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The Healthy Skeptic: Warning, Diet Soda May Seriously Harm the Health of Yeast

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Recently the Food Police has set their sights on diet soda as the new health damaging, junk food boogie man. In May of this year a Professor Peter Piper performed a peach of a study that predicted that a preservative used in some diet soda – sodium benzoate – could promote pernicious persecution of our DNA.

News reports providing details of this study hypothesized that the results of Piper’s study indicates that hundreds of millions of people may be at risk of cirrhosis of the liver and Parkinson’s disease – among other degenerative conditions – because sodium benzoate has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA. Serious cell damage could result from drinking diet soda that contains sodium benzoate, we’re told.

Wow.

Did I mention that Peter Piper picked a peck of living yeast cells in order to study the affects of sodium benzoate delivered diet soda? Not anything that crawls or walks on two legs, or even four legs, but yeast cells. Not a mouse or mice, not a rat or rats and not humans. Peter Piper chose to study the effects of a preservative on yeast.

Dr. Piper didn’t share with us his reasons for studying sodium benzoate on yeast, and not on a unit of biological classification that is closer to human beings. He was too busy telling anybody who would listen that the United States' Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization is using old data to justify the safety of sodium benzoate.

Piper's hysteria is due to dead and altered yeast cells.

Drug trials and all other kinds of studies depend on animal and human studies to prove efficacy or un-efficacy. You would think that if Piper was really interested in seeing if diet soda was potentially dangerous to humans – rather than winding up with a certain outcome – he would have at least used a species that has a little more in common with humans.

Any news organization that is marginally credible should have been more interested in filling in some of the very big blanks in this story, rather than running with it. I’ve seen this story reported as legit in way too many places, and that’s really pretty sad. In fact,  media outlets did run with this diet soda doom story – and give it credibility. This diet soda story stinks of agenda, and hasn’t a whiff of legit, objective science.

Here are some of the main problems with this study and this story. As I mentioned, we’re given no indication as to why yeast was used to study the affects of sodium benzoate. For all we know, sodium benzoate could be the natural enemy of yeast cells. In the same way that humans cannot drink seawater and that flowers and fish cannot survive by being submerged in milk, perhaps yeast cannot tolerate sodium benzoate.

In the reporting of this study we aren’t given any details as to the concentration of sodium benzoate that the yeast cells were exposed to. Was the yeast “fed” 100% sodium benzoate or was the SB delivered in the same percentage that humans are exposed to? Was the yeast deprived of all other forms of “nutrition” or was this preservative delivered in a real-world fashion? I’m not aware of any food that contains 100% sodium benzoate, and I haven’t heard of an all sodium benzoate diet.

After all, humans can die in an atmosphere where there isn’t the proper amount of oxygen, or where there is an imbalance in the gasses of the atmosphere. There are plenty of examples of how a massive dose of a substance can cause damage to an organism, where that same substance is harmless in a normal dose. A person can die from too much carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and even blood in their system, and grass and plants can die from too much water.

This diet soda non-story serves as a great example of why you need to be aware of the Food Police and their accomplices in the media. So the next time you read a headline that blares of the dangers found in some common food item, be suspicious, if not contemptuous.

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About Sal Marinello

  • http://journals.aol.com/vicl04/THESAVAGEQUIETSEPTEMBERSUN/ Victor Lana

    There’s always some story about things being “bad” for us, especially things we thought were good. “Low fat” items are said to be bad because they make us want to eat more. “Low sugar” items are bad because of the sweeteners used. Butter substitutes are bad because of cholesterol in them. The list goes on.

    I’d like these researchers to prove all these things are bad for us. Without a doubt. Prove it with evidence. Until then, here goes another Diet Pepsi down the hatch!

  • Todd

    Thanks for writing this. You know sodium benzoate is a preservative. Therefore, one would think that it would be harmful to bacteria, or yeast.

    I’m going to go have another diet coke…
    and not worry about it :)

  • John Dragon

    I find it interesting that not only are these “Cells” damaged or destroyed, but that the “EVIL” compound is doing just what it is supposed to do. Sodium benzoate is a preservative. It is bacteriostatic and fungistatic under acidic conditions. Yeast is a *drum roll please* a Fungus. That’s right..the same Organisms it is supposed to kill!

  • http://www.kevinkohout.com Personal Trainer

    Sodium Benzoate is in most, close to all, sodas, not just “Diet Sodas”. It’s also in flavored waters and soda pop. It’s much worse for “your looks” than salt! I know many bodybuilders and fitness models who will never drink pop because of the preservatives, which, by the way, includes many alcoholic drinks which include soda drinks. Most sodas include glucose or sugar, which much be preserved, because will go bad in a matter of minutes, let alone hours. Manufacturers could use Vitamin C or Vitamin E as a preservative – good for the consumers, but costs more. So they use something “bad” for us. I think people will catch on to this in the long run.