Cancer and Artificial Sweeteners
by Angela Stengler MS, NMD
There are many negative health affects that are correlated with high sugar intake. These include but are not limited to: weight gain, headaches, digestive upset, mood fluctuations, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cavities. The World Health Organization recommends no more than 10% of daily caloric intake come from sugar.
The problem is sweet tasting foods are good—not good for you! So, the food manufacturers add sugar substitutes such as aspartame, acesulfame-K, and sucralose that have the sugary taste without the calories. There has been concern over the years with the safety of these artificial sweeteners and with this recent study there is even more evidence to avoid them.
A recent study of over 102,000 people demonstrated that artificial sweeteners, in particular aspartame and acesulfame-K, were associated with increased cancer risk—including breast and obesity related cancer. I encourage you to read the article referenced below for the specifics. With this finding it is imperative that your diet is void of artificial sweeteners as this is a risk factor for cancer.
So, how can you reduce your craving for sweets as you decrease sugar and artificial sweeteners? The possibilities are endless and include but are not limited to adding spices such as: nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla. If you enjoy the bubbly taste of soda then sparkling water with infused fruit or vegies is an option. You can purchase these ready made sparkling waters at the grocery store or, you can purchase water pitchers with inserts that you can add your own fruit to flavor the water naturally. I completely understand that changing habits is difficult and that sweet cravings can be a challenge, that’s why I often recommend our Inflam Fighter or Metabo Wellness meal replacement shake as they are sweetened with monk fruit, not sugar, and come in vanilla or chocolate flavor –they contain a good combination of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein, and you can add unsweetened plant milk, ground flax for fiber and omega 3 fatty acids, as well as frozen organic blueberries for taste and antioxidant power. Does this replace the soda and other sugar sweets you love? No, but managing blood sugar will help reduce your cravings for the sweet taste you desire. If you are used to drinking diet sodas for the caffeine pick me up, then it’s time to experiment with healthier caffeinated drinks such as organic green tea or organic coffee.
Citation: Debras C, Chazelas E, Srour B, Druesne-Pecollo N, Esseddik Y, Szabo de Edelenyi F, et al. (2022) Artificial sweeteners and cancer risk: Results from the NutriNet-Santé population-based cohort study. PLoS Med 19(3): e1003950.