"But hey, lets just ignore the experts?"
Why not, that's what most of the other experts have done!!!
I have found articles saying the sweetener industries own studies shrink organs and cause cancer in numerous organs.
I have found other studies saying that sweeteners can cause leukemia. I have also found studies that say that sweeteners can cause insulin problems, raise blood sugar level and increase the risk of obesity and diabetes.
I've looked for epidemiological studies and all I come up with is 1 study from 1985 that purely looks at bladder cancer and says that there is no increased risk, personally I would be suspicious of an epidemiological study that is so narrowly focused.
I'd love to use sweeteners to replace sugar and it may well be safer overall, but it does not look to me based on what I've read that sweeteners are safe and may in fact not be useful in a healthy diet due to the increased risk of diabetes and the fact that they can increase cravings for sweet foods.
So, I am not ignoring the experts, I have spent some time looking at the results of the search for "epidemiological study sweeteners" and what I find does not look good.
"Diet soda has been tied to higher risk for heart attacks, strokes, cancers, osteoporosis, tooth decay, and nervous system disorders."