Of course, a healthy life without sugar also means avoiding sweeteners. It has long been suspected that aspartame and sucralose do not only have beneficial properties: previous studies indicate that both are involved in the development of diabetes and obesity. Nevertheless, the substances remain popular, thanks to their enormous sweetening power, which goes hand in hand with no calories or damage to the teeth. Now, researchers have made another negative discovery: Certain sweeteners have been shown to significantly increase the risk of cancer.
Cohort study with 100,000 adult people
French nutritional epidemiologist Mathilde Touvier assembled a hard-working team at Sorbonne University and evaluated the data of 100,000 adults. These come from an online cohort survey called NutriNet-Santé, which has been in existence since 2009 and is constantly expanding. The participants independently enter a lot of information about themselves, for example about their state of health and their diet. It also shows what foods those affected consume during the day and whether someone has been diagnosed with cancer. The results of the evaluation can be read in the journal »PLOS Medicine«. Here’s a quick summary:
The study participants particularly frequently consumed the sweeteners aspartame, sucrose and acesulfame. Aspartame was way ahead at 58 percent, acesulfame at 29 percent and sucrose at 10 percent. Out of 100,000 people, 3,300 were diagnosed with cancer, and 600 of them are heavy users of artificial sweeteners. The research team’s calculations show that the risk of cancer increases by an average of 13 percent with frequent consumption of artificial sweeteners, with some cancers especially prevalent. The risk of breast cancer actually increases by 22 percent; the risk of stomach and colorectal cancer also appears to be above average.
Question: Offer less sweet products in stores!
However, slight doubts remain: the subjects completed the questionnaires completely independently, there is no control. In addition, highly educated women are overrepresented in the cohort study. This could skew the stats, so further research is better to follow. Still, Touvier draws a conclusion: “We just need to reduce the general consumption of sweet foods and offer fewer products with sugar or sweeteners in the shops.”