Diet soda has a bad reputation, but science disagrees

diet soda

I love my diet soda, specifically one brand, but I kept reading that this was a bad habit that was going to kill me. I should be drinking water for my long-term health, getting rid of that sugar-free brown sparkling water forever.

I thought that I was taking a risk on my overall health by drinking diet soda even though it was better than drinking the full sugar versions of that drink. But recently, I thought to myself, “self, is there any science behind the tropes about diet soda?”

I decided to dig into it, and what I figured out was that the science didn’t support the claims of the diet soda deniers. Not even close.

Now, I could stop here and call it a day, but I know my audience, and you want science supporting or debunking the claims of the anti-diet soda world. So, here I go with some science.

Continue reading “Diet soda has a bad reputation, but science disagrees”

Artificial sweeteners and cancer — what does a new study tell us

artificial sweeteners cancer

A new study of artificial sweeteners in place of real sugar seems to show a link to cancer. Of course, this starts a new set of claims that these sweeteners are dangerous and should be avoided.

But your obstreperous feathered avian or non-avian dinosaur has a different take. I don’t think the research is all that conclusive, and I’m not even sure it tells us anything about the safety of artificial sweeteners. I have a long tradition of being skeptical of research into artificial sweeteners.

As I like doing, let’s take a look at this new article and determine if it presents anything linking artificial sweeteners to cancer.

Continue reading “Artificial sweeteners and cancer — what does a new study tell us”

Artificial sweeteners linked to obesity–poor evidence

artificial-sweetenersThis article was written by Linda Tock, an American living in Denmark, who has an extensive research background in the biomedical sciences. She has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Chemistry and Health, and will be pursuing a Ph.D. Ms. Tock has a fascination for Daphnia, an interesting planktonic crustacean, that is an important organism in studying pollution and environmental stresses. She’s also a passionate Boston Red Sox fan, so she had to endure a difficult year.

So I received a message from a friend of mine, wanting my opinion on this news article, which loudly proclaims that artificial sweeteners are linked to obesity. Because it was a genuine question regarding the science behind the study, and not a ‘concern troll’ about my preference for diet cola, I went and looked at the study itself to see what the fuss was about.

According to the abstract in the article published in the journal Nature,

Non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) are among the most widely used food additives worldwide, regularly consumed by lean and obese individuals alike. NAS consumption is considered safe and beneficial owing to their low caloric content, yet supporting scientific data remain sparse and controversial. Here we demonstrate that consumption of commonly used NAS formulations drives the development of glucose intolerance through induction of compositional and functional alterations to the intestinal microbiota. These NAS-mediated deleterious metabolic effects are abrogated by antibiotic treatment, and are fully transferrable to germ-free mice upon faecal transplantation of microbiota configurations from NAS-consuming mice, or of microbiota anaerobically incubated in the presence of NAS. We identify NAS-altered microbial metabolic pathways that are linked to host susceptibility to metabolic disease, and demonstrate similar NAS-induced dysbiosis and glucose intolerance in healthy human subjects. Collectively, our results link NAS consumption, dysbiosis and metabolic abnormalities, thereby calling for a reassessment of massive NAS usage.

Continue reading “Artificial sweeteners linked to obesity–poor evidence”