Blog WHO Panel Declares Aspartame As A Possible Carcinogen

WHO Panel Declares Aspartame As A Possible Carcinogen

The cancer arm of the welfare organization WHO labeled aspartame, a sweetener used in several food items, as a “possible carcinogen.” However, the agreed levels of the sweetener were said to be safe for consumption. 

Two panels of WHO experts assessed the risks associated with the substance and its potential threat. They ruled that this substance can be a threat when consumed beyond the directed levels. Consumables such as soft drinks, chewing gum, etc., have aspartame as a sweetener.

WHO also advised that consumers weigh in on their choice of beverage to limit sugar consumption. This ensures they reduce their risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer. The amount of sugar that can be consumed was unaccounted for in this classification by the IARC. 

The existing consumption levels were relatively high for a person with an average weight to feel the repercussions. The agency exemplified that a person must consume more than ten soda cans to breach the current limits. And that the occasional consumption of sodas would have the same effect. 

The possibility of the sweetener being carcinogenic was announced by the International Agency for Research on Cancer based in France. However, credible evidence has not supported it, which does not make the classification an area of grave concern. 

The IARC based its ruling on three studies done on humans in Europe and the United States, first published in 2016. The study concluded that there is a link between liver cancer and consumption of sweeteners. 

The Joint Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) set the recommended consumption levels in 1981. Consuming below 40 mg/kg per day remains unchanged after the WHO cancer arm’s ruling. 

The limited evidence obtained from animal studies was also inconclusive of the carcinogenic effects of aspartame. The current evidence suggests some properties of the substance are linked to cancer.

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