Health Officials Sound Alarm: ‘Aspartame’ Now a Potential Silent Killer

Health Officials Sound Alarm: 'Aspartame' Now a Potential Silent Killer

( – According to health regulators, “limited evidence” suggests consuming aspartame, one of the most popular artificial sweeteners in the world, increases the risk of developing cancer.

Despite citing “limited evidence for cancer in humans (specifically, for hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer),” the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic” in documents made public on Thursday.

The recommended daily consumption for consumers at current levels was reaffirmed at the same time by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), composed of experts from the Food and Agriculture Organization and the WHO.

Kevin Keane, interim president and Chief Executive Officer of American Beverage, called this “another strong testament to aspartame’s safety.”

The health effects of consuming aspartame, which is present in a wide range of products, including Coca-Cola diet sodas, sugar-free Ricola cough drops, and some sugar-free Extra chewing gum products, were examined by the IARC and JECFA in separate but complementary reports released on Thursday.

The JECFA analyzed the permissible daily consumption and dietary exposure to aspartame, while the IARC assessed the artificial sweetener’s potential to cause cancer.

The IARC investigated aspartame for the first time, and the JECFA did so three times.

According to the IARC and JECFA publications, “both evaluations noted limitations in the available evidence for cancer (and other health effects) after reviewing the scientific literature.”

“IARC studies found drinking beverages with artificial sweeteners was a reliable indicator of aspartame exposure. The intake of artificially sweetened beverages and the risk of liver cancer, either generally or in significant subgroups of the examined populations, were positively correlated in three studies,” according to the records.

“However, chance, bias, or confounding could not be ruled out as an explanation for the positive findings,” the records stated.

According to the IARC, “there was also limited evidence for cancer in experimental animals and limited evidence related to the possible mechanisms for causing cancer.”

Following the study’s publication, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that it disagreed with the IARC’s classification of aspartame as a potential human carcinogen based on this research.

It also stated that just because the IARC lists aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” does not mean it is genuinely connected to cancer.

Aspartame was initially authorized by the FDA in 1974 for use as a tabletop sweetener and in various goods. Aspartame has since received FDA approval for various additional purposes, such as its 1996 approval as a universal sweetener.

According to the FDA’s website, aspartame, one of the most studied food additives in the human food supply, “is safe for the general population when made under good manufacturing practices and used under the approved conditions of use,” except people who have the rare genetic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU).

The FDA is still keeping an eye on the scientific literature for any updates on aspartame.

Global health professionals concur that additional research is necessary before determining whether consuming aspartame is carcinogenic.

The JECFA “concluded that the evidence of an association between aspartame consumption and cancer in humans is not convincing,” according to Dr. Moez Sanaa, head of the WHO’s Standards and Scientific Advice on Food and Nutrition Unit, “but more research is required.”

Sanaa stated that the studies needed to be better and advised that they include repeated dietary questionnaires and prolonged follow-up in existing cohorts.

The director of the WHO’s Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, Dr. Francesco Branca, concurred, stating that “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.”

Branca emphasized the value of more research by stating that cancer is one of the significant causes of death worldwide.

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