Diet soda dangers: New study may link aspartame to cancer

Diet soda dangers: New study may link aspartame to cancer

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Diet sodas contain fewer calories and many people turn to them to lose weight, but newer studies are suggesting the small benefits may not outweigh the health risks.

New reports are suggesting that diet soft drinks can lead to weight gain, strokes and kidney failure. Now, the debate is whether or not diet soda can lead to certain types of cancer.

Dr. Rasa with Rush University Medical Center is strict with her patients when it comes to diet soda.

"There is nothing good for the body," Dr. Rasa says about the fizzy drink.

Dr. K, as her patients call her, gives us a visualization of what she means.

"If we look at water which is clear and on the left hand side we see the polluted water, which has water and some ingredients sometimes called a proprietary mix," Dr. Rasa explains. "You don't even know what kind of pollution you're drinking in that."

A number of people we spoke with say their doctors agree.

"I had drunk a lot of diet soda, at least 64 ounces a day and thinking I was losing weight, etcetera by doing it," Dawn Miller says. "And [my doctor] advised me that the chemicals were really bad."

Doctors say drinking 2 or more diet sodas per day actually increases your chance of being obese by 57 percent. A Nurses Health study suggests diet soft drinks can even effect your vital organs.

"That study showed the association between diet soda consumption and decreased kidney function."

A new study released in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claims that men who drink more than one aspartame sweetened soft drink per day can increase their chances of developing several blood cancers. However, that study says their findings cannot rule out the possibility of developing cancer by 'chance.'

The American Beverage Association sent us this statement, saying, "Aspartame, which is an ingredient found in many beverages as well as thousands of foods, has been deemed safe for decades by the world's leading toxicologists, as well as the National Cancer Institute."

Despite the research, many people like Dawn Miller and Hella Bart choose to avoid the drinks and all the chemicals they come with.

"Water, water, water, that's my favorite drink now, Hella Bart says. " So, no chemicals, no pops, no any of those sugary drinks."

Dr. K tells her patients to avoid soft drinks all together. If you're looking for flavor, she says, some alternatives would be herbal teas or crushing ginger in steaming water with a touch of lemon for taste.

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