I seldom pine for forbidden tastes, now that I am striving for a healthy lifestyle. Giving up Diet Coke, though, has been a chore. I have succeeded fairly well. I now have it once or twice a week instead of once or twice a day. But I miss it. I crave it in a way I crave nothing else. I now drink caffeine-free, which I delude myself into thinking is healthier. And I try to drink an equal amount of water at the same time, to encourage an early exit of the drink’s toxins.
So when I read that Coke was testing the use of the herb stevia as a sweetener instead of aspartame, I thought my soda dreams had been answered. I have researched to see the progress of that plan, but I found nothing authoritative so far. Plus, even with stevia, there is no way Coke could exist in an honestly healthy universe.
Studies have been somewhat inconsistent in finding a connection between the aspartame in Diet Coke and cancer. One study found that aspartame increased breast cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma in rats. When scientists replicated the study on humans, though, they found no correlation between the sweetener and cancer. Research on cancer can be difficult to track, as one study contradicts another, and some folks do just do outright crazy things. One odd study mapped the increase in the use of aspartame in relation to the growth in cases of cancer and determined that one caused the other. Sort of like saying the Honda Civic caused roads deaths because both saw growth at the same time.
Still, aspartame turns into formaldehyde in the body and that simply cannot be good. Formaldehyde has a checkered past, with links to a variety of cancers, although not breast cancer. Although no direct connection has been determined, the threat is there.
And you know what else is there? My continued craving for this unhealthy stuff.