Yale Study Suggests Diet Soda May Help Cancer Survivors

Recent studies at Yale University indicate that drinking diet soda after defeating colon cancer can lessen chances of the cancer returning.

In the study involving 1018 patients, researchers determined that patients who drank one or more 12-ounce bottles of an artificially sweetened drink each day experienced a 46 percent health improvement. Specifically, this improvement played a role in decreasing the risk of cancer recurrence in patients compared to those who didn’t consume these beverages.

Charles S. Fuchs, the senior author of the study and director of Yale Cancer Center said, “Artificially sweetened drinks have a checkered reputation in the public because of purported health risks that have never really been documented. Our study clearly shows they help avoid cancer recurrence and death in patients who have been treated for advanced colon cancer and that is an exciting finding.”

Obesity and poor diet are health risks as well as stimulators associated with colon cancer. In particular, sugary drinks contribute to obesity in the general population. With this in mind, researchers at Yale Cancer Center believe diet soda acts as a better alternative beverage compared to fully sugary drinks. According to researchers, by consuming diet soda drinks rather than fully sugar drinks, patients automatically cut their sugar intake, lessening the risk factor of obesity in colon cancer.

These findings align with already existing knowledge about colon cancer risks. Fuchs said, “While the association between lower colon cancer recurrence and death was somewhat stronger than we suspected, the finding fits in with all that we know about colon cancer risks in general. Factors such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle, a diet linked to diabetes – all of which lead to an excess energy balance— are known risk factors.”

Despite these discoveries, many researchers have yet to settle on the full effects of artificially sweetened drinks such as diet soda. One study, directed by a researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Marquette University, determined that artificial sweeteners diminish energy metabolism and fat processing in organisms such as rats. It is possible these negative impacts could apply to people as well.

In the end, further research will be performed to examine the encompassing impacts of artificial sweeteners on health. Given that many foods and beverages are still undergoing extensive research, it is the responsibility of the consumer to actively and cautiously evaluate the items they consume and understand what their bodies can handle. As Brian Hoffman, a lead researcher in this study, says, “It is not as simple as ‘stop using artificial sweeteners ‘ being the key to solving overall health outcomes related to diabetes and obesity…As with other dietary components, I like to tell people moderation is the key.”

[Source: Wisconsin State Journal]

You too can help advance health research. The UW-Madison All of Us Research campaign aims to gather health data from more than one million people in order to advance precision medicine research. To learn more about the program, click here.