Nita Wong ‘21
While the consumption of low- and no-calorie soft drinks has long been associated with a number of diseases including obesity and diabetes, such purported health risks have yet to be scientifically or clinically documented. In fact, a recent study conducted at Yale University’s Cancer Center has shown that such artificially sweetened products actually help colon cancer survivors avoid cancer recurrence and death.
An earlier study – one of many in a clinical trial designed to associate specific foods or drinks
with risk of colon cancer – had demonstrated that the consumption of sweetened beverages significantly increased an individual’s risk of developing colon cancer. Building on this previous research, a team of researchers under the leadership of Dr. Charles S. Fuchs, director of Yale Cancer Center, examined the relationship between artificially sweetened beverages and risk of colon cancer. Relevant data was collected from 1,018 patients who fulfilled three major criteria: diagnosis with stage III colon cancer, participation in a trial of adjuvant chemotherapy, and intake of artificially sweetened caffeinated colas, caffeine-free colas, or other carbonated drinks during and after the treatment period. After analysing the collected data, the researchers concluded that the participants who had consumed 12 or more ounces of low- or no-calorie drinks on a daily basis, when compared to those who had not, experienced a 46 percent decrease in risk of cancer recurrence or death from the disease.
The researchers did acknowledge the concerns regarding the health impact of artificial sugars and their potential role in increased incidence of disease and called for further research in such areas. It is their hope that future studies will confirm the findings of the present study and further demonstrate the potential health benefits of substituting sugar with artificial sweeteners.
- B. Guercio, et. al., Associations of artificially sweetened beverage intake with disease recurrence and mortality in stage III colon cancer: Results from CALGB 89803 (Alliance). The PLoS One 13, (2018). doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0199244
- Image retrieved from: https://www.pexels.com/photo/four-clear-glass-cups-1251094/