Is diet soda safe? New research raises questions about artificial sweeteners

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You’ve probably heard about aspartame, the artificial sweetener that’s in many diet sodas, sugar-free gums, and other “low-cal” products.

Well, a health agency connected to the World Health Organization has raised some eyebrows by saying that aspartame might be a cancer-causing agent.

This might have you wondering, “Should I quit drinking diet soda?” Let’s dig into the details, but in simple terms, so everyone can understand what’s going on.

What is Aspartame and Where is it Found?

Aspartame is a zero-calorie sweetener that’s way sweeter than sugar. This means it’s used in small amounts to give things like diet soda their sweet taste.

Aside from soda, it’s also in certain yogurts and candies. If you’re wondering whether a product has aspartame, check the ingredients list for the additive number 951.

Common brand names for this sweetener include Equal and NutraSweet. In the United States, you can have up to 75 packets of aspartame a day, while Australia suggests no more than 60 packets.

What’s the New Concern?

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is a part of the World Health Organization, looked at all the studies done on aspartame and its link to cancer.

They found that some studies, though not many, did show a connection between aspartame and liver cancer.

It’s essential to point out that these studies couldn’t be 100% sure that it was the aspartame causing the cancer; it could be other factors like other ingredients in the soda or even lifestyle habits.

Still, after looking at all the data, they said that aspartame could “possibly” cause cancer. This means they aren’t entirely sure but think we should look into it more.

To understand this better, let’s talk about the terms they used. When they say aspartame is a “possible carcinogen,” they mean that, in theory, it could cause cancer.

But saying something could cause cancer is different from saying it will. The first term is about possibility; the second is about likelihood.

So while aspartame might be capable of causing cancer under certain conditions, we’re not sure how likely that is to happen in real life.

So, Should I Stop Drinking Diet Soda?

If you weigh around 155 pounds (or 70 kg), you would need to drink about 14 cans of diet soda daily to reach the limit that Australia says is okay.

That’s a lot of soda! Most people won’t drink that much, but remember, other foods like certain yogurts and candies might also contain aspartame.

Here’s something else to consider. Even if aspartame is safe in small amounts, the foods and drinks it’s usually in are often processed and not that good for you.

Plus, some research says that artificial sweeteners might make you want more sugary foods, which can lead to weight gain.

So, while this news doesn’t mean you have to give up diet soda right away, it might be a good idea to be more careful. Maybe opt for water, tea, or other healthier options when you can.

Bottom line: This new report doesn’t mean diet sodas are off-limits, but it does suggest that we should be cautious. Sometimes, it’s better to play it safe, especially when it comes to what we put in our bodies.

More research is coming, and that will help us understand better. Until then, everything in moderation seems like the way to go.

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