03:48 AM · #6
I don't drink diet coke, but I've experienced some of these symptoms in my life (blurring, bright flashes, squiggly lines, tunnel vision). I should probably see an eye doctor, but I've only had this problem about 3-4 times in the last 14 or so years. I should probably do a little research to maybe see what these symptoms mean for me.
07/09/2006 03:07:50 AM · #7
What else is that crap in? I have eye aches quite regularly.
07/09/2006 03:09:12 AM · #8
Scary stuff. Btw, is aspartame used in cheese? :P

Seriously, I hope this was just something temporary.
07/09/2006 03:11:00 AM · #9
I drink a lot of Ice Coffee (home made)with heaps of ice. Actually I am a caffeine addict...lol!! And I know that I do need new glasses....maybe I should have another look at things after reading this.
07/09/2006 03:12:03 AM · #10
Aspartame is in a lot of stuff - anything that is low sugar or sugar free you need to check the ingredients list. Sometimes the artifical sweetner will be Splenda instead, but that gives me stomach aches and while people say it's okay, it still isn't recognized by the body as anything good.

I do mostly alright with staying away from "diet" products. That can include things that don't say "diet" or "low sugar" on them, like Slimfast bars (although their High Protein ones are okay).

I do get more sugar this way, and that's not completely healthy either, but I prefer it.

Also when you're checking ingredient lists - a good rule of thumb is that anything you cannot pronounce is something artifical that you don't want in your body.
07/09/2006 03:13:42 AM · #11
I recently read a report that they were going to replace sugar in regular cola's with aspartame. I went on to say almost everything that contains sugar could and would be replaced with this toxic chemical.

If it were a drug it would be pulled because of the side effects.

My mother consumed about 1 or 2 diet cokes a day for several years. They could not tell her what was going on when she would have server headaches; described as behind the eye. We she has been off colas and only drinks water now. She has lost almost 70-lbs. Here vision was still, as she describes - filmy like with light streaks. She went to the eye doctor and was diagnosed with blood vessels leaking around the retina. She has to go to the doctor Monday to see what they will do or if they can do anything. The doctor that diagnosed her problem asked if she had consumed a large amount of aspartame.

Please have your eyes examined again if it's been close to a year.
I wish you the best.
07/09/2006 03:14:04 AM · #12
Originally posted by Judi:

I drink a lot of Ice Coffee (home made)with heaps of ice. Actually I am a caffeine addict...lol!! And I know that I do need new glasses....maybe I should have another look at things after reading this.


Caffeine actually has been shown to be beneficial... just sweeten the coffee with sugar. Do you make your own coffee or get it pre-made? If pre-made, I'm sure there are some out there that don't have artificial sweeteners.

edit: I know you said it's home made but I'm not sure you don't mean a mix that you do something additionally to at home. (just wanted to let you know I did read what you said!)

Message edited by author 2006-07-09 03:16:36.
07/09/2006 03:18:26 AM · #13
Originally posted by Southern Gentleman:

I recently read a report that they were going to replace sugar in regular cola's with aspartame. I went on to say almost everything that contains sugar could and would be replaced with this toxic chemical.

If it were a drug it would be pulled because of the side effects.


Do you have a link to the report online? That sounds very scary... :-\

Sodas are really bad anyway because of, not just the sweetners, but the acid (in diet or regular) so I just need to be drinking tea and coffee for the caffeine...

Let us know what happens with your Mom?
07/09/2006 03:22:45 AM · #14
First off Aspartame is bad. Not a bad idea to give it up at all.

Your symptoms also fit a Migraine headache too though (just something to consider). you don't even have to have a headache to have a Migraine even (strange as that might sound). I have CFS (which had all kinds of wacky symptoms) and when I was being diagnosed Migraines is one of the things they considered (though I very rarely ever have headaches). I did a bunch of research and there's a lot of really weird things that can happen - maybe check into that.

all kinds of stuff can cause Migraines including staring at you monitor all day ;) Fluorescent lights are a common trigger too. for whatever reason migraines are becoming more and more common all the time.

As far as giving up Diet Coke, fountain drinks contain saccharin still instead of aspartame (aspartame doesn't mix right or something). so if you live Diet coke you can always go to McDonald's or something and order up a large Diet Coke and feel comforted that it's aspartame free :)

Message edited by author 2006-07-09 03:24:36.
07/09/2006 03:23:46 AM · #15
wow, yeah, I hope everything is ok...

Also, I took an environmental class last year and learned that the average person has over 200 foreign chemicals in their bloodstream alone, meaning that it's not accounting for the rest of your organs. You should also see all the horrible stuff that's getting into breastmilk and the stuff is still far better for babies than formula or anything else; now that's a miracle liquid. (found out all kinds of REALLY cool facts about that if anyone wants to know)

but anyway, yeah, diets are usually NOT good for people. The best thing I've seen to do is just make sure you're not filling your body full of crap food (and we all know what that is) and just eat in moderation. Really take a look at how much and how often you eat. Just doing little things like portioning your food, ask for a to-go box at the beginning of your meal out, etc. Most eating problems are behavioral...

Sorry for the tangent, soft spot. Anyway, get better Leroy.
07/09/2006 03:24:15 AM · #16
Originally posted by klstover:

Originally posted by Southern Gentleman:

I recently read a report that they were going to replace sugar in regular cola's with aspartame. I went on to say almost everything that contains sugar could and would be replaced with this toxic chemical.

If it were a drug it would be pulled because of the side effects.


