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Does diet soda really cause cancer?


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I stopped drinking diet soda for 3-4 months because I was terrified, then one day away on vacation someone said to just relax and have one, it wouldn't hurt anything. So I did. That's when it started.. I have become ADDICTIED. I honestly drink 2 everyday and if I don't I act like an insane person and get headaches, can't concentrate. Is stevia harmful? I've tried to break the pattern..but I can only go a day and then the next I drink one. I really don't like putting harmful things in my body, but I can't seem to break the ' addiction ' to the sweeteners. I can't stop buying it because I don't buy the grocerys. My parents do.

Edited Jun 10 2012 11:02 by coach_k
Reason: Moved to the Foods Forum as more appropriate
37 Replies (last)

No.

Stevia is actually not bad for you at all. There are some people who feel that artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame are dangerous, and there is a bit of controversy surrounding lots of studies that have been done. However, none have proven that it is harmful in the kinds of quantities that people would ingest over a considerable length of time.

If you are truly worried, look for Stevia-sweetened beverages, and avoid Aspartame altogether. Stevia is derived from a natural plant source, and has been proven safe, with very little controversy.

the reason you're having headaches is because you're addicted to the caffeine in the diet sodas, not because of the sweeteners! you can try replacing it with coffee or tea instead if you truly want to get yourself off of it!

i know it takes about 5 days "cold turkey" if you want to get yourself off caffeine... but it will be a very painful 5 days where you feel like you're constantly headachey, tired, grumpy, and in a bad mood.  try taking some advil :P (i've done it before) or slowly stop drinking it, maybe start drinking tea instead (less caffeine).

although honestly i don't think there's anything inherently wrong with diet soda. millions of people drink it... i'm not sure if they drink two a day, but atleast you're not inhaling tons of sugar into your body. i have a diet soda now at night now after dinner haha (i dunno why i started doing it, i found a new chocolate fudge soda and it's like dessert for me) and it's caffeine free, so i figure it's ok to drink at night :p no worries, as long as you're still eating heathily otherwise, you're good!

it's impossible to eat a 100% clean diet and not EVER eat anything "bad" for you, i think anyone would go crazy... just eat what you like :)

I kicked a really bad diet soda addiction about a year and a half ago. You can try replacing it with seltzer with a packet of stevia and lemon juice added in. You can also add in some juice. Try making your own unsweetened ice tea! My mom makes a giant pitcher of ice tea and I pour myself a glass and add a packet of stevia. In the end though, I don't think a little soda everyday is going to hurt you. 

I think the data tends to show that phenylalanine and aspartame, etc... do lead to cancer.  But there's also studies that show caffeine tends to increase the chances for cancer.

The bottom line is there's nothing that isn't 100% healthy except water.  Otherwise you're either ingesting chemicals, alcohol, or sugars.  I stopped drinking regular soda years ago because I drink so much that at 200 calories a can, I was looking at 1000 calories easy just in soda.  I slowly transitioned to diet (and it was not easy) and never looked back.  If it weren't for diet soda, I'd have no chance at losing weight.

Now, once I'm down in weight, maybe diet soda is something I can slowly take out of my diet.  But at this point, I'm more focused on the calories and the weight loss than I am what may or may not cause cancer.  Just about everything seems to lead to cancer (the sun, factories, cars, cell phones, etc...) so I'll worry about that later.

I try and stop drinking diet soda but can't seem to it is hard.
Original Post by strawberry_flowers_97:

I kicked a really bad diet soda addiction about a year and a half ago. You can try replacing it with seltzer with a packet of stevia and lemon juice added in. You can also add in some juice. Try making your own unsweetened ice tea! My mom makes a giant pitcher of ice tea and I pour myself a glass and add a packet of stevia. In the end though, I don't think a little soda everyday is going to hurt you. 

I am not trying to be facetious, however, isn't drinking seltzer with stevia (and lemon) about the same as drinking diet cola (Sprite Zero)? 

