Diet Soda Reduces the Risk for Death and Recurrence of Colon Cancer?
Experts criticize the study's shoddy design
There are a few pieces of advice you’ll never see written here. For example, we will never, under normal circumstances, recommend that you start drinking diet soda. But a recently published study suggests that people with colon cancer who drink diet soda may have a lower risk of dying from the disease, and a decreased chance of their cancer recurring. 
But, as you will soon read, some experts aren’t quite ready to recommend low-calorie soda to colon cancer patients.
Nonetheless, Senior author Dr. Charles S. Fuchs said he was excited about the results, despite the “checkered reputation” of artificially sweetened drinks.
“We wanted to ask the question if, after cancer has developed and advanced, would a change in lifestyle – drinking artificially sweetened beverages – change the outcome of the cancer post-surgery?”
So, Fuchs and his colleagues analyzed more than 1,000 colon cancer patients and asked them about their dietary habits, including the types of drinks they regularly consumed, namely caffeinated colas, un-caffeinated colas, and other carbonated drinks like diet ginger ale. Over a 7-year period, the team recorded potential cancer recurrence and deaths among the participants.
Participants who drank 1 or more 12oz. servings of artificially sweetened beverages per day had a 46% lower risk of dying from colon cancer or recurrence compared to those who didn’t drink diet beverages.
In a second analysis, researchers found that people switching from regular soda to artificially sweetened soda experienced about half of the benefit. 
“We now find that, in terms of colon cancer recurrence and survival, use of artificially sweetened drinks is not a health risk, but is, in this study, a healthier choice.” 
Don’t abandon your skepticism just yet.
In a video accompanying a press release announcing the study’s findings, Fuchs himself states that he does not believe that artificial sweeteners have anti-cancer effects. That little detail was left out of the actual press release.
Furthermore, Elena Ivanina, a gastroenterologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who was not involved in the study, said the observational study contained “many design flaws.”
Since the participants self-reported their diet soda intake, it’s highly plausible that the data used in the study was inaccurate, according to Ivanina.
“Most people cannot remember what they ate yesterday, let alone three months ago.” 
The gastroenterologist also pointed out that the study lacked adjustments for other colon cancer risk factors, such as smoking or red meat consumption. 
Ivaniva added that people should “also weigh all the evidence we have that chronic consumption of artificial sweeteners may increase the risk of obesity and metabolic diseases, which are risk factors for many types of cancer.” 
Dr. David Bernstein, a gastroenterologist at Northwell Health in New York, agrees that much more research is needed before physicians can say there’s a link between diet soda consumption and lowering the risk of death from – and recurrence of – colon cancer. 
“This is the first of its kind to report such results and therefore and therefore the excitement behind it must also be accompanied by skepticism until the results can be replicated.”
 Medical Daily
Julie Fidler has written hundreds of articles on key world topics such as health, drugs, and law. She is also the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. Oh, and she loves to take care of two ridiculously- spoiled cats in her free time.