Since I am not drinking alcohol, I find myself over compensating by drinking an insane amount of other beverages. I don’t want to consume extra calories, so I’ve settled on Crystal Light for most of those times when plain water just won’t cut it. Late at night, I’ve taken to drinking hot, fruity decaffeinated teas. The latter is nice, because my husband has a ritual of drinking tea at night and I’ve said “no thank you” on 2,000 consecutive occasions that he’s asked me, “Honey, would you like some tea?” It was with great surprise and excitement that he stopped and asked “You will?” When I said “Yes, I’ll take some tea” on January 1. Tea is now a nighttime ritual that Bruce and I share together.
I digress. What I want to write about is Crystal Light. I drank 2 quarts of the stuff over the first two days of my dry-a-thon and that prompted me to Google “What the hell is in Crystal Light?” It didn’t yield many results, so I tried “What’s in Crystal Light?” This brought up a nice well-balanced article that gave me permission to keep on drinking it.
Why didn’t I stop there? I clicked on a few more results and it turns out that the artificial sweetener in Crystal Light is aspartame and a search on that quickly led me down a rabbit hole of medical misinformation. If I am to believe the vast majority of these other results, Crystal Light causes cancer. It causes irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. It causes diabetes. It causes severe headaches. And, on and on. When people ask about Crystal Light or aspartame in health blogs, people respond with dire warnings every single time. I also found that all other artificially sweetened beverages seem to illicit similar responses.
Cancer… really? This just didn’t seem plausible, so I searched more and more, until I found more mainstream and credible looking sources, like Time Magazine, CNN Health Report, and the Mayo Clinic. These sources all fell very much in line with the view expressed in the well balanced fitness article I had found initially.
To quote the CNN Health Report: “The fact is, current evidence does not support this idea that aspartame could cause cancer, or that it is unsafe. According to the American Dietetic Association, aspartame’s safety is documented in more than 200 objective scientific studies. The Food and Drug Administration has concluded that aspartame is safe, and there are no strong data out there to refute that.”
I will happily keep drinking my Crystal Light, thank you very much.