According to a study, even one light drink per day can lead to a higher risk of cancer. It was previously known that soft drinks could increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, damage the brain and increase the risk of premature birth in pregnant women.
Soft drinks increase cancer risk
Are you into light cola, sugar-free iced tea, sugar-free red bulls, or a diet fruit spritzer? All of these light drinks have one thing in common: they contain the sweetener aspartame and presumably increase the risk of cancer for this reason. At least that’s the unsettling finding of a study that found sugar-free soft drinks may increase the risk of leukemia (blood cancer).
According to the study, men who consumed diet soda also had a higher risk of multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of lymph gland cancer.
The study in question was carried out over a much longer period of time than other studies that had previously looked at aspartame as a possible carcinogen.
At the same time, it is the most comprehensive and detailed aspartame study to date and should therefore be taken much more seriously than previous studies, which apparently did not identify any particular cancer risk from the consumption of sweeteners.
The most thorough study on aspartame to date
To find out the effects of aspartame-sweetened soft drinks on human health, the researchers analyzed data from the Nurses Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. A total of 77,218 women and 47,810 men participated in the two studies, which lasted 22 years.
Every two years, the study participants were asked about their diet using a detailed questionnaire. In addition, their diet was reassessed every four years. Previous studies that failed to find a link between aspartame and cancer only looked at subjects at a single time point, which casts doubt on the accuracy of these studies.
From one diet soda a day, the risk of cancer increases
The results of the current aspartame study now show the following: Even a can of diet soda of 355 ml a day leads to – compared to control persons who drank no diet soda
- a 42 percent higher risk of leukemia (blood cancer) in men and women,
- a 102 percent higher risk of multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer) in men and
- a 31 percent higher risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the lymph glands) in men.
Tons of aspartame consumption
It is uncertain which substance in light drinks is actually associated with the increased risk of cancer. What is certain, however, is that diet soft drinks are (by far) the largest source of aspartame in the human diet. Each year, Americans alone consume 5,250 tons of aspartame (Europeans 2,000 tons), of which approximately 86 percent (4,500 tons) is found in diet beverages consumed daily.
Previous studies have been confirmed
The results of a study from 2006 are also interesting in this context. 900 rats received aspartame regularly and were carefully observed throughout their lifespan. Although this study was conducted on rats and has been criticized and questioned time and time again, it is now coming back into the limelight.
In fact, the rats that ate aspartame developed the exact same types of cancer as the diet soda-drinking people in the study mentioned above: leukemia and lymphoma.
The best soda is no soda
If you are now toying with the idea of going back to normal, i.e. sugar-sweetened, cola instead of your diet cola, then the study described has a little surprise in store for you: namely, men who have one or more “normal” Those who drank sugary sodas a day had an even higher risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma than the diet soda men.