Should You Give Up Your Diet Soda Habit? Here’s What To Know.

Experts remain divided about the pros and cons of one popular sweetener. Should You Give Up Your Diet Soda Habit? Here’s What To Know. Giphy

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We all know that drinking sugary soda is unhealthy, but experts say that the most popular sugar-free alternative isn’t necessarily a good option.

Artificial sweetener aspartame has long been used in diet and low-calorie drinks. It can be found in roughly 95% of sugar-free sodas and 90% of teas that contain an artificial sweetener.

What are the risks?

Although it’s not the first time aspartame has been linked to potential health problems, the World Health Organization has conducted a pair of recent meetings to assess whether or not it is safe.

Specific concerns relate to an elevated cancer risk that might be connected to frequent use of the sweetener.

Of course, it’s worth noting that the Food and Drug Administration has approved its use in the United States and has conducted five safety evaluations since it was first brought to the market more than 40 years ago.

Aspartame has also been approved in more than 90 other countries where its use is similarly widespread.

A study last year in France found a slightly elevated cancer risk among those who frequently consumed aspartame, but the results have faced significant scrutiny and no direct cause has yet been confirmed.

Other studies years earlier seemed to link aspartame to cancer in lab rats, but those results were also panned by critics.

Corporate backlash

Industry leaders including the American Beverage Association are already waging a defensive campaign against the WHO’s study, which could result in new findings within the next few months.

Kevin Keane, an executive for the organization that represents brands including Coca-Cola and Pepsi, asserted: “There is a broad consensus in the scientific and regulatory community that aspartame is safe. It’s a conclusion reached time and time again by food safety agencies around the world.”

Chris Agee
Chris Agee June 23rd, 2023
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