I don't think the hype about cancer etc is accurate but they do make me crave sweets.  I have been off them about 4 months ( since I changed my eating habits)  but occasionally would have one instead of water or unsweetened ice tea when out. After being hungry for sweets for the next few days it finally dawned on me the only thing I had done differently was have a diet soda.  I tried it a few times since I couldn't really believe one little soda had that much power( :)) but it happened every time. Now I just don't drink them at all, not worth the hassle to me.  It's odd cause I can eat ice cream or something else sweet and have no problems with cravings, just the soda. Could be the artificial sweeteners since that is all I had that contained them.

If you feel you are addicted and have to have one else you'll act differently, that's a far larger concern than possible heath risks.   You can look up the specific ingredients in the soda to see what the various research has been, but most research on artificial sweeteners is confusing and often conflicting as there's a lot of special interest money flying about in these studies. 

Your addiction is likely to the caffeine and the sweet taste rather than to anything else.  See if you can replace the sweet with juice and try a tea if you really want that caffeine boost.  Empty calories are rarely good for you anyway, so best to stick to something that at least as some minor benefit and is more natural. 

For what it's worth:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame_contro versy

In short:

Headaches are the most common symptom reported by consumers.[8] While one small review noted aspartame is likely one of many dietary triggers of migraines, in a list that includes "cheese, chocolate, citrus fruitshot dogsmonosodium glutamate, aspartame, fatty foods, ice creamcaffeine withdrawal, and alcoholic drinks, especially red wine and beer,"[77] other reviews have noted conflicting studies about headaches[8][78] and still more reviews lack any evidence and references to support this claim.[55][57][76]

and as for cancer:

Reviews have found no association between aspartame and cancer. These reviews have looked at numerous carcinogenicity studies in animals, epidemiologic studies in humans, as well as in vitro genotoxicity studies. These studies have found no significant evidence that aspartame causes cancer in animals, damages the genome, or causes cancer in humans at doses currently used.[8][55][57] This position is supported by multiple regulatory agencies like the FDA[64] and EFSA as well as scientific bodies such as the National Cancer Institute.[63]

Concern about possible carcinogenic properties of aspartame was originally raised and popularized in the mainstream media by John Olney in 1970s and again in 1996 by suggesting that aspartame may be related to brain tumors. Reviews have found that these concerns were flawed, due to reliance on the ecological fallacy[65] and the purported mechanism of causing tumors being unlikely to actually cause cancer. Independent agencies such as the FDA and National Cancer Institute have reanalyzed multiple studies based on these worries and found no association between aspartame and brain cancer.[57]

 

 

Stevia is a  great product.  It's importation was blocked for years by the various sugar lobbies.  The chemistry of Stevia's sweetness is picked up by the taste buds.  It does not chemically trick your body into believing that sugar has been ingested, causing your body to react to the sugars.  It is simply a super sweet taste.  I grow Stevia and chop stevia leaves onto berries, desserts, etc.  It does have a slightly bitter taste that some people just don't like.  Commercial Stevia sweetners use a plant based filler to help mitigate the bitterness and bring down the price.

I have even made a dessert for my diabetic MIL that she loved using Stevia.

 

Luck!

#12  
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I make my own lemon soda by pouring lemon juice over ice , then adding seltzer, then a packet of Stevia. 

 

 

 

At this point, I have seen no evidence that diet soda or artificial sweetner causes cancer. However, is it good for you? Well, there's no real nutritional value to diet soda so I don't particularly see any reason to drink it. However, if you are addicted to the caffeine (I know I am), my personal opinion is coffee is better than soda if you are just looking for a caffeine fix.

Typical diet soda-

Ingredients: carbonated water, caramel color, phosphoric acid, aspartame*, potassium benzoate (to protect taste), natural flavors, potassium citrate, acesulfame potassium*, caffeine. YUM!

