I sort of cringe (more of a nose wrinkle really) at OP's "it's known in some circles to be bad" You see beliefs and correlative evidence constantly misrepresented as proof and truth in food and medical science (reporting and discussion).

I get it. The body is a hugely complicated system, it's hard to figure these things out. What does even figuring them out mean with the amount of complicating factors of this affects that which affects this which causes this.

I'm open to the idea that lobbying and such means Aspartame (and other industrial food products) has really been pushed through.

It's also obviously been studied quite a bit and it's hard to believe all the studies saying it's safe at recommended levels are bunk or fraudulent.

This news was on another instance where the discussion included that the IARC carcinogen classifications do not take into account exposure/dosage. A whole bunch of things can be carcinogenic depending on exposure. Haven't we all read how the rats that got cancer from saccharine had epic doses? It was just magnitudes more than a human would consume.

If an observational study won't cut it (I see you, @xthedeerlordx, and appreciate your comment and explanation), how does one prove the causation? Don't you need randomized controlled trials which would be extremely onerous controlling for various factors and basically making the (ideally large number of) participants live in a lab for whatever amount of time the study takes to really prove causation? I'd genuinely like to know. It seems like for a lot of things correlation after correlation after correlation is the best we're going to get.

NecoArcKbinAccount avatar

wtf I literally had a diet coke for the first time in my life the other day, and this comes up? Am I gonna get cancer now???


If you don't die of something else first, you're probably gonna get cancer I'm afraid.

NecoArcKbinAccount avatar

Ok but for real though I had my first diet coke a few days ago (don't drink soda that much) and now I see this.


Gonna try to cut a line down the middle and say I’m not seeing very convincing evidence one way versus another. Lotta finger pointing and honestly getting way more intense about diet soda than I thought anyone would.

Gotta say that my family (and me until high school) drink wayyy to much diet soda. Like sugar, or aspartame it’s a bit worrying and when you drink caffeinated sweetness all day you’re probably going to feel defensive about someone saying it’s gonna kill you.

I am a bit of the mind that it may only be significantly carcinogenic at super high doses, but who knows if anyone is getting those doses either from commercial beverages or mixing it in the same proportions as sugar in their iced tea


Wait... You mean to tell me that you don't drink 100 Diet drinks at a time?

@YellowtoOrange@lemmy.world avatar

Sure, let's wait and see what they say.

If you drink soda, do look more into the weight gain, GI issues and anxiety side effects from aspartame.

ColonelSanders avatar

Was going to say, I'm all for changing my habits/thought processes based on scientific data/evidence, but I could've sworn this debate has been raging on for some time now. First it was declared that it causes Cancer, then it was declared well no there's not really enough evidence to support that, and now we're back to it does. But I have yet to see a definitive link in any study and even this article says "possibly."

Now, that being said I still avoid aspartame when possible, opting for Stevia whenever I have the choice. I just fear that this kind of back and forth tends to erode credibility through unsubstantiated whiplash with the general public.


As someone who would also very much like to believe that aspartame is perfectly safe, I will point out that in a controversy over "is this commercially sold product dangerous", the side that says "no" is going to get a lot more funding than the one that says "yes". Maybe there's some potential financial incentive for alternative sweeteners to boost aspartame-bad studies, but the aspartame-good group is very directly backed by behemoths.

These things aren't easy to prove and more research (from publicly funded sources) would be good, but when you're seeing a lot of confusing competing claims, keep in mind that industry funded research exists and it will be overwhelmingly on the side of "let us keep selling these very profitable products".


I’m more interested to keep seeing research on stevia and monkfruit extract.


For context, this is the same designation that bacon currently has, amongst a whole bunch of other things we all eat.


Yeah, but bacon is probably like the unhealthiest meat you can eat. Its packed with sodium nitrites to retain its pink hue and is absolutely off the charts for actual sodium content as well as saturated fat, which makes up nearly 70% of its calories. If you were eating a 1kg pack of bacon the way I see people chugging a daily liter o cola, it would be incredibly unhealthy.


So let's say we stop playing semantics to the degree of harm and say that aspartame is not good for humans. Ok. What sweetener currently on the market is the least damaging option for me to pursue?


Probably regular sugar in moderation. Unfortunately moderation doesn’t seem to be a word that food companies understand when it comes to sugar or sweetener. But if you drink coffee and add your own sugar, then that’s probably the safest. At least your body knows what it is and how to deal with it.


