Is Taylor Swift’s Diet Coke Endorsement a Public Health Threat?

Swift is scolded for her endorsement of what many consider an 'unhealthy' product

Taylor Swift: celebrated song-writer, international pop star, adorable blonde, and…public health threat?

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) she is, and it’s because of her partnership with Diet Coke.

In an open letter to Swift, CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D. wrote,

“Your endorsement carries great weight with your millions of young fans. 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.”

According to his letter, Jacobson’s main caveat with Swift’s promotion is that Diet Coke contains the artificial sweetener aspartame. He goes on to explain that three major studies have found it to cause cancer in both rats and mice.

“While the Food and Drug Administration still considers aspartame to be safe, the Center for Science in the Public Interest urges consumers to avoid this chemical,” he wrote. “We think it makes sense to take action to eliminate a likely cancer risk rather than wait for absolute proof that aspartame causes cancer in humans.”

Maybe it’s irresponsible for such a popular celebrity with a particularly youthful fan-base to endorse a product that’s likely harmful to consumer health. But at the end of the day, "healthy" or "unhealthy", Swift has the freedom to endorse whatever she wants.

Whether she’s to “blame”, you could argue about all day. It’s not likely that Jacobson is out to set a vendetta against Swift, though. More so, he’s jumped on an opportunity to use her name to further spread the word about the dangers of consuming aspartame. 

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