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Read our dedicated Urology Blog written by professional health experts to know facts and myths about urologic diseases


Bladder Cancer and Diet Coke

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In recent years, people have found that drinking diet soda and consuming other products that use artificial sweeteners rather than real sugar are detrimental to their health. As it turns out, these artificial sweeteners might even be deadly as they have been linked to the development of bladder cancer in the body.

Dr. Pedram Ilbeigi has long warned his Rancho Mirage and Inland Empire patients against consuming products that have artificial sweetener in it, and it’s important that patients understand the impact these products might have on their body.

Bladder cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in the United States and is mostly found in patients who are more than 55 years old. While there is not concrete evidence, some urology experts claim that research shows there is an increased risk of cancer when these artificial sweeteners are consumed too often.


Saccharin has been linked to the development of bladder cancer, although most residents in the United States will not find this sweetener in their Diet Coke bottles. Researchers began studying this artificial sweetener in the 1970s, when it was first used rats.

The rats that were given high doses of the sweetener saccharin were more likely to develop bladder cancer, and this fact eventually led to warning labels that were placed on products that contained saccharin.

However, these warning labels have been removed as the United States government no longer considers saccharin to be a carcinogen. The same trend that held true in rats did not prove to be true in humans.

Acesulfame Potassium and Sucralose

This artificial sweetener was introduced to the market more recently as it was just approved by the FDA in 2002. Typically, Acesulfame Potassium is combined with another artificial sweetener called Aspartame. This product is most commonly found in products such as Coke Zero, which boasts the fact that it’s a soda that has zero calories.

Another relatively new sweetener that has been introduced to the market includes Sucralose, which many people know as Splenda. This was approved by the FDA in 1998. There is no data available for long-term consumption of these sweeteners, so people should be cautious and consume the sweeteners in moderation.


This is the most common sweetener found in diet soda and is the only sweetener that is used in the production of Diet Coke. Studies have currently deemed this sweetener to be relatively safe, and do not link it to the formation of bladder cancer at this time.

These artificial sweeteners are found in many products on the grocery shelves that are labeled low-sugar or sugar-free. However, they are most commonly found in the diet sodas that people consume on a regular basis because they feel they are better for them than regular soda. It is probably best to limit intake of all types of soda, and consume it only in moderation.

Patients who are concerned about bladder cancer and have a history of it in their families should stick to regular soda, or perhaps eliminate the sugary drink from their diet altogether. Water is a much more fulfilling and refreshing drink, and it’s much better for the body.

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