WHO: Artificial Sweetener is Carcinogenic

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that this artificial sweetener is carcinogenic to humans, raising concerns about its safety and long-term health effects.

WHO: Artificial sweetener is carcinogenic  To Humans, caution advised.

Aspartame, an artificial sweetener commonly found in soft drinks, has been classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, the acceptable daily intake level for aspartame remains unchanged. The classification was based on the first-ever evaluation of aspartame’s carcinogenicity conducted by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Limited evidence suggests a potential link between aspartame and hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer, as well as some evidence from studies on experimental animals.

Moderation Recommended:

Francesco Branca, the WHO’s nutrition and food safety director, clarified that the recommendation is not to withdraw products containing aspartame or to stop consumption altogether. Instead, the WHO advises moderation in consumption. The Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), a separate group formed by the WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization, reviewed the risks associated with aspartame and concluded that there was no reason to change the established acceptable daily intake (ADI) range of zero to 40 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.

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Moderation for High Consumers:

Branca emphasized that concerns about aspartame primarily apply to high consumers, and occasional soda drinkers need not be overly worried. Aspartame is widely used in various food and beverage products and is found in diet drinks, chewing gum, gelatin, ice cream, yogurt, breakfast cereals, toothpaste, cough drops, and chewable vitamins.

Aspartame Safety Reaffirmed:

While the International Sweeteners Association highlights the reaffirmation of aspartame’s safety based on a rigorous review by JECFA, some express concerns. Camille Dorioz, a campaign manager at Foodwatch, an advocacy organization, believes that a potentially carcinogenic sweetener should not be present in our food and drink.

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Limit Sweetener Consumption:

In May, the WHO released guidelines advising against the use of non-sugar sweeteners and emphasized that artificial sweeteners do not aid in weight loss and may have adverse health effects. Branca suggests considering water as a third option and limiting the consumption of sweetened products altogether. He encourages the preference of alternatives that do not contain free sugars or sweeteners.

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