The WHO Classifies Aspartame as “Possible Carcinogen”, Makes No New Recommendations

artificial sweeteners

The World Health Organization (WHO) just released a statement that links overconsumption of aspartame to cancer and classifies aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.

What does this mean? It means that you should limit your aspartame and diet drinks or foods intake to meet the limits outlined below.

The World Health Organization (WHO),  the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) have released the results of a comprehensive hazard and risk assessment of aspartame, a widely used artificial sweetener. The organizations did say that there is limited evidence for aspartame causing cancer in humans, specifically the hepatocellular carcinoma liver cancer, and see no reason to lower the previously recommended aspartame acceptable daily intake 0f 0-40 mg/kg body weight.

Also read: New Study Finds Popular Zero-Calorie Sweetener As Significant Risk Factor for Blood Clotting, Stroke, Heart Attack & Death

For example, with a can of diet soft drink containing 200 or 300 mg of aspartame, an adult weighing 70kg would need to consume more than 9–14 cans per day to exceed the acceptable daily intake, assuming no other intake from other food sources.

IARC’s hazard identifications are the first fundamental step to understand the carcinogenicity of an agent by identifying its specific properties and its potential to cause harm, i.e. cancer.

IARC classifications reflect the strength of scientific evidence as to whether an agent can cause cancer in humans, but they do not reflect the risk of developing cancer at a given exposure level.

The IARC hazard evaluation considers all types of exposures (e.g. dietary, occupational). The strength-of-evidence classification in Group 2B is the third highest level out of 4 levels, and it is generally used either when there is limited, but not convincing, evidence for cancer in humans or convincing evidence for cancer in experimental animals, but not both,” says the press release.

Evidently, the WHO and JECFA did say that there is a need for more research on aspartame before drawing new conclusions.

The news comes after, in May, the WHO issued a warning that sweeteners are not an alternative to sugar for dieting purposes and do not help with weight control over the long term.

Also read: New Study Finds Popular Zero-Calorie Sweetener As Significant Risk Factor for Blood Clotting, Stroke, Heart Attack & Death

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