We’ve all debated whether to buy a normal Coke or a Coke Zero before and questioned our artificial sweetener consumption. Will it eventually make our brains explode along with everything else we do? As it turns out, it won’t.
According to Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics, who’s written a piece on sugar vs. artificial sweetener for The New York Times, “The available evidence points to the fact that there appears to be a correlation between sugar consumption and health problems; none can be detected with artificial sweeteners.”
In the past, there’s been a lot of rumors surrounding saccharin (an artificial sweetener) causing bladder cancer in lab rats; however as Carroll points out, that was one time (to quote Mean Girls).
“In only one of those studies did huge amounts of saccharin produce cancer, and it was in a type of rat that is frequently infected with a bladder parasite that would leave it susceptible to saccharin-induced bladder cancer.”
And apparently there’s yet to be a link found between saccharin and bladder cancer in humans. In fact, “it turns out that some rats are just more likely to get bladder cancer. Feed them large amounts of vitamin C, and they get bladder cancer.”
So take that, saccharin haters.
Carroll goes on to address the fact that everything is actually a chemical, and despite artificial sweeteners being deemed as badass by some, not all chemicals are actually nasty. He also acknowledges that added sugars are the ones to watch, not the naturally occurring sugars or carbohydrates you’d find in fruit. “Those are, for the most part, not the problem. Added sugars are.”
Like anything, too much of something is never a good thing, and the intake of added sugars has been associated with health issues such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and weight gain, as opposed to artificial sweeteners.
“In comparison, a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of artificial or low-calorie sweeteners published last year in the same journal found that their use led to lower body weight and less overall fat.”
The moral of the story? You’re more likely to cause yourself harm consuming large amounts of added sugars.
So as usual, everything in ~moderation~.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com.au. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.