Wednesday morning, a KLLL listener told DJ Kelly D'Angelo that the Aspertame in Diet Coke is linked to M.S., and that in some study, they took patients off Diet Coke and their symptoms went away. That is absolutely not true, according to the Chairman of the Department of Neuro-Psychiatry at Texas Tech. Dr. Randolph Schiffer told me tonight no studies have ever proven that any food factor plays a role in M.S.
So, how did a rumor like that get started? Seven years ago, an e-mail letter circulated like wildfire citing a lecture at a world conference on Aspertame warning that as our body temperature heats, Aspertame metabolizes into methanol poisoning especially among Diet Coke drinkers. The e-mail said that poison could trigger M., seizures, and a whole bunch of other scary problems. It is what you call an urban myth. Back in '99 when I first covered this story, we went to Neurologist Kathleen Hawker for her opinion.
"So far there's no medical literature whatsoever that suggests that Aspertame is causing M.S. There's no medical literature to suggest that when you get the patient off of this it will change the course of the disease," said Hawker. And today, Dr. Schiffer says there is still no evidence to support that. So, the bottom line is when it comes to nutrition, there may be some reasons to avoid Diet Coke but a fear of M.S. is not one of them.