  1. Caramel color, sounds harmless but not the laboratory Coke/Pepsi version-aka known carcinogen
  2. Phosphoric acid, rots teeth
  3. Acesulfame potassium* (yet more aspartame*)
  4. Potassium benzoate (this is really scary ****)

The questions you should be asking:

  • Do you really know what these chemicals do to your long term health?
  • Why do manufacturers want you to become addicted to these seemingly "harmless drinks"?
  • Why does our government continue to side with big corporations with regards to food and public safety?

Become an intelligent consumer. Don't buy the crap manufacturers peddle as harmless and safe without doing your homework. Corporations are in the business of making money. They don't give a rat's ass about your long term health. Our government protects corporations from all liability with regards to public safety.

Be smart. Don't swallow the hype.

#15  
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Don't jump on the stevia bandwagon until more studies have proven its safe. Remember how safe saccharin seemed until new evidence popped up about cancer risk. Just because something is plant based, does not make it safe...there are lots of plants that can cause kidney failure, liver damage etc. Wean yourself off diet soda and replace it with plain water...that's the real solution.
#16  
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I drink Diet Rite, it has NO SODIUM, the only diet pop that doesn't that I know of. And it uses splenda for the sweetener instead of aspartame. I don't know why it is not marketed better to get the word out on it's differences from all the other diet sodas.

OP -- you could try replacing your sweet craving with fruit -- try something you don't usually get,  like pink grapefruit, nectarines, cantaloupe, watermelon, or even berries in a smoothie.

It won't be calorie-free,  but you'll be getting fibre, nutrients, anti-oxidants, water, etc.  and the chewing you have to do (except for the smoothie) slows down the eating,  and makes you feel fuller/more satisfied than just guzzling down something quickly.

I guess I'm lucky that I'm not a regular pop drinker -- both the regular and diet versions tend to make me thirsty for real plain water!

Original Post by kb55:

Typical diet soda-

Ingredients: carbonated water, caramel color, phosphoric acid, aspartame*, potassium benzoate (to protect taste), natural flavors, potassium citrate, acesulfame potassium*, caffeine. YUM!

  1. Caramel color, sounds harmless but not the laboratory Coke/Pepsi version-aka known carcinogen
  2. Phosphoric acid, rots teeth
  3. Acesulfame potassium* (yet more aspartame*)
  4. Potassium benzoate (this is really scary ****)

The questions you should be asking:

  • Do you really know what these chemicals do to your long term health?
  • Why do manufacturers want you to become addicted to these seemingly "harmless drinks"?
  • Why does our government continue to side with big corporations with regards to food and public safety?

Become an intelligent consumer. Don't buy the crap manufacturers peddle as harmless and safe without doing your homework. Corporations are in the business of making money. They don't give a rat's ass about your long term health. Our government protects corporations from all liability with regards to public safety.

Be smart. Don't swallow the hype.

Known carcinogen, huh? At what dose, what daily exposure limit? It's not clear that this compound poses any threat.

Yes, please do be smart and look up how safety testing is conducted, what safety studies have been performed with the compound of interest, and what the results were BEFORE you point and scream cancer (I know it's far less fun to actually do the research).

And also, this statement  "Our government protects corporations from all liability with regards to public safety." is total bs.

I would be less concerned with the sweetener causing cancer and more concerned with the phosphoric acid hurting your bones and teeth. One of the main reasons I quit soda was because I noticed that I was having more problems with my back and hip. When I was 14 I had back surgery and they used bone tissue from my hip to fuse things together. I noticed when I don't drink soda the pain in my back and hip are reduced. In my opinion, that is a sign that soda is not good for my health. And if you are drinking two soda's a day by the time you are in your 50's or 60's you may have done some serious damage to your bones.

I suggest you try what some other CC members said and try tea or coffee if you are worried about caffeine withdrawal.

Actually, since stevia is derived from plants, it has NOT been proven safe, it is just assumed safe.  Per my dietician, the sweetner with the best track record, the most studies and the fewest side effects is splenda.  I prefer to drink diet soda with no phosphoric acid and splenda rather than aspatame, but you have to hunt around for the few brands that meet these criteria.

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