Nutrition Notes

I encourage you to have a quick look at this site:

At least, a glance at the purple box near the top. I see that they did not mention another common side effect of aspartame. Frequent urination. I and several of my friends, used to drink a lot of beverages that had aspartame as a sweetener. Because, back in those days we thought it was safe.

However, several of us, gradually noticed that after a long time of drinking and eating aspartame, that we had to get up and pee frequently in the night. This can get to be a nuisance.

But, happily, during that time, someone that I knew warned me about the perils of aspartame. Our local library, had perhaps five books on the subject. Which is not bad because it was a very small library, in West Columbia, Texas. These books, claimed a huge range of possible side effects. Including frequent urination.

I know that some of you think that this is all woo woo stuff. And there are certainly few areas of knowledge that are more filled with misconceptions than food, nutrition, and health. But, I stopped drinking the aspartame, and stopped having to get up in the night to pee. Could be a cause and effect here, right?

The other thing, that is harder to prove, but I personally believe, is that the aspartame caused me to injure my shoulder, which bothered me a lot, from when it happened in about 1995 until just last year, 2013. During the 1990s, Alegria was hauled out of the water in Texas, and we were replacing the hull. We removed about a centimeter (3/8”) of the fiberglass over the entire boat from the gunwale down. And then we replace that with the best available kind of glass fiber, and the best available, high-tech resins.

That involved hundreds or perhaps thousands of hours, of sanding the bottom of the boat. We had very well-developed arms, from standing under the boat reaching up, about head height, and pushing a great long board with sandpaper on it back and forth.

Fortunately! My shoulder did not give out until we were almost done. However, I had an extremely painful, pinched nerve in my shoulder. The shoulder joint would like to be very flexible and versatile, and therefore is designed in a way that is not as secure as the other large joints in the body. It is easier for it to get out of alignment and pinch a major nerve that comes down into my right arm. Some of the admittedly questionable research into the perils of aspartame, mention that some people seem to have more shoulder problems when they partake of a lot of aspartame, than people that do not. For this reason, I blame aspartame. But I realize that it would be logical that my shoulder would get better, when I stopped sanding so much.

And all of this kind of research, gets a bit complicated. Because poop happens. Some things, seem to be cause-and-effect. But, later, we might learn that we were wrong. We thought that things that we now know have nothing to do with what we thought was causing the problem. Human beings have a strong tendency to look for cause-and-effect. When they correctly solve the puzzle, this is extremely valuable. A strong survival skill. But, obviously, when they guess the wrong answer, it has a negative value.

The example that comes to mind is when I was in high school, several of my friends and I were into archery. We enjoyed making our own arrows, and had a thing for cutting the feathers all exactly the same shape. We also had all the other gear to get the feathers glued on exactly the right way, etc. etc. But, once you get them glued on, you need to trim them to the desired shape. So it looks like an proper arrow, and not a stick with a turkey stuck on one end.

Is probably too old for most of you, but there used to be a common radiant heater, that used a heating element, that was a ceramic cone, slightly bigger than 100 W lightbulb, and wrapped with a spiral of Nichrome wire. It screwed into a regular American lightbulb socket, and was something like 800 Watts. When it was turned on, the Nicrome wire glowed red hot, like the inside of a toaster.

We had a homemade device, that was very crude, that had one of these light sockets screwed to old piece of wood, with a short electrical cord that would plug into the wall and make the heating element light up. It was EXTREMELY crude, and we treated it with great respect, because we did not want to die a horrible death. The thing that made it useful for our purposes was, that in series with this death machine, was a wire that went over to a short piece of Nichrome wire that could be bent to whatever shape you wanted your feathers to be. And at each end of that wire there were little hooks made for that purpose. You turned on the Rube Goldberg machine, and when the wire was red-hot you laid the arrow shaft in the little hooks, and turned it like a lathe, and when the red-hot wire touch the feathers, the unwanted part fell away. It was a little stinky with the burning feathers, but it was very simple, and did a superb job.

One day while we were making arrows, we were listening to a radio station, but this particular AM radio station was about 50 miles away. They were playing a rock ‘n roll song on the radio, and when my friend plugged in the Rube Goldberg device, poof! At the EXACT instant that it was plugged in, the power stopped to the turntable for the record that was playing. And the song started to noticeably slow down.

