Does diet soda increase the risk of cancer?

Just noticed this headline as I was drinking my diet soda. I’ll have to see the actual study myself to come to any conclusion, but here are the salient points from Reuters:

A team at Tata Memorial Hospital in India found a strong correlation between the rise in per capita consumption of carbonated soft drinks in the past 50 years and a documented increase in rates of esophageal cancer in the United States.

The number of esophageal cancer cases clearly followed the rise in intake of carbonated soft drinks, the researchers found.

That could be coincidence, but they also found research that showed a possible biological basis for the effect. Carbonated soft drinks cause the stomach to distend, which in turn causes the gastric reflux associated with esophageal cancer.

The researchers found similar trends worldwide. Countries with per capita annual consumption of more than 20 gallons of fizzy soft drinks also had rising rates of esophageal cancer.

Clearly more study is needed, but now I’ll think twice before I buy my daily diet soda for lunch.

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