WHO’s Cancer Research Agency Labels Aspartame Sweetener as Possible Carcinogen

By: | July 4th, 2023

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Diet Coke is often regarded as a healthy and guilt-free option, particularly among individuals mindful of their weight. However, recent revelations regarding one of its primary components have raised concerns.

 According to reports, the World Health Organization (WHO) may categorize aspartame, one of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners, as possibly carcinogenic to humans. This decision comes shortly after the WHO recommended against the use of all non-sugar sweeteners for weight control by non-diabetics.

Aspartame is present in various products such as diet Coke, ice cream, chewing gum, diet soda, and sugar-free soda. It is also found in cereals, low-calorie coffee sweeteners, puddings, sugar-free desserts, and sugar-free jams. Aspartame is commonly used in a wide range of low-sugar or sugar-free packaged foods.

The WHO’s cancer research wing, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), has classified the substance as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” This determination was made based on a review of 1,300 studies.

The IARC’s ruling aims to determine the potential risk associated with a substance, regardless of individual safe consumption limits. The WHO’s JECFA, responsible for advising on safe consumption levels, will also assess aspartame this year. Both the IARC and JECFA findings are scheduled to be announced on July 14.

“The IARC ruling, finalized earlier this month after a meeting of the group’s external experts, is intended to assess whether something is a potential hazard or not, based on all the published evidence,” Reuters reported. 


Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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