Naturally, my friend immediately, and automatically, deduced cause-and-effect. He must’ve caused the problem, so he immediately unplugged the Rube Goldberg machine!

After about three seconds, we both had a good laugh, because he could not have possibly affected the record player 50 miles away.

I hope that makes sense, after you had to wade through the whole thing. We do our best, but we do make mistakes.

And one other, negative side effect of artificial sweeteners, that I don’t think that you need a scientific study to confirm, is that humans like sweet things. When humans like food, they tend to eat more of it. Unfortunately, in America, there is an epidemic of obesity, that staggers the imagination. If you live in America, you cannot really appreciate it. You have to live almost anywhere else in the world for a while, to really understand that this is NOT normal! When we were in Rome, the ONLY people that we saw that were even slightly overweight, were speaking English. Usually American English.

But, people think that artificial sweeteners, are non-caloric, so have at it. But I believe, that they give you a much stronger appetite, and that if you log the caloric intake of people using artificial sweeteners versus people not using them. That is, people that are used to eating real food. Food that is healthily chosen and healthily prepared. That you’ll find that the people that use the artificial sweeteners are consuming a whole lot more calories. So, it is my assumption that, even though the whole problem, is actually pretty complex. Parts of it are very simple.

But, I have not forgotten, that I have many very bright friends, you being one of them. And that I have found that each of them has a different, and usually very strongly held view, on the science of nutrition. Since I know that I don’t have it figured out, and I know that most of you have very divergent views. I’m just guessing that hardly any of us have it figured out. But, I do wonder which of us is on the right track.

Of course, the answer is simple. You are on the right track! Right?

Bon appétit,


“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss


3 thoughts on “Nutrition Notes

  1. Thanks Dave, That site is very helpful. We have settled on Stevia until and unless we find it not to be the solution we think it is. Also just saw a Canadian TV documentary on Miracle berry that is supposed to make us think sour and bitter things are sweet. Haven’t had time to research that yet, Gale NW coming and we will need to hide. Perhaps someone who reads Dave’s very interesting blogs knows something about these two things.

  2. I’m far from being an expert on anything considered nutrition, but my advice on sweeteners and pretty much anything else ingestible is MODERATION.

    Part of the problem with artificial sweeteners is ‘tricking’ the body into thinking it’s getting actual sugar. The body is triggered to behave in a certain way to ‘deal’ with sugar yet it didn’t real get sugar. It gets confused, does what it thinks it’s supposed to do [example: insulin levels change based on the false sugar readings] but the ‘support’ of actual sugar is not there.

    To Dave’s point, Americans tend to eat way more sugar and sugar substitutes than any other group on the planet. Americans hardly recognize ‘bitter’ as an option [other than coffee and then they mask it with flavored syrup and steamed milk] hardly realizing that bitter aides in digestion while sugar feeds the bad bacteria living in our gut.

    When that bad bacteria is overgrown [ratio should be 80% good – 20% or less bad], it can push the ‘need sugar’ button in your brain causing you to act against your will and consume more sugars. One way to counter this is probiotics and prebotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria needed in the gut for good digestion and prebiotics feed the probiotics. Anti-biotics [another big issue in the states] kill both types of gut flora, but, because of our terrible diets, the bad bacteria is generally quicker to reappear and takeover making probiotics even more important in the diet.

    Probiotics can be found in yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, miso, kefir and other things usually fermented. Also available at your local health food store or co-op in easy to consume forms such as pills.

    Note: I’m guilty of consuming too much sugar and struggle to deal with it. Several years ago, an acupuncturist taped a little gold ball to the tragus [flap in front of ear] of my left ear. I was supposed to squeeze it whenever I craved sugar. It seemed to help. In combination with needles and herbs, it really helped me get over the initial challenge with sugar. Now, along with moderation, I choose certified organic cane or other organic less-processed types of sweetener [think honey, molasses, maple syrup]. Yet I do fall victim to holiday baked goods made by others who do not consider sugar [or organics] in the same way. Knowing what is best does not always mean I can bring myself to override sugar cravings. Dang cookies!

    • Indeed!! From American Thanksgiving until after New Year’s, the steady stream of feasting makes it difficult. Especially since the theory seems to be, that as long as we are having a party, let’s have the most forbidden fruit that we can. Let’s have even more cakes and pies and sweet treats than normal. And, the normal, was a pretty high level to begin with.
      Thanks Janell,


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