Disclaimer: Don’t shoot the messenger!
If you’re an avid soft drink lover then you’re not going to like this post, but it’s vitally important that you are aware of it so you can make your own informed decision.
What is Aspartame?
In a nutshell, it is a synthetically created sugar substitute used in food and most commonly found in diet soft drinks. Yes, this is how they can claim soft drinks are sugar-free because they are sweetened with aspartame instead, which is technically not sugar. You will also find it in artificial sweetener products such as Equal. It is roughly 200 times sweeter than sugar, so only a small amount is required, but this doesn’t make it good for us.
Why is it a problem?
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted a study of over 125,000 people whereby it was discovered a link between the daily intake of aspartame and the development of leukaemia and lymphoma. Check out the study >>> here.
Let’s break it down
According to the Daily Health Post, they’ve broken down the results of that study as follows:
Consuming only one 375ml can of diet soft drink per day increased the risk of lymphoma and myeloma (cancer of blood plasma), the incidence increasing in correlation with aspartame intake. The risk was much higher in men (it hasn’t been identified why that is the case).
There is an elevated risk of lymphoma with higher consumption of non-diet soda in men than women.
Annual consumption of aspartame in the United States is estimated at 5000-5500 tons and the most common product in which it is used is diet soft drink.
Aspartame (especially in liquids) breaks down into aspartic acid, methanol, and phenylalanine; when ingested, methanol turns into formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
Previous studies that didn’t support a link between aspartame and cancer were limited in time and scope. This study included a large sample size and scientifically-viable time period and tested subjects at intervals throughout the study.
Subjects’ measured aspartame intake included that added from packets (e.g., NutraSweet and Equal) and contributed to the weighting of the results.
Subjects with a higher intake of diet soft drink had a higher body mass index and animal protein intake and were less likely to smoke. (This is highly significant: it is known that aspartame contributes to obesity and metabolic syndrome; the result noted here corroborates that finding. Additionally, this group of diet soft drinkers didn’t smoke cigarettes, discounting smoking as a contributing factor to the development of cancer in the study.)
So, based on all that hard truth, of course it makes us wonder what the long-term effects of aspartame will be on us 20 years from now when this current generation who consumes it the most will be at middle age?
It’s pretty scary to think about if you ask us!
Check out Daily Health Post’s article >>> here.
Are you a non-diet soft drinker?
Sorry to say but the news is bad for these drinks too. They are incredibly sugar laden. A 600ml bottle of soft drink contains about 16 teaspoons of sugar. As we all know, excessive sugar intake can lead to obesity and obesity then leads to a number of other potential health risks.
In America, soft drinks are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup and are linked to cancer, heart disease, obesity and dementia.
For more info about high-fructose corn syrup, check this article out >>> here.
How do you avoid it?
If you don’t want to drink aspartame or high-fructose corn syrup, then we suggest it may be time to give away flavoured soft drinks altogether.
Also, don’t use artificial sweeteners in your cuppa, use raw sugar or less refined sugars like rapadura, panela and coconut. Raw honey or pure maple syrup are also great options to sweeten drinks.
If you still crave fizzy, then why not consider drinking soda water or mineral water that you can flavour yourself with freshly squeezed juice or Roar Cordial (a wonderful additive-free cordial brand).
You could also make your own kombucha which is not only fizzy but it is so very good for your gut microbiome! We’ve done a whole bunch of posts about kombucha but if you want to learn how to make your own, then check out this video series that Jo has done giving you all the lowdown:
There are plenty of options at your disposal to swap soft drinks out for, and your health with thank you in spades for it.
Jo and Tracey