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Diet Sodas May Help Prevent Colon Cancer Recurrence

Rachel Morrell

Diet Soda over ice

Sodas with artificial sweeteners may lower your risk for colon cancer recurrence and mortality. Yes, you read that correctly. Your can of Diet Coke might help prevent your colon cancer from coming back. We have to admit; we didn’t see this coming either. But before you pop into your grocery store for a 12-pack of ice-cold Coca-Cola, read this entire post. Some studies aren’t what they seem.

Diet Sodas and Colon Cancer Risk

According to a study by Yale Cancer Center, consuming artificially sweetened soda may make you less likely to have recurrent colon cancer and die from colon cancer. The results showed patients with late-stage colon cancer who drank artificially sweetened soda experienced a reduced risk in cancer recurrence and death.

Yale Cancer Center Director, Charles S. Fuchs, M.D., and a team of researchers wanted to examine the effect of post-diagnosis diet and habits on colon cancer recurrence. One of the many factors the team studied was sodas. Other factors included a high-carbohydrate diet, sedentary lifestyle and obesity.

The team analyzed 1,018 patients who consumed sodas. Those who consumed one or more 12-ounce, artificially sweetened sodas per day displayed a 46 percent improvement in their risk of colon cancer recurrence or colon cancer death, compared to patients who did not drink the artificially sweetened sodas.

Diet Soda as a Better Choice

After examining the results of the trial, it may seem safe to conclude diet soda is healthy. But we must consider which types of beverages the patients habitually consumed before the study began.

Dr. Fuch’s team performed a second study and found about half of the perceived benefit of diet soda came from substituting sodas sweetened with sugar with diet soda. In other words, patients who regularly consumed sugar-sweetened soda benefited from switching to soda with artificial sweetener, but non-soda drinkers did not benefit from drinking diet soda.

Water is Always Best to Help Prevent Colon Cancer

Maybe we should ask ourselves whether we should even drink soda in the first place. For years, researchers and nutritionists have vilified the major soft drink producers for the health effects of the 7.5 billion gallons of soda Americans collectively consume every year. But is soda really that bad?   

Let’s consider a standard can of Coke. A 12-ounce can contains 10 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends women limit their intake of added sugar to no more than six teaspoons per day, and men should have no more than nine teaspoons per day.

One can of Coke exceeds the daily recommended intake of added sugar, even if you had nothing else to eat or drink in a day. It is no surprise high-calorie drinks are linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. 

Even though diet soda may have some redeeming qualities, let’s clarify something. It’s still not good for you. According to a study in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, diet soda enhances sugar cravings, impairs kidney function, weakens bones and may increase blood glucose levels and promote weight gain.

Diet soda may be a healthier choice for soda-consuming patients who have had colon cancer and are trying to prevent cancer recurrence through diet and lifestyle. However, let’s never call soda “healthy.” The most wholesome beverage for your body is pure water. Water flushes toxins from your colon, maintains regularity, boosts immunity, and promotes weight management and weight loss. Calorie-free, hydrating water is essential for digestion, GI health and the functioning of every system in your body. 

Titles can be misleading. Studies can be tricky. We admit it. That’s why we all need to read to the end of the study — or article — and not just take the headline as fact.

Related Articles:

What to Eat (and Not Eat) for Your Colon
How to Beat Unwanted Belly Fat Naturally
Are Your Healthy Diet Foods Really Making You Healthier?

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