Is There a Link Between Cancer and Sweetener Consumption?

Hello everyone. Welcome back to my blog. I hope you are all having a beautiful week. I know the weather has been insane, especially in England. Jacob and I are on Tiree for a month, and we missed the heat wave. It has been 16/17 degrees here. I suppose for Tiree that is pretty good, but we definitely missed the 29-30-degree weather back home! I can’t decide if I am happy or sad about it. It was probably far too hot; these Scottish houses are not equipped for that kind of heat!

Today, I wanted to bring you a science-based blog post. Let’s talk about something very important – sweeteners and cancer risk. Before I go on make sure you add your email to the bar below, that way you won’t miss a blog post!

The link between cancer and sweeteners have been studied in animal studies and human studies, but more in animals. In this blog post, I am going to communicate the most recent scientific literature (conducted on humans) to you all in a very easily digestible format that isn’t pages long!

What are Sweeteners?

“A sugar substitute and a food additive that provides a sweet taste like that of sugar while containing significantly less food energy than sugar-based sweeteners, making it a zero-calorie or low-calorie sweetener”. Some sweeteners were actually discovered by scientists who accidentally consumed certain chemicals to discover that they tasted sweet! Science has certainly progressed since then!

What’s The Hype?

Sweeteners began as the perfect solution for those with a sweet tooth who also wanted to maintain their weight. They could now consume sweet foods without the insulin spike or calories – perfect, right? Research has shown many adverse health complications from regular consumption of sweeteners. Yet, they are still used as a substitute for sugar for weight loss. The real question is, which one is less harmful? Or maybe we should be asking if either should be consumed at all.

Is There a Link?

  • One study shown that the consumption of sweeteners for 10 years or more increased the risk of urinary tract tumours. However, there were no risks seen with a shorter duration of use.
  • Another study found an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma in men with an increased sweetener (aspartame) consumption. However, this risk was not seen in women.
  • A direct association correlation between the consumption of artificial sweeteners and laryngeal cancer was found in another study.
  • Another study found an increase in cancer risk and the consumption of artificially sweetened beverages.

Most of the research concluded on sweeteners and cancer risk find a correlation not a causation. More research is needed to prove if sweetener consumption causes certain cancers. However, there is evidence to suggest there is a link between cancer and artificial sweeteners.

A question I ask myself, is it natural? Does it come from the earth? If the answer is no, it’s probably not the best thing for your health. There are exceptions to this rule, but they are (in my opinion) few are far between.

Please do not take this as a sign to swap out sweeteners for sugar. Sugar is a totally different topic, and I could discuss the complications surrounding sugar for days. I would recommend that you try to limit both sugar and sweetener consumption as much as possible.

However, mental wellbeing is always more important than physical health. I want you to be happy! Do not cut out all sugar and sweeteners, try to make healthier decisions around these foods, but not in a way that is disordered or restrictive. Let’s be honest, food is delicious. You don’t ever need to restrict yourself.

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post!

Check out this week’s podcast. You’re going to want to hear this one – I have exciting news!


Gallus, S., Scotti, L., Negri, E., Talamini, R., Franceschi, S., Montella, M., Giacosa, A., Dal Maso, L. and La Vecchia, C., 2007. Artificial sweeteners and cancer risk in a network of case–control studies. Annals of Oncology18(1), pp.40-44.

Andreatta, M.M., Muñoz, S.E., Lantieri, M.J., Eynard, A.R. and Navarro, A., 2008. Artificial sweetener consumption and urinary tract tumors in Cordoba, Argentina. Preventive medicine47(1), pp.136-139.

Schernhammer, E.S., Bertrand, K.A., Birmann, B.M., Sampson, L., Willett, W.C. and Feskanich, D., 2012. Consumption of artificial sweetener–and sugar-containing soda and risk of lymphoma and leukemia in men and women. The American journal of clinical nutrition96(6), pp.1419-1428.

Bassett, J.K., Milne, R.L., English, D.R., Giles, G.G. and Hodge, A.M., 2020. Consumption of sugar‐sweetened and artificially sweetened soft drinks and risk of cancers not related to obesity. International Journal of Cancer146(12), pp.3329-3334.

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