Drinking Dr. Pepper

Barry W. Ramo, M.D, FACC

Q: Does drinking diet drinks, especially Dr Pepper containing phenylalaline and phenylketonurics, affect the liver, kidneys and weight even when a person goes to the gym and works out three times a week?

A: You are correct that Dr Pepper contains phenylalanine, which is an amino acid normally converted by the body into tyrosine. Infants born with a deficiency in the enzyme that does that conversion have a disease called phenylketonuria. Assuming you have the normal amount of the enzyme, you shouldn’t have to worry about drinking Dr Pepper. If you have phenylketonuria, you shouldn’t drink it.

Dr. Barry Ramo is a cardiologist with the New Mexico Heart Institute and medical editor for KOAT-TV. Send questions for him to Albuquerque Journal Boomer, P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103, or e-mail them to htaylor@abqjournal.com

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