Diet Coke is supposed to be better for people watching their sugar intake. But is it good for us?
No, comes the answer from a public health group that’s asking Taylor Swift to quit promoting the diet drink.
Diet Coke is sweetened with aspartame, a synthetic ingredient which has been linked to an increase in cancer risk in studies using rats and mice. Those studies might not have proven that aspartame is dangerous, but they provide enough reason to exercise caution about Diet Coke and to ask popular singer-songwriter Swift to quit touting it, says The Center for Science in the Public Interest.
“Your endorsement carries great weight with your millions of young fans,” wrote CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson in an open letter to Swift.
“To the extent that your endorsement encourages them to begin drinking Diet Coke, or to drink more, your endorsement is likely increasing your fans’ risk of cancer. Even if the increase in risk is small, we question whether you would want to lend your name, image, and reputation to any product linked to any increased risk of cancer.”
Jacobson wrote that he was glad Swift was not promoting regular Coke “which promotes diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other health problems. But Diet Coke and other sodas sweetened with aspartame may raise consumers’ risk of cancer,” he said.
Jacobson lauded Swift for her philanthropic work and support of cancer-related charities.
But the letter was unequivocal in its appeal to the singer: “Aspartame does not deserve a place in your otherwise admirable portfolio.”
Swift’s promotion of Diet Coke can reach millions via video ads, a deal with Regal theaters in which her image appears on soda cups and through her Twitter followers, who number 50 million.
And no, she had nothing to say on Twitter about the CSPI appeal, which asks those who agree with the idea that Swift should dump Diet Coke to post their comments at ##ShakeOffAspartame. (For non-fans, that’s a reference to Swift’s huge hit,”Shake it Off”.)