Pretty Boy Fraud and Diet Coke

By Joseph Farah

I thought it was ironic when I heard about John Edwards being hooked on Diet Coke.

The man I’ve dubbed “Pretty Boy Fraud” made his ill-gotten fortune shaking down doctors and hospitals for causing cerebral palsy in children through delivery-room practices.

There is no scientific link between delivery practices and cerebral palsy.

There is, however, a growing body of scientific evidence linking cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and other kinds of brain damage to diet soft drinks.

Way back in 1987, United Press International produced a stunning three-part investigative report on aspartame, the generic name for the artificial sweetener of choice in most soft drinks and diet foods today.

The phenylalanine in aspartame is a known neurotoxin. It has been linked to dozens of symptoms in adults – from seizures to blindness to loss of memory and concentration. But it is in the unborn where irreversible damage can be done to developing minds, says Dr. Rueben Matalon, a pediatrician and geneticist at the University of Illinois.

He and many other researchers say aspartame consumption by pregnant women can result in brain damage to their unborn babies.

Some expectant mothers use diet soft drinks and other diet products because they are concerned about gaining excessive weight. But aspartame converts once in the body to phenylalanine, a naturally occurring amino acid we ingest when we eat protein. At high levels, phenylalanine can be toxic to brain cells.

When we consume phenylalanine in protein, we also consume a number of other amino acids that neutralize any ill effects. When we consume it in aspartame, we get none of the neutralizing amino acids to dampen phenylalanine’s impact. And as it crosses the placenta, phenylalanine’s concentrations are magnified in the fetal brain.

One study found average IQ declines of 10 points in children born to mothers with a fivefold increase of phenylalanine blood levels in pregnancy.

Am I suggesting there is conclusive proof that aspartame causes cerebral palsy and other brain dysfunction in pre-born children? Absolutely not. But what I am stating unequivocally is that there is far more evidence of a link between aspartame – consumed in mass quantities by John “Pretty Boy Fraud” Edwards in his favorite drink, Diet Coke – and cerebral palsy than there is between delivery procedures by ob/gyns and the brain disorder.

Yet, against all scientific convention, Edwards made his fortune largely by persuading juries doctors and hospitals were to blame for his clients’ cerebral palsy.

“Pretty Boy Fraud” even resorted to channeling into the minds of his clients who couldn’t speak for themselves. He spoke for them, suggesting some intuitive, extra-sensory powers to a gullible, emotionally susceptible jury.

Someday, some enterprising trial lawyer is going to take Monsanto, which produces aspartame, and the Food and Drug Administration, which approved the food additive, to the cleaners for their roles in hooking a nation on this questionable chemical.

Unlike Edwards, that enterprising trial lawyer won’t have to channel into the minds of victims. There are thousands willing to speak for themselves about the symptoms they have experienced after using aspartame.

Edwards, like his running mate, is a big-government politician – the kind who suggests Washington can protect us from every evil under the sun through more regulations and oversight. Yet, the way aspartame was approved for widespread use is as a sugar substitute, despite a dearth of studies on the long-term effects on the population, illustrates the dangers of entrusting your life, your health and your freedom in the hands of such self-serving frauds and charlatans.