What is this in diet pop?
Im a big diet soda drinker and I can't help but
notice the warning level on every damn can or bottle,
PHENYLKETONURICS CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE, what is PHENYLALANINE and
what is a PHENYLKETONURIC??
TB first attempted with this answer:
An essential amino acid, C9H11NO2, that
occurs as a constituent of many proteins and is normally converted
to tyrosine in the human body. It is necessary for growth in infants
and for nitrogen equilibrium in adults. PHENYLKETONURIC is the
medical term for someone allergic to phenylalanine is a "phenylketonuric."
Hence the notice "Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine" benefits
people allergic to this acid.
Edwin gave us his professional answer:
sorry for the Organic Chemistry lingo,
Diet soda is sweetened with the artificial sweetener aspartame.
Aspartame is a di-amide of the two amino acids Phenylalanine and
Apsartic acid, with the phenylalanine side esterized to a methyl
group from its carboxyl group.-----When your body breaks down
aspartame, the aspartame is converted into its separate pieces:
aspartamic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. So of course when you
eat some aspartame you are quickly getting a jolt of phenylalanine
in you that you wouldn't normally get. Some people are allergic to
large amounts of phenylalanine in their system, these people are
called phenylketonurics and the condition phenylketonuria. It's not
that they can't have phenylalanine altogether, as a matter of fact
you need phenylalanine - it's just that aspartame gives you a higher
level of phenylalanine in your system than you would normally have,
which some people are allergic to.
amr shalakani shared with the internet community
what he knows:
to make it simpler.... PHENYLKETONURICS are people who have a congenital malfunction in
their body ...they lack a specific enzyme in their body that turns
PHENYLALANINE and other substances into harmless
stuff....PHENYLALANINE itself is a natural occuring amino-acid..it's
not harmfull itself but if it reaches high concentrations in the
body it could start turning into harmful substances.That's why
PHENYLKETONURICS are more prone.....
David K responded with this:
First of all, it reads PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE....
Meaning it is a warning to people who are "PHENYLKETONURICS", which
is a genetic metabolic disease whereby the body cannot oxidize a
metabolic product of phenylalanine. This is due to the liver being
unable to produce the enzymes to make the oxidation take place.
Symptoms include the body giving off a musty, unpleasant odor, light
skin and hair pigment, reduced motor skills, and mental retardation
PHENYLALANINE is an amino acid that is found in many foods.
2 minutes hate did a bunch of research and shared
"Well, let me take the
opportunity to answer these questions. "Phenylketonurics" is the
term used to refer to people that have the metabolic disorder
Phenylketonuria, or PKU for short. I myself, am one of these
phenylketonurics and the warning on diet soda cans is included
merely to inform people like me that the product contains aspartame.
People that have the disorder PKU cannot consume any product that
contains aspartame, for reasons which I will elaborate on below.
Two additional questions that people often ask when they learn of
the true meaning of the warning label on diet soda are - Do I have
PKU? How do I know that I don't have PKU? Well, if you have reached
an age where you have the desire to drink diet soda and you still
have the mental capacity to question whether or not you have PKU,
the odds are that you don't have the disorder.
Phenylketonuria is a metabolic disorder that results when the PKU
gene is inherited from both parents. When babies are born in the
United States, a heel stick blood test is done to test for various
disorders - PKU is one of the disorders that is tested for. It is
very rare, in the US an average of 1 in 15,000 babies is born with
the disorder (this number varies from region to region). If a baby
is tested positive for PKU at birth, a follow up test is done a few
days later. Out of 500 babies which do test positive for PKU on the
first test, on average only one will actually have the disorder.
So, what is PKU? What happens to people that have it?
People with PKU have a deficiency of an enzyme which is necessary
for the proper metabolism of an amino acid called Phenylalanine
(i.e., the component in diet soda included in the warning).
Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid and it is found in nearly
all foods which contain protein: meat (of all kinds), dairy
products, nuts, beans, tofu... the list goes on and on.
Additionally, phenylalanine is found in aspartame, the sweetener
found in most diet soft drinks and sugar-free candies/gum, hence the
need for the warning on the labels of these products. Those of us
that have PKU must follow a strict "low protein" diet to avoid all
food sources that have high phenylalanine content. To get adequate
amounts of other amino acids found in protein (without the damaging
phenylalanine), people with PKU also have to take a special formula
which is usually in the form of a liquid beverage.