I’ve found a better solution. Bypass the soda and just get sparkling water or seltzer and toss in your own flavor from natural sources. Lemon, grapefruit, mint, strawberries, cucumber, frozen grapes, etc.

I’ve basically completely over soda except in the case of a maybe once a month craving for something like a float.


Feels like there are 2 classes of sweeteners:

  • Proven to be bad for your health
  • Not yet proven to be bad for your health

And whenever one in the second category becomes popular, it inevitably transitions to the first category.


Also, "proven" is a minefield these days. There are so many agents with so many agendas conducting these so-called medical studies. It's difficult to know what to trust. For example, for decades the sugar industry has been paying "scientists" to conduct dodgy studies into the effects of fat in your diet in an attempt to deflect from the true horrors of added sugar.

@Lazylazycat@lemmy.world avatar

Stevia, erythritol, xylitol.


This post might get buried, but I feel it needs to be said.

N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor agonists cause excitoxity, resulting in neuronal death:

NMDA and Glutamate Evoke Excitotoxicity at Distinct Cellular Locations in Rat Cortical Neurons In Vitro/ "We hypothesized that exogenous glutamate is toxic neu- rons under these circumstances by activating somatic receptors exclusively (Speliotes et al., 1994). In the present study, we provide experimental evidence that directly supports this hypothesis."

Asparatame binds to NMDA sites:

Effect of aspartame on N-methyl-D-aspartate-sensitive L-[3H]glutamate binding sites in rat brain synaptic membranes "These in vitro findings suggested that aspartame may act directly on the N-methyl-D-aspartate-sensitive glutamate recognition sites in the brain synaptic membranes."

There are many sources which indicate that aspartame also compromises the blood-brain barrier, which is not exactly a good thing (e.g. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5617129/)

Make of this what you will, but our brains produce as much glutamate as we need. In case of head trauma such as stroke, it produces too much, which results in cell death and probably a lot of the disability following a stroke.

I don't think we need any extra NMDA agonists in our diet, but then again I'm just a layman in this area.


Don't freak out (yet) people...

They put aspartame in the "possibly carcinogenic" category which is their least certain one. Also in this category we have... Radio waves (sigh)... Yeah right...


Radio waves are known to be harmful, that’s why the FCC maintains Maximum Permissible Exposure limits and every technician HAM has to learn about safe distance from a transmission source in relation to power and frequency. It is not a stretch that such RF exposure could potentially have carcinogenic properties, but that needs context, the likelihood of a cell phone is pretty much nil.


It is not a stretch that such RF exposure could potentially have carcinogenic properties, but that needs context, the likelihood of a cell phone is pretty much nil.

That’s not how non-ionizing radiation works. The MPE exposure limits are because you can be effectively cooked, not because you’ll get cancer. You need much more energy to do that, like UV light, X or gamma rays.


But now OP will realize he’s been setting 5G towers on fire for nothing…


Stevia and monk fruit taste better anyway


I love being a human lab rat for capitalist America 🙆🏻‍♂️


IDK why people are so determined to consume that shit.


I need my caffeine, but loathe the taste of coffee. So I drink tons of coke. If I drank the sugar variation, my size would be measured in football field units. With diet, I at least am not morbidly obese.


My wife introduced me to Diet Coke, I had no interest in it before. What followed is years of mild consumption, mostly with fast food. It just became the taste I prefer. I'm drinking my last right now, with a final fast food burger. I knew it was garbage, but I needed to be reminded that it was garbage.


Because I like cold carbonated drinks, I like the taste of cola, but I don’t like the thick, sugary, syrupy taste of actual Coke?

Surely you realize it’s not because we have “aspartame cravings” or that we somehow think it’s healthier (there’s nothing healthy about Coke in any form anyway)…


I mean, I like the taste, but I don’t drink it. Coffee, fruit juice or water depending on the occasion.


Well, that’s cool, no disrespect from me, I drink coffee, fruit juice, and water as well, but I think it would be nice if you recognized that it’s not that “people are so determined to consume that shit” as though it’s a mystery or they’re stupid or something… :/

Your comment makes it sound like people start jonesing for Aspartame, when I’m quite positive most people who like Diet sodas don’t care what the artificial sweetener is, they just know they don’t like the taste of full-sugar sodas.

If I misread the intent of your comment, I apologize, but it just feels…a little aggressive, that’s all.