Do you have a link to the report online? That sounds very scary... :-\

Sodas are really bad anyway because of, not just the sweetners, but the acid (in diet or regular) so I just need to be drinking tea and coffee for the caffeine...

Let us know what happens with your Mom?

I will try to find it. Yes I will keep you up to date on my mom. Thanks for your concern.

07/09/2006 03:27:14 AM · #17
Originally posted by Megatherian:

I have CFS (which had all kinds of wacky symptoms)

As far as giving up Diet Coke, fountain drinks contain sacrine still instead of aspartame


Chronic fatigue syndrome? I have fibromyalgia which is linked to that...

Saccharin is also an artifical sweetner so there are health concerns there as well. Not as scary as aspartame I don't think, but there have been connections to cancer (other studies say no relation to cancer, but I'm not going to chance it).

My philosophy is even if it *doesn't* cause cancer, if it's an unnatural chemical it really shouldn't be going in our bodies.

Oh yeah, also Red # 5 is horrible. For ADD and stuff. I sound like a health nut. But you should see how I eat.
07/09/2006 03:34:42 AM · #18
Originally posted by klstover:

Originally posted by Megatherian:

I have CFS (which had all kinds of wacky symptoms)

As far as giving up Diet Coke, fountain drinks contain sacrine still instead of aspartame


Chronic fatigue syndrome? I have fibromyalgia which is linked to that...

Saccharin is also an artifical sweetner so there are health concerns there as well. Not as scary as aspartame I don't think, but there have been connections to cancer (other studies say no relation to cancer, but I'm not going to chance it).

My philosophy is even if it *doesn't* cause cancer, if it's an unnatural chemical it really shouldn't be going in our bodies.

Oh yeah, also Red # 5 is horrible. For ADD and stuff. I sound like a health nut. But you should see how I eat.


Yea, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Fibro :( That's lame :(

I agree, saccharin is not "ideal" but if you're trying to ween yourself off it may be better than going cold turkey.
07/09/2006 03:36:04 AM · #19
A good soda alternative:

The Switch


They're not available in all areas but they're expanding pretty steadily. They did... er, beta tests? in my area (Richmond, Virginia) years ago and my boyfriend in Calgary says they're in stores up there now.

From the FAQ: The Switch is 100% Fruit Juice that is 100% Carbonated. We do not add preservatives, sugar, artificial ingredients, or artificial colors to The Switch. You won't find any of the mystery ingredients you cannot pronounce and have no idea what they do.
07/09/2006 03:39:55 AM · #20
Originally posted by Megatherian:

Yea, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Fibro :( That's lame :(

I agree, saccharin is not "ideal" but if you're trying to ween yourself off it may be better than going cold turkey.


Fibro sucks! Hehe.

You've got a very good point about the not-cold-turkey method!
07/09/2006 03:44:38 AM · #21
Originally posted by klstover:

Originally posted by Judi:

I drink a lot of Ice Coffee (home made)with heaps of ice. Actually I am a caffeine addict...lol!! And I know that I do need new glasses....maybe I should have another look at things after reading this.


Caffeine actually has been shown to be beneficial... just sweeten the coffee with sugar. Do you make your own coffee or get it pre-made? If pre-made, I'm sure there are some out there that don't have artificial sweeteners.

edit: I know you said it's home made but I'm not sure you don't mean a mix that you do something additionally to at home. (just wanted to let you know I did read what you said!)


I am actually very naughty. I won't touch anything that is 'diet' or 'low or non-fat'. I want the fat stuff. Even the milk isn't fat enough. I got to used to milk straight from the cow with the 2 inches of cream on top. So now I still love my fattening foods...choccies, chippies, etc. I do eat very healthily as well so don't worry.

So when it comes to ice coffee...I use full strength coffee with normal sugar and fat milk...hehehehe!!
07/09/2006 03:46:39 AM · #22
I never could understand the idea behind diet soda. I can understand wanting to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, but if you're drinking so much soda that the sugar it contains is causing a problem, then you're simply drinking too much soda. The same goes for chewing gum and other products where aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are replacing sugar. Yes, most of us consume more sugar than we should, but at least it's food, not poison. Besides, it makes me a sweeter person. :D
07/09/2006 03:48:42 AM · #23
Judi, that sounds like me! I drink 2% because that's what is in the house and I'm used to it, but I'd choose the whole milk, the fattening stuff.. I am trying to gain / maintain weight.. the only problem is I am very worried about having too much sugar, so there's a balance there that is hard. What I really need to do is just eat more veggies and for sweet stuff have fruits (not refined sugar)... and of course with the refined sugar and the stuff like that it might not be the best for fibro...

Eeee okay I will not start to freak out! Heh.

But as far as the aspartame thing goes - enjoy your coffee! :-D
07/09/2006 03:53:38 AM · #24
Thank you Leroy for starting this thread - it might do some people a lot of good.

Please keep us updated.
07/09/2006 03:53:55 AM · #25
Originally posted by micknewton:

I never could understand the idea behind diet soda. I can understand wanting to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, but if you're drinking so much soda that the sugar it contains is causing a problem, then you're simply drinking too much soda. The same goes for chewing gum and other products where aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are replacing sugar. Yes, most of us consume more sugar than we should, but at least it's food, not poison. Besides, it makes me a sweeter person. :D


soda has a LOT of calories. A Super Big gulp of Coke has around 800 calories! A Super Big Gulp with Diet Coke has around 0 calories.

carbonation decalcifies your bones though - so if we want to get really technical here - don't drink carbonated beverages.
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