If those of us that have PKU do not follow a strict low protein
diet, phenylalanine is not adequately digested in our bodies and it
builds up in our blood in the form of an acid called phenylpyruvic
acid. High levels of phenylpyruvic acid damage the brain and can
cause an array of side effects - mental retardation, the loss of
pigmentation in the skin/hair/eyes (people with untreated PKU often
have light skin, blond hair and blue eyes), a mousy odor, muscle
aches and pains and in extreme cases, even seizures. Depending on
the severity of the PKU, babies who were not treated for the
disorder and put on the special diet at birth run the risk of
suffering irreversable mental retardation within the first year of
PKU is certainly a detrimental disorder if not treated properly, but
the prognosis isn't nearly as grim as the preceding paragraph
suggests. If babies are put on the low protein diet at a young age,
and they follow the diet throughout life, there is no evidence that
their PKU will be a major hinderance in their accomplishments. In
fact, in some cases, (myself included) people with PKU view their
disorder as being a positive trait, one which has taught them to be
In the past, children were taken off the low protein PKU diet at age
5 or 6 because it was believed that at this age the brain had
developed to the point where elevated levels of phenylpyruvic acid
in the blood would not cause severe health problems. These children
are now adults; many of them have noticed health problems and have
decided, of their own accord, to return to the PKU diet. These days,
most doctors that provide care for PKU patients preach that the low
protein PKU diet should be a way of life and, if we value our health
and well-being, those of us with the disorder should never stray
One question that I often get asked by people who read this webpage
- "Is phenylalanine harmful to people that don't have PKU?". The
answer to this question is a great big resounding NO. Phenylalanine
is an essential amino acid that is in nearly all forms of protein -
meats, dairy products, eggs, nuts, legumes... etc. Some researchers
claim that the amino acid phenylalanine is a natural muscle relaxer
and sleep aid. & I've heard a rumor that this could be why turkey,
which is a high phenylalanine food, always seems to make people
sleepy (in addition to the amino acid tryptophan, which is also a
natural sleep aid). For people without PKU or other metabolic
disorders, it is very important to eat a balanced diet, and this
certainly includes high protein (high phenylalanine) foods.
I get many emails from people saying that they have heard that
phenylalanine causes cancer. I want to further emphasize the point:
Phenylalanine is absolutely, 100% NOT cancerous! It is in virtually
every food you eat, it is one of the 8 essential amino acids that
comprise a complete protein. If you don't have PKU, you would become
protein deprived and seriously sick if you never ate phenylalanine!
However, the synthesized chemical called ASPARTAME is the artificial
sweetener that is used in many kinds of diet soda and other sweets.
It has phenylalanine as an ingredient, but is itself a completely
different chemical. Apartame can cause a wide range of side effects
and is considered to be very unsafe by many people (including
medical professionals). Some people complain that they get
headaches, cramps, severe vomiting, seizures, etc... Indeed, when
aspartame is heated it breaks down into a chemical that is
comparable to wood alcohol (Don't ever drink a warm diet soda or
consume any warm food that has aspartame in it!). I'm not a medical
professional, and because of my PKU I can't consume products that
have aspartame in them. So, I have never experienced any of these
side effects and have no first hand knowledge of them. For more
information, do an internet search on "aspartame toxicity" and see
what you get. I'll let you judge for yourself"
Keith shared his views:
"Phenylketonurics" is the term used to
refer to people that have the metabolic disorder Phenylketonuria (PKU).
"Phenylalanine" is an essential amino acid and it is found in nearly
all foods which contain protein as well as in aspartame. Those have
PKU must follow a strict "low protein" diet to avoid all food
sources that have high phenylalanine content. The words on the can
are a warning message to people that have PKU.
Sarah mumbled something to this effect:
for the diet coke drinkers out there
who are worried, like i was once myself, its just a crazy term. they
basically mean that theres sumthin in thee that, if exposed to it
for long periods of time in large amounts, you can get cancer. but
then again, everything these days can give ya cancer, even the
disgusting poluted air we breathe, anything deep fried, and anything
with added chemicals. basically we're all walkin cancer breeding
grounds. drink up, and enjoy.
website sent us this:
Well, let me take the opportunity to
answer these questions. "Phenylketonurics" is the term used to refer
to people that have the metabolic disorder Phenylketonuria, or PKU
for short. I myself, am one of these phenylketonurics and the
warning on diet soda cans is included merely to inform people like
me that the product contains aspartame. People that have the
disorder PKU cannot consume any product that contains aspartame, for
reasons which I will elaborate on below." i got this from http://www.ess.sunysb.edu/tracy/whatis.html
so whoever made this site thanks
C.H.U.D. concluded the discussion with this:
A phenylketonuric is somebody who
suffers from phenylketonuria, or PKU.
If you have PKU, you lack the enzyme that breaks down phenylalanine,
which is an amino acid found in most high-protein food. The
phenylalanine enters the bloodstream as phenylpyruvic acid and can
cause brain damage, mental retardation, loss of skin pigment, muscle
pain, and a host of other side effects. People with PKU must follow
special low-protein diet to avoid consuming phenylalanine. A person
with PKU cannot drink diet sodas or eat foods containing aspartame
(NutraSweet) because it contains phenylalanine.
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