I'm so glad I was finally able to give up soda, not because of health reasons but I just started disliking carbonated beverages. With findings such as the amount of sugar they contain as well as the aspartame study I'm probably never looking back.


Fuuuuuuuck. I've been drinking this shit for a long while now. I'm going to cut out of my life completely now. Thank you so much for this post.

@ricdeh@lemmy.world avatar

That's always the problem with research, or rather with insufficient consumer protection laws. It needs time to run studies and provide reliable and definitive scientific results in an academic setting, and in the meantime, millions of human beings are exposed to toxic compounds. But because research cannot really be accelerated that much without a loss in quality, we should really push for better regulation of "experimental" products.


That's different in Europe (I just read that somewhere, I'm not 100% certain). They require evidence that a substance is safe for humans to consume before it's allowed. The FDA in the US allows substances until they're proven harmful then ban them. And that's not guaranteed in all case. Take red dye 40 for example. It is still allowed in the US, but not in Europe.

@ricdeh@lemmy.world avatar

Yeah the EU supposedly regulates a lot more, but I cannot really feel much of that. In the end, we Europeans (I'm from Germany) have likely been exposed to as much aspartame as you have (assuming that you are American)


I am an American. You'd definitely see the difference between Europe and the US if you come live here for a while. Lol


Assuming you mean cutting soda out entirely and not just diet soda, I just want to reassure you that it does get easier. I've gone from drinking a can or 2 at lunch/dinner to only drinking like a handful of times a year (only at parties/events for social purposes). In my experience after the 6 month mark, soda straight up tastes bad and at that point it's smooth sailing. Your teeth and wallet will thank you.

donut4ever, (edited )

I don't drink sugary soda at all. I don't eat sugar that often either. Probably once a month or so. I've switched to diet soda about 4 years ago to be "healthy", now I'm cutting this shit, too. I have good self control, no worries. It won't be hard stopping it. I'm just mad that I didn't know this a long time ago.


Worth point out is that it doesn't even reach the same classification as red meat which is classified as probably causing cancer.


I would seriously doubt any study that claims to have somehow controlled for everything so determine that red meat causes cancer. There are just way too many variables that would be contributing factors.

Even if there was a culture that ate zero meat ever, there would also be too many lifestyle differences for it to be red meat alone accounting for a decrease in cancer rates.


theres a lot of things that MIGHT cause cancer i feel like if youre drinking enough diet coke to cause cancer its not the sweetener its your impulse control


For sure. Too much of most things causes all kinds of health issues. Variation and modesty is key to health imho.

meisme, (edited )

I mean cancer is pretty much random.. you can stand for 5 minutes in the sun and get skin cancer or spend 5 hours in a tanning machine and be fine (cancer wise). Doesn't mean that going outside is dangerous or that tanning machines are safe.

ilex, (edited )
@ilex@lemmy.world avatar

Does aspartame cause cancer?

In general, the American Cancer Society does not determine if something causes cancer (that is, if it is a carcinogen), but we do look to other respected organizations for help with this. Based on current research, some of these organizations have made the following determinations:

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has concluded that “the use of aspartame as a general purpose sweetener… is safe.”

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has stated, “Studies do not suggest an increased risk associated with aspartame consumption for… leukaemia, brain tumours or a variety of cancers, including brain, lymphatic and haematopoietic (blood) cancers.”

Though research into a possible link between aspartame and cancer continues, these agencies agree that studies done so far have not found such a link.

coz, (edited )

There was a study that found that Aspartame increased cancer risk, which was used as the base for all the current claims. The study was found to be flawed and it has not been reproduced since then, but due to confirmation bias and the desire to manipulate others the idea keeps communicating. That's one weakness of science, you can make up research and the average person will use it to confirm their biases, even if it's one study versus a hundred

That being said, there may be other risks with artificial sweeteners, I'm just talking about that specific study

Science is complicated and most people don't know how to apply it. For example, an university graduate does not know how to read published research and how to apply it to the real world, because beyond training that needs a lot of practice and feedback. People think that hearing the news or reading the paper will let them know the truth; it won't because they haven't developed the capacity to do so, yet they ask for a source they can't really understand. That's why you are supposed to go to a professional instead of doing what you think you should do on your own

The only people I've found that are worth giving sources to are PhDs or experts in their fields. Everyone else just fucks up interpreting them

@ilex@lemmy.world avatar

Oh shit. I replied to the wrong post. I only meant to post that other comment to yours. My b.

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