Can Diet Soda Kill You?
The Effects of Aspartame and Caffeine on Caenorhabditis Elegans Health 1/30/2014
Ayub Ali, Abdullatif Mire
Table of Contents
Aspartame and caffeine are in many foods and are notoriously known for being in soda. We were interested by these widely used products and wanted to know if they were harmful in the long term. So we decided to design an experiment to test this out. But we ran into problems almost right away. We found that aspartame had negative aspects to it as a substance and caffeine had positive effects. We were going to expect the same results in our experiment. We couldn’t test this out on a human since the test could potentially harm them and would take a really long time, so we started to look for alternative test subjects. Fortunately, we found a roundworm called Caenorhabditis Elegans which met all of our requirements. C.Elegans is a roundworm. Almost 40% of C.Elegans genes are identical to human genes. This makes C.Elegans an excellent model for understanding the genetic control of development and physiology of a human. We tried to create an experiment centering on how long C.Elegans survive exposed to the substances but we couldn’t do it because we could not count the C.Elegans in the plate since it looks so much like its food, E. coli. So we designed an experiment centering on the chemotaxis of C.Elegans. We observed that the C.Elegans stimulated a negative response to aspartame, but a positive one to caffeine. We concluded aspartame has negative health effects on C.Elegans but caffeine had positive health effects on
Aspartame and caffeine can be found in products all over the world, but they are most famous for being in sugar sweeteners and diet sodas. There is much controversy surrounding these two substances, especially aspartame. Aspartame is a low-calorie, intense artificial sweetener. It is a white, odorless powder, approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar and is mainly of 2 amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are found naturally in many foods. In America and Europe, it is authorized to be used as a food additive in foods such as drinks, desserts, sweets, dairy, chewing gums, energy-reducing and weight control products and as a table-top sweetener. But many studies by numerous well-known universities all around the world suggest that aspartame is toxic and is really harmful to the human body. The Cesar Maltoni Cancer Research Center of the European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences has released several studies which claim that aspartame can increase several malignancies in rodents, concluding that aspartame is a potential carcinogen at normal dietary doses.
Other studies show even more proof that aspartame is actually linked with cancer. Aspartame when metabolized can produce Diketopiperazine, a dangerous toxic substance that can cause brain cancer. Methanol, a deadly neurotoxin, is ten percent of all aspartame. Though it is in many other foods, the Methanol in every one of those foods and drinks are usually accompanied by large amounts of ethanol, a kind of antidote for toxicity. Although Methanol is in the food or drink, it isn’t technically toxic unless it is heated above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). This may happen when you store the food improperly or is heated. So if it isn’t technically toxic, why is it so dangerous? Well, when you digest the food, then it heats up inside your body. So, getting seriously ill is inevitable if you digest aspartame regularly. Methanol can also damage the retinas and the optic nerves. Aspartame consumption has been connected to eye pain, blurred vision and, in some cases, blindness. Aspartame is an excitotoxin or a substance that has the potential to damage or kill cells in the nervous system. The blood-brain barrier is a structure that stops harmful substances from...
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Zodac, Kayla Louis. "Aspartame." Wikipeadea. 2014. Print. This helped me a lot
Aspartame Packets. Photograph. n.d. Aspartame. Artificial Sweeteners. Web. 25 Jan. 2014.
P., Jay. "C. Elegans." Yahoo. Jong Wong, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014. . this helped me understand how C. Elegans is a model organism
Mons, Forey D. "C. Elegans and Their Development." Wikipeadea. By 45 7. Expanded ed. 2013. N. pag. Print. Cmo. This helped me
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