Diet sodas have garnered a bad reputation, but surprising research published this week in the journal PLOS One may help dispel it.
According to a prospective lifestyle and diet investigation that was embedded in a clinical trial for stage III colon cancer patients, frequent consumption of artificially sweetened carbonated beverages is associated with nearly 50 percent less chance of death from cancer recurrence.
“Artificially sweetened drinks have a checkered reputation in the public because of purported health risks that have never really been documented,” Dr Charles S. Fuchs, lead author and director of Yale Cancer Center, said in a statement. “Our study clearly shows they help avoid cancer recurrence and death in patients who have been treated for advanced colon cancer, and that is an exciting finding.”
Though none have yielded conclusive evidence, several previous studies have suggested there is a link between zero-calorie sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose, and obesity, diabetes, and cancer. On the other hand, sugary beverages have been quite definitively linked to metabolic diseases and tentatively linked to worse cancer outcomes. A recent, large investigation of colon cancer patients revealed that those who frequently consumed these high-calorie, high glycemic index drinks were more likely to have tumors return after treatment and to die sooner.
Hoping to add some clarity to this confusing and contentious subject, Fuchs’ team asked 1,018 patients enrolled in a randomized trial testing a new chemotherapy drug for advanced adenocarcinoma of the colon to fill out a series of comprehensive lifestyle questionnaires. The patients were then followed for a median of seven years.