October 2, 2023

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Sweeteners: Aspartame is a ‘Potential Carcinogen’ but Safe in Moderation | Health News

The World Health Organization says sweeteners in diet drinks and other food items are a possible cause of cancer but are still safe to consume in moderation.

The sweetener aspartame is considered a “probable carcinogen” but remains safe when eaten in moderation and at levels already agreed upon. There are two groups associated with announced by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In reviews released early Friday, the World Health Organization’s cancer agency deemed the sweetener — found in diet drinks and countless other foods — a “probable” cause of cancer, while a separate expert group looking at the same evidence said It is still considered a safe sugar substitute in limited quantities.

One review came from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a special branch of the World Health Organization. The other report was from a group of experts chosen by the World Health Organization and another group of the United Nations, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The guidelines for using the sweetener remain unchanged.

We do not advise consumers to stop consuming [aspartame] WHO Director of Nutrition Dr Francesco Branca said on Friday.

“We just advise a little moderation,” he said.

In a press conference ahead of the announcement, Branca tried to help consumers understand the seemingly conflicting ads, especially those seeking artificial sweeteners to avoid sugar.

“If consumers are faced with a decision whether to have a cola with sweeteners or to have a cola with sugar, I think a third option should be considered – which is to drink water instead,” he said.

In its first announcement of the additive, the Lyon-based International Agency for Research on Cancer said aspartame was a “probable carcinogen.” This classification means that there is limited evidence that a substance can cause cancer.

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It does not take into account the amount a person would need to be at risk, which is being considered by a separate panel, the Joint WHO/FAO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), based in Geneva.

After conducting its own comprehensive review, the Joint Expert Committee (JECFA) said on Friday that it had no convincing evidence of harm from aspartame, and continued to recommend that people keep their levels of aspartame consumption below 40mg/kg per day.

This level was first set in 1981, and regulators around the world have similar guidelines for their populations.

Several scientists unrelated to the reviews said the evidence linking aspartame to cancer is weak. The food and beverage industry associations said the decisions showed aspartame is safe and a good choice for people who want to reduce sugar in their diets.

The World Health Organization said current consumption levels mean, for example, that a person weighing between 60-70 kg (132-154 lb) would have to drink more than 9-14 cans of soft drink per day to breach the limit, based on average Aspartame. content in drinks.

“Our results do not indicate that occasional consumption could pose a risk to most consumers,” Branca said.

He said the WHO is not urging companies to remove aspartame from their products entirely but instead calls for moderation by both manufacturers and consumers.

In a statement announcing the findings of the assessment, Branca noted that cancer is a leading cause of death globally, with one in six people dying from the disease each year.

“Science is constantly expanding to assess potential factors for initiating or facilitating cancer, with the hope of reducing these numbers and human losses,” he said.

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He added, “Evaluations of aspartame have indicated that although safety is not a major concern at commonly used doses, potential effects have been described that need to be investigated through more and better studies.”