The Truth About Aspartame: Is it Really Carcinogenic? Find Out the Facts

2023-07-13 23:15:00

The artificial sweetener aspartame is potentially carcinogenic to humans, but remains safe at acceptable intake levels. Pictured is a shelf of sodas at a supermarket in Pasadena, California. Photo taken in June 2020 (2023 REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

LONDON ( – The artificial sweetener aspartame may be carcinogenic to humans, but it remains safe at recommended intake levels, the report said. In light of the latest views expressed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) under the umbrella of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint Expert Meeting on Food Additives (JECFA) of the WHO and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), respectively, such A conclusion is reached.

Aspartame is a sweetener widely used in the food and beverage industry, from soft drinks to chewing gum.

The IARC has designated aspartame as 2B, the second lowest of the four carcinogenic risks. This means that the evidence for carcinogenicity is limited.

The JECFA, meanwhile, said there was no convincing evidence that aspartame was harmful and continued to recommend an acceptable intake of less than 40 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day. JECFA set this level in 1981, and regulatory authorities around the world have issued similar guidelines.

Several experts not involved in the IARC and JECFA reviews argued that the causal link between cancer and aspartame is tenuous. Several food and beverage industry groups said the results showed that aspartame is safe and a good option for people looking to cut down on sugar in their diet.

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The WHO says that for a person weighing 60-70kg, the tolerable intake of aspartame is equivalent to 9-14 cans of soda, about 10 times the normal consumption for most people. “This suggests that infrequent consumption does not pose a risk to most consumers,” said Francesco Branca, WHO Director for Nutrition and Food Safety.

However, the WHO said earlier this year that there is no evidence that artificial sweeteners help with weight management.

Branca said ahead of IARC and JECFA’s decision, “When consumers are faced with a decision between sweetened and sugared cola, I think they should consider the third option. “It’s drinking water.”

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