despite rampant internet fear mongering, artificial sweeteners are safe

Alt med cranks have been scaring millions about the supposed harm of artificial sweeteners. A systematic review of 13,000 studies shows they’re either lying or ignorant.

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According to numerous chain emails making their way across the web and periodically getting into articles written by credulous journalists, artificial sweeteners will kill you dead. Drink soda or consume other products containing them and you’ll be so full of cancer, you might as well change your name to Tumor McTumerson. But according to a Cochrane review, the revered meta-analysis collaboration on complex medical topics, all that fear mongering is completely and totally unwarranted. Not only are artificial sweeteners perfectly safe, they actually have a few mild benefits.

After crunching the numbers on more than 13,000 studies, the review found that sweeteners can be useful in preventing weight gain, aiding weight loss, and helping reduce hypertension in people at risk of the condition. Meanwhile, they saw no evidence of anything even remotely like kidney disease, liver damage, cancer, or chronic migraines in subjects who used these artificial sweeteners. In short, enjoy that diet cola and whatever else is sweetened with something other than sugar. You’ll be perfectly fine no matter what histrionic snake oil salespeople screech in the media and on their conspiracy-riddled sites.

Now, if you think that the likes of Food Babe, Mike Adams, and Mercola will shrug in defeat and bow to the science, you are truly a precious soul brimming with boundless optimism. If anything, they will redouble their efforts and allege a worldwide conspiracy to poison the world with diet drinks and artificially sweetened desserts despite there being no evidence of victims or harm found by tens of thousands of studies conducted over decades to figure out exactly what these sweeteners do.

The only way to harm yourself with them is to drink so much diet soda that the sheer quantity of liquid would kill you. But that’s the snake oil peddlers’ jam, inventing health scares and crises to hawk who knows what at inflated and unjustifiable prices to crowds of anxious people who now think the world is out to get them and poison them for sinister reasons ranging from the real but manageable with political will, to the absolutely asinine and hysterically paranoid.

# health // alt med / artificial sweeteners / research

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