Will drinking Diet Coke give you cancer?

by | Mar 13, 2024

This was a question we got asked in the gym last week, so here’s what we think:
Diet Coke and other products contain artificial sweeteners, the main one being talked about in the news recently is called aspartame.
We won’t go into too much detail, rather we’ll summarise and keep it simple.
🔸 The controversial studies that have shown carcinogenic (possible cancer causing) effects were done in rats. These findings have been applied to humans without doing human studies, as it would be unethical to do so.
🔹 The lower limit of what was found to be linked to possible carcinogenic effects was the equivalent to 15-30 cans of Diet Coke/Coke Zero/Pepsi max/etc. Not too many people consume fizzy drinks in that amount. Possibly on a night out mixed with something stronger.
🔸 The World Health Organisation categorised aspartame in group 2B which means ‘possible carcinogen’. 1A is carcinogenic to human, stuff like asbestos. 2A are probable carcinogenic, things like vinyl bromide. So it does get a mention, all be it in the ‘possible’ category.
🔹 Why are you consuming sweeteners? If you struggle to lose weight, you’re using sweeteners to reduce your calorie intake, it’s helping, then it’s likely worth of doing. Good chance it’ll be obesity and it’s complications that’ll put you in daisy hill or Ninewells hospital, not the Diet Coke or canderel on your weetabix.
➡️ Conclusion
Use a bit of gumption. Everything in moderation. Try not to consume a vast amount of sweeteners like aspartame, but there’s seemingly no need to avoid them like the plague either. Eat and drink sensibly. Aim for variety. Colourful stuff. Healthy fats. Adequate protein. Real food.
You probably won’t go too far wrong!