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Today's word on journalism

Monday, April 24, 2006

Dueling masters on words:

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."

--William Faulkner, writer (1897-1962), on Ernest Hemingway, writer (1899-1961)

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"

--Ernest Hemingway, writer (1899-1961), on William Faulkner, writer (1897-1962)

Investigating the cult of the Diet Coke

By Meg Hess

March 9, 2006 | Diet Coke's sweet taste and no calorie content is growing in popularity across the globe. Many people can find themselves addicted to it, not going a day without popping a tab of an ice cold can. Diet Coke was launched in the United Kingdom 21 years ago as Coca-Cola's first brand extension.

Natalie Brown, a junior majoring in family finance, said she is an avid Diet Coke fan and cannot start her day without opening a can every morning. "I was drinking up to ten cans a day at one point, but I am trying to cut back," explained Brown. "At this point it's hard for me to go more than five hours without having drink. I crave the caffeine and get frequent headaches if I go too long without it."

Iva-Marie Palmer explains her addiction to Diet Coke in the article The Cult of Diet Coke "the Diet Coke's coolness contrasted with the steam of the shower makes for an invigorating wake up that I'd recommend to the groggiest of non-morning people. I have had to cut back my consumption somewhat , for fear of having my teeth rotting with phosphoric acid and my sleep eliminated by the tons of caffeine, but if I could, I would drink up to 10 cans daily," says Palmer. "Diet Coke is all there is for me, I see it in my dreams, in my fantasies, and my future."

Camille Ward, an accountant at Camp Chef and mother of two, said she also loves to crack open a crisp Diet Coke every morning when she arrives at work at 8 a.m., drinking about five or six cans a day.

"There is just something about the taste that is so refreshing," Ward said. "I like to always be drinking something and its nice not to worry about the calories."

What makes Diet Coke so sweet while including no calories is the ingredient aspartame. According to The Guardian on Lexis Nexis, aspartame is close to 200 times sweeter than sugar.

"It's regularly consumed by more than 350 million people worldwide, and is estimated to account for 62 percent of the market in sweetening agents," the article stated. "It's commonly found in the United Kingdom in diet colas and other low-calorie drinks, juices, sweets, chewing gum, cereals, yogurts, other desserts, snack foods such as crisps, medicines and vitamin supplements, including those for children."

Dr. Russel Blaylock, at Mercola.com, said aspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain. However, too much aspartate and glutamate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing too much calcium in the cells. The cells are also called excitotoxins, because they excite or stimulate the neural cells to death. A few of the many chronic illnesses related to this condition include: multiple sclerosis, memory loss, Parkinson's disease, AIDS, epilepsy and many more.

Scientists at the European Ramazzini Foundation, conducted a study on the affects of aspartame, using 1,800 rats. The results showed aspartame caused cancer of the kidney, and the peripheral nerves, mainly in the head. Aspartame was also linked to increased risk of leukemias and lymphomes in female lab rats. The risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and persons with certain chronic health problems from excitotoxins are great. Marcelle Pick an OB/GYN NP wrote an article titled Sugar substitutes and the Potential Danger of Splenda.

"Aspartame, the main ingredient in Equal and Nutrasweet, is responsible for the most serious cases of poisoning, because the body actually digests it," Pick said. "Aspartame should be avoided by most women, but particularly those with neuropsychiatic concerns."

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