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The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners And Cancer Risk (2022 Research Update) 

Sugar Alternatives/Artificial Sweeteners

You’re trying to stay away from sugar, but are artificial sweeteners really as bad as some say they are?

This blog will cut through the myths related to artificial sweeteners by sharing the latest research findings, so you can know if it is necessary to avoid artificial sweeteners.

According to the National Cancer Institute and other health agencies, there’s no evidence that any of the artificial sweeteners approved for use in the United States cause cancer or other serious health problems. So while The link to cancer has been suggested by several laboratory experiments, and some researchers have linked cancer risk with artificially sweetened beverages, we just didn’t have any population studies to back up the findings from the experimental research….. until now.

Proven Cancer Risk Factors

According to a new study on over 100,000 French adults, scientists found that using artificial sweeteners (especially aspartame and acesulfame-K) WAS indeed linked with overall cancer risk. Higher risks were also observed for breast cancer and other obesity-related cancers like prostate, colorectal, and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, for example.

PLoS Med, Mar 2022

This is an important study because we have been reassured… don’t worry about consuming artificial sweeteners. But now it is important to worry about them if you want to reduce your risk of certain cancers. Now, just to be clear, artificial sweeteners are an alternative to sugar that provides all the sweetness without the calories. They are synthetically made but can be derived from natural sources but are still highly refined. If you have diabetes, you are told to consume artificial sweeteners in the place of sugar.

Ok, so how do we apply what we have learned from this study? First of all, stay clear of artificial sweeteners, especially Nutrasweet, Equal and Canderel –these brands contain aspartame AND Sunett and SweetOne. And here is where it gets a bit interesting…there are some kinds of cancer where consuming certain artificial sweeteners is really not an issue at all – can you imagine that? For example, scientists looked at prolonged, heavy use of artificial sweeteners, and could  not identify a link to gynecologic cancers. (Ann Oncol, Jan 2007; Int J Clin Prac, Jul 2015) 

Solutions For Sweetening

So, what should you do if you’d like to sweeten something? There are some better, low or no calorie natural sweeteners that won’t elevate blood sugar levels and are minimally processed. Stevia leaves are a more natural alternative to highly refined table sugar. This herbal sweetener is about two hundred times sweeter than sugar, is calorie-free, and comes in liquid and powdered form. Stevia has been shown to effectively lower blood sugar levels—making it a good choice for diabetics and people with hypoglycemia. Stevia’s flavor is quite acceptable, although I’ve received feedback that it has a mild licorice aftertaste. Monk fruit is another great option in this category.

Listen to the You Tube recording about artificial sweeteners here.

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