ASPARTAME/NUTRASWEET STUDY – THE EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT STORAGE TEMPERATURES ON THE TASTE AND CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF DIET COKE, BY JENNIFER COHEN
Jennifer Cohen is an eleven-year old student in Mrs. Simmons’ sixth-grade Oradell, New Jersey class. The principal of Oradell Public School is Scott Ryan. He may be reached at 201 261-1181 Jennifer conducted an experiment proving aspartame, the artificial sweetener in diet soda breaks down into two deadly neurotoxins when stored at room temperature and under refrigeration.
ABSTRACT: The level of aspartame in a can of Diet Coke was found to be 0.06% by a food testing laboratory. The remaining cans from one case of Diet coke were stored under three different heat conditions for 10 weeks. Seven cans were stored in an incubator (104 degrees Fahrenheit), seven cans were stored at room temperature (68-70 degrees Fahrenheit). At the end of 70 days samples were tested for levels of aspartame, formaldehyde and DKP (diketopiperazine). The refrigerated sample contained 0.058 percent aspartame, 0.001 percent DKP and 53.5 parts per billion of formaldehyde. The room temperature sample contained 0.051 percent aspartame, 0.002 percent DKP and 231 parts per billion of formaldehyde. The incubator sample contained 0.026 percent aspartame, 0.010 percent DKP and 76.2 parts per billion of formaldehyde. In addition 10 human subjects tasted each soda sample plus a new can of Diet Coke and rated each sample for taste on a 1-4 scale with 1 being the best and 4 being the worst. The new can of Diet Coke received an average rating of 2.0. The sample stored in the refrigerator received an average rating of 2.6. The sample stored at room temperature received an average rating of 2.5. The sample stored in the incubator received an average rating of 3.8. The effects of heat on Diet coke produced the worst taste and the highest amount of loss of aspartame as well as the greatest increase in levels of DKP. The most pleasing taste was for the new can of Diet Coke. The room temperature sample and the refrigerated sample scored almost the same in the taste test. All samples revealed a presence of formaldehyde. However, the highest level of formaldehyde occurred in the room temperature can. There was also formaldehyde present in the refrigerated sample.
BACKGROUND: Aspartame was discovered in l981 by Searle chemist, Jim Schlatter. He was developing this drug for another use and after accidentally licking his finger found that aspartame was sweet. Today, aspartame is consumed by more than 100 million people in the United States. This chemical (aspartame) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who said that an individual can safely consume 97 packets of aspartame every day. Aspartame is in many products including some that children use such as diet soda, light yogurt, Flintstone Vitamins, baked goods, puddings, and Winterfresh gum. It has been known to cause headaches, nausea, vision problems, seizures and cancer in its users. The ingredients in aspartame are aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methyl alcohol. Methyl alcohol is a chemical that breaks down in high temperatures and turns into formaldehyde and DKP (diketopiperazine), two chemicals known to cause problems in the nervous system. Aspartame’s life is 262 days at 77 degrees Fahrenheit, or 25 degrees Celsius. The UFDA gets more complaints about aspartame than any other food or drink. The symptoms of aspartame are a lot like the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Ever since aspartame was approved in l985, there has been an increase in brain tumors. There is no direct proof that aspartame caused the brain tumors, but there is enough reason to suspect that, and the television show, “60 Minutes” recently did a report linking the increase in brain cancer to aspartame use. The FDA reviewed Searle’s studies of this artificial sweetener in which rats were fed aspartame daily with their meals for one year. There were 12 brain tumors in the 320 rats that were fed aspartame and no brain