"Aspartame bacteria poop" will be a term you see a lot of in the next 24 hours, and there's a disgusting reason for it. Apparently, all the rumors that the sweetener found in most diet sodas is comprised of E. coli excrement is true.
According to a recent UPI report, which itself is taken from the just-released European patent for aspartame, "cloned microorganisms" later revealed to be genetically modified E. coli bacteria are modified to produce an especially large peptide used to create the sweetener.
The bacteria are cultivated and well-fed, so they can produce proteins containing the aspartic acid-phenylalanine amino acid segment required to produce the sweetener.
According to the patent, the bacteria are treated to turn the large peptide and a free carboxyl group into a dipeptide. Finally, the dipeptides are treated with alcohol and methanol, producing the final substance.
Of course, Coca-Cola wants you to stop freaking out over use of the substance. In mid-August, they attempted to get out ahead of the aspartame bacteria poop reveal with an ad stating, "Our use of high-quality, low- and no- calorie sweeteners, including aspartame, allows us to give people great-tasting options they can feel good about."
This was Coca-Cola's first ad explicitly defending its use of artificial sweeteners. The company launched a campaign in January 2013 defending itself against claims that it contributed to obesity. In Diet Coke, aspartame has been used as a substitute for sugar for many years.
Here's the opposing take:
Does the aspartame bacteria poop reveal make you want to run fleeing from diet drinks, or are you still not convinced to put down the Diet Coke?
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