Study: Artificial sweeteners increase cancer risk

Study: Artificial sweeteners increase cancer risk

artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or sucralose The ingredient has become increasingly popular in many foods in recent years – from calorie-free iced tea to healthier yogurt. For example, sucralose is about 600 times sweeter than traditional sugar, contains no calories and is said to be gentle on the teeth.

However, many researchers have been questioning for some time whether artificial sweeteners are really as harmless as those advertised by producers. Results from a previous study have linked aspartame and sucralose to type 2 diabetes and obesity. “However, some of these studies have focused on only one area – ‘sweetened beverages’, for example. Until now, there has been a lack of meaningful data on the general consumption of sweeteners in everyday life,” explains the nutritional epidemiologist. Huh Mathilde Touvier For Science.ORF.at. She is director of the Nutrition Epidemiology Research Team at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

Data from over 100,000 adults

Touvier, with the French team, has data from Nutrinet Sante Study Used – This is an online cohort study in which participants voluntarily and freely enter their medical history, their nutritional information, and more. The study has been going on since 2009, so the research team, led by Touvier and his colleague Charlotte Debras, was able to access a very comprehensive database.

The experts gathered information from more than 100,000 French adults about what foods they consumed throughout the day. Through further research, they compared data on diet with information on cancer diagnosis to see if there was an association between artificial sweetener consumption and an increased risk of cancer. Study It is currently being presented by the team in the specialist journal “PLOS Medicine.”

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Consumption of sweetener increases the risk of cancer

In addition to aspartame and sucralose, the most commonly consumed sweeteners by adults were : Acesulfame, Aspartame was at the top with 58 percent of the sweetener consumed, followed by acesulfame (29 percent) and sucralose (10 percent).

Of the more than 100,000 adults, about 3,300 were diagnosed with cancer over time, of whom about 600 were also considered “heavy users” of artificial sweeteners. Specifically, the research team’s investigation suggests that increasing consumption of the sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame may increase the risk of cancer by an average of 13 percent — some types of cancer have a higher risk of developing it than others. The study showed that the risk of developing breast cancer increases by about 22 percent. The risk of cancer types commonly associated with obesity (such as colon and colon cancer) was also above average, according to the researchers’ data.

According to Touvier, the investigation was also limited in some areas. For example, the researchers could not check the accuracy of medical questionnaires that adults filled out on their own. In addition, more women with higher educational status participated in the Nutrinet-Sainte study – so the results may be somewhat skewed in some areas. According to Touvier, further investigations are all the more important.

less sweet foods in stores

“Our research tells us that artificial sweeteners cannot be considered a ‘safe’ substitute for sugar,” explains Touvier. Of course, consuming too much sugar has also clearly been proven to have negative health consequences. Nutritional epidemiologists therefore demand: “We have to reduce the general consumption of only sweet foods and introduce fewer products containing sugar or sweeteners in stores.”

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It is often a habit to skip the sweet coffee or chocolate bar in between in the morning. Getting kids used to a diet that includes some sweets can help. Touvier also hopes that the link between sweeteners and cancer will encourage those responsible to reconsider the use of sweeteners.

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