Mom Alleges Diet Soda Sent Her Into a Coma After Severe Allergic Reaction

October 9, 2019 Updated: October 10, 2019

A mother in the United Kingdom said that she spent three days in a coma after suffering an allergic reaction, allegedly after she consumed diet soda.

Elizabeth Perkins, who said she ordered a regular soda at a pub, suffered a severe allergic reaction to aspartame, which is used to flavor diet sodas, according to the Caters News Agency via Fox News.

“I don’t think people realize what a big difference something like that makes, and since the sugar tax, fewer and fewer places are serving the full-fat drinks,” Perkins told Caters News Agency. She said that her two sons are allergic to aspartame.

She said, “Some people automatically give you the low-sugar or sugar-free versions but for me, that mistake could be fatal.”

Stock image of a patient in a hospital bed. (Engin Akyurt/Pixabay)

In the report, Perkins said that she told the bartender she wanted a regular soda. However, after drinking it she could tell that something was not right.

After that, she claimed, she woke up three days later in the hospital.

‘I’d asked for a full fat coke, and stressed that it had to be full fat as usual to the bartender. But once I took my first sip and straight away, I knew it tasted strange, and I could feel the usual sickness start, like I was going to be sick,” she told Yahoo UK.

A Costco customer pours a Diet Coke drink at Costco in Mountain View, Calif., on March 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the World Health Organization, and the American Heart Association say that aspartame is fit for human consumption.

HealthLine says that people who have phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid consuming aspartame.

Meanwhile, an allergic-type reaction to aspartame might include “severe edema [swelling] of the lips, tongue, and throat; urticaria; other skin eruptions; extensive itching; the aggravation of respiratory allergies; and even swelling of the salivary glands,” JAMA Internal Medicine said in a review.

Is Aspartame Poisoning Real?

The FDA’s website states that more than 100 studies support the safety of aspartame.

The American Cancer Society also has said that the FDA has set an “acceptable daily intake (ADI)” for the substance.

According to the FDA, “Aspartame is one of the most exhaustively studied substances in the human food supply, with more than 100 studies supporting its safety. FDA scientists have reviewed scientific data regarding the safety of aspartame in food and concluded that it is safe for the general population under certain conditions.”

But “people with a rare hereditary disease known as phenylketonuria (PKU) have a difficult time metabolizing phenylalanine, a component of aspartame, and should control their intake of phenylalanine from all sources, including aspartame. Labels of aspartame-containing foods and beverages must include a statement that informs individuals with PKU that the product contains phenylalanine,” according to the website.