By Elliot Fisher MS CSCS PES NSCA-CPT
Artificial sweeteners are highly debated in the health and fitness industry. Some people love them and use them daily. Others swear they're the cause of a lot of disease and avoid them at all cost.
There are definitely considerations with any artificial sweetener, any synthetic additive, and even any natural ingredient.
There was a recent update by the World Health Organization listing aspartame as a class 2B carcinogen. This has gotten a lot of people worried about cancer risk and artificial sweetener safety.
Group 2B means the compound is possibly carcinogenic to humans. Meaning, there isn't good enough evidence in humans that it is reliably carcinogenic but it isn't ruled out and should be something to keep in consideration.
While it's important to recognize the significance of group 2B carcinogens, we should definitely be focused on avoiding group 1 carcinogens.
One group 1 carcinogen that is often overlooked is alcohol.
Alcohol is a known strong carcinogen. Most people who are afraid of artificial sweeteners are not very concerned about alcohol. They will have a drink here and there, or even drink a lot on the weekend or at parties. This is magnitudes greater more harmful than ingesting artificial sweeteners on a regular basis is.
I enjoy drinking alcohol in moderation but I recognize the health risk and detriments that come along side it. So don't feel like you need to avoid alcohol at all costs. Just be aware of the health risk and assess if it's worth consuming or not.
Moral of the story is don't be afraid of artificial sweeteners. If you want to avoid or limit them because of their potential health effects that's completely fine. But don't make the mistake of being anti artificial sweetener if you drink alcohol regularly.