Tag Archives: artificial sweeteners

Diet soda and colon cancer: What you need to know

Michael Joyce is a writer-producer with HealthNewsReview.org and tweets as @mlmjoyce

It doesn’t help matters when a news release opens with a quote like this from one of the study’s lead authors:

Artificially sweetened drinks have a checkered reputation in the public because of the purported

info graphic for article; Diet soda and colon cancer: What you need to know

health risks that have never really been documented. Our stu

dy 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.

Actually, it’s not that clear at all.

Mainly because this is an observational study suggesting that colon cancer patients who regularly drink diet soda have a lower risk of their tumors coming back, or of dying from their cancer. With this type of study it’s inaccurate and misleading to imply this is a cause-and-effect relationship.

Two other reasons make it not so clear:

First, the data on diet soda consumption are drawn from participants trying to accurately fill out food and drink questionnaires mont

hs after the fact. This sort of self-reporting has been shown to be highly unreliable.

Second, the study could not determine if other risk factors — such as diet, activity level, smoking, and other lifestyle choices — might contribute to lower cancer recurrence and mortality.

We were glad to see these limitations included in a HealthDay news story, but it’s not good journalistic practice to reprint quotes regarding the touted benefits directly from the Yale news release, which the story did.

It’s noteworthy that the quote featured above, from Charles Fuchs MD, MPH (Director, Yale Cancer Center) is at odds with more cautious language he used in the video embedded in the news release. He says:

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Five Foods To Forego…Everyday Choices Pose Health Concerns

chart depicting health risks of processed meatsExperts frequently remind us that fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those that come in rich, vibrant colors, should hold a valued position on our tables at meal time. These foods contain nutrients that are known to stave off serious, debilitating diseases. Unfortunately, many people in our “always on the go” American lifestyles choose convenience over quality.

Eating fruits and veggies is great practice for your good health. Think colorful food selections that grow from the earth.

The food you eat should be processed by your body, not a factory. Fill up most of your plate with fruits and veggies and skip the less-than-stellar selections listed below to build your plate for power.

The top five foods every consumer should leave off the grocery list:

5. Deep Fried Foods:
Cooking at high temperatures can result in the formation of toxic chemical compounds that are not good for your health.

4. Processed meats:
The Harvard School of Public Health reports that eating processed meats may increase one’s risk of heart disease and diabetes when a diet consists of regularly eating about 50 grams (1.75 ounces) of processed meat per day. Processed meat includes deli slices, sausage and bacon.

3. Soft drinks (diet or regular)
Most sodas contain food dyes and preservatives. It is uncertain how safe these drinks are and they provide very little by way of healthy nutrition and nutrients.

2. Condiments in a bag:
Mustard and ketchup in small packets are engineered to remain stable. They contain additives that your body doesn’t need.

1. Refined and artificial sweeteners
We don’t know if these substitutes are harmful. Claims are confusing and these substitutes provide no healthy nutrients.

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