Aspartame, a sugar substitute, is classified as
Nadia Farooq

To determine the carcinogenic risk, both organisations conducted separate but complementary reviews.

Non-sugar sweetener aspartame was designated as a potential carcinogen by the World Health Organisation on Thursday, July 14, however the organisation also determined that a daily consumption of 40 milligrammes per kilogramme of body weight is safe.

The evaluations of aspartame were published by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), which is comprised of experts from the WHO, FAO, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). According to WHO, “IARC classified aspartame as possibly carcinogenic to humans (IARC Group 2B) based on “limited evidence” for carcinogenicity in humans, and JECFA reaffirmed the acceptable daily intake of 40 mg/kg body weight.”


Aspartame is a chemical sweetener used in many different foods and beverages, including diet sodas, gum, gelatin, ice cream, yoghurt, morning cereal, toothpaste, cough drops, and chewable vitamins, according to a World Health Organisation statement.

Statement from Dr. Mary Schubauer-Berigan of the IARC Monographs Programme: “The findings of limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and animals, and of limited mechanistic evidence on how carcinogenicity may occur, underscore the need for more research to refine our understanding on whether consumption of aspartame poses a carcinogenic hazard.”

Both groups evaluated the possible carcinogenic hazard and other health hazards connected with aspartame use, and their findings were complimentary but distinct. Both analyses, based on reviews of the scientific literature, pointed out the holes in the proof for cancer (and other health impacts).

Based on the little evidence for cancer in humans, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has categorised aspartame as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), especially for hepatocellular carcinoma. In its news statement, the WHO acknowledged the scarcity of evidence for cancer in experimental animals and the uncertainty surrounding potential causes of carcinogenesis.

According to JECFA’s review, there was insufficient evidence to warrant revising the current upper limit of 40 mg/kg body weight for daily aspartame consumption. Aspartame is considered safe for daily consumption at this level.

In light of this, the WHO committee has confirmed that daily use up to this level is safe, as stated in a press statement. To surpass the permissible daily dose, a 70-kilogram adult would have to drink more than 9-14 cans of diet soft drink containing 200 or 300 mg of aspartame each day (assuming no extra intake from other food sources).

Dr. Francesco Branca, WHO’s Director of the Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, has pointed out that cancer is a major killer worldwide.

Cancer is a major killer worldwide,” Francesco Branca stated in a statement. Cancer kills one in six Americans each year. To reduce these numbers and the human toll, research into the causes and contributors of cancer is ongoing and growing.

“The assessments of aspartame have indicated that, while safety is not a major concern at the doses which are commonly used, potential effects have been described that need to be investigated by more and better studies,” he said.

According to the WHO’s news release, the IARC’s hazard identifications are the first essential step in comprehending the carcinogenicity of an agent by determining its unique characteristics and its ability to cause damage, in this case cancer. The risk of acquiring cancer at a specific exposure level is not reflected in the IARC classifications, which highlight the quality of scientific evidence as to whether an agent may cause cancer in people.



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