December 8, 2023

As predicted in June, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer research arm has officially listed the nonsugar sweetener aspartame as a probable human carcinogen.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has added common artificial sweeteners to Category 2B, “probably carcinogenic” following an assessment by the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). For Humans,” which also contains aloe vera extract and traditional Asian pickles.

For context, the highest risk category 1 “carcinogenic to humans” includes tobacco, UV light, and processed meats such as bacon and hot dogs. Category 2A “probably carcinogenic to humans” involves high-temperature frying and red meat such as beef and lamb.

“There is no convincing evidence from experimental or human data that the limits established by the previous committee Internal, adverse effects after ingestion of aspartame.” .

The classification comes after an analysis of more than 1,300 research papers concluded that there is “limited” evidence that the substance is carcinogenic to humans, provided daily intake does not exceed 40 mg/kg of body weight.

For someone who weighs around 150 pounds (68 kilograms), they need to drink more than 9 cans of aspartame soda per day.However, scientists warn that as aspartame, a low-calorie sugar substitute, is used More than 6,000 products Globally, unaccounted consumption of sweeteners is prone to occur, including in toothpaste and chewable vitamins.

“The findings limited Evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and animals, and limited The mechanistic evidence for how carcinogenicity occurs underscores the need for more research to improve our understanding of whether consuming aspartame poses carcinogenic harm. “ IARC Monographs Program.

The findings point to limited evidence for hepatocellular carcinoma (a type of liver cancer) in humans, limited evidence for cancer in experimental animals, and limited evidence related to possible carcinogenic mechanisms.

“IARC’s classification was based on three observational studies of liver cancer based on self-reported aspartame intake,” said Dr Ian Musgrave, a senior lecturer at the University of Adelaide Medical School in Australia. “Data between the different studies are not consistent, and given the uncertainty in dosage and other factors affecting cancer, this finding may just be statistical noise.”

However, aspartame has been linked to other health concerns, including disruption of the gut microbiome, blood sugar regulation and potential weight gain.

Its usefulness in “diet” foods and drinks has also been questioned, early research Studies have found the substance to be 200 times sweeter than sugar and trigger sugar cravings.

Dr Moez Sanaa, WHO Lead for Standards and Scientific Advice, said: “JECFA also considered the evidence on cancer risk from animal and human studies and concluded that the evidence for an association between consumption of aspartame and cancer in humans Not convincing.” Food and nutrition stocks. “We need better studies with longer follow-up and repeated dietary questionnaires in existing cohorts. We need randomized controlled trials, including studies of mechanistic pathways related to insulin regulation, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, especially carcinogenesis sex-related research.”

“Cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally,” Branca added. “Each year, one in six people dies from cancer. Science is expanding to assess possible triggers or contributors to cancer, in hopes of reducing the number of cancers and the number of deaths. Aspartame assessments show that while safety is not commonly used Dosage is a major concern, but the potential effects have been described and need to be investigated with more and better studies.”

Although some areas continue to Stay away from aspartame On the product side, the scientific community says there’s no need to dump Pepsi Max down the sink just yet.

“For current consumers of diet drinks, the news does not cause major alarm,” said Alexandra Jones of the independent research institute The George Institute for Global Health. JECFA’s work confirms that normal Consumption levels appear to be safe. “.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of aspartame in 1974, Rejection of IARC assessmentindicating that this and other artificial sweeteners are safe to eat based on current guidelines.

“Aspartame is one of the most studied food additives in the human food supply,” a spokesperson noted. “FDA scientists have no safety concerns when aspartame is used under approved conditions.”

source: WHO, Simex, nature