WHO: Popular Soda Sweetener Aspartame Could Cause Cancer

The World Health Organization (WHO) is preparing to officially declare that the artificial sweetener aspartame may cause cancer.

Aspartame is added to thousands of diet sodas, sugar-free gums, and low-calorie foods.

Manufacturers have also used aspartame in reduced-sugar and sugar-free snacks, condiments, and beverages.

As more Americans shy away from sugar in recent years, artificial sweeteners have stepped in to fill the gap in people’s favorite recipes, with more than 6,000 products manufactured with aspartame.

However, aspartame will be declared a potential cancer risk, a bombshell report claimed today.

Reuters is reporting that the cancer research arm of the WHO is set to declare that the artificial sweetener is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has “assessed the potential carcinogenic effect of aspartame” and will release its findings on July 14, a representative at the organization told CBS MoneyWatch.

The IARC examines the cancer-causing potential of substances, while another WHO group oversees recommendations about how much of a product is safe for humans to consume.

It follows a major safety review into the artificial sugar replacement involving 1,300 studies.

Particular products containing aspartame — which entered the market in the 1980s — include Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, and Fanta, as well as Trident gum and Muller Light yogurts.

Some toothpastes, dessert mixes, and sugar-free cough drops also contain it.

The move will send shockwaves through the global food manufacturing market.

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Some of the world’s best-loved brands are affected.

A huge push to crack down on sugar over the past few decades has led to the mass usage of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.

Experts immediately questioned the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) decision.

Some are calling the classification system used by the WHO’s subsidiary body “dumb” and arguing that “the dose makes the poison,” according to The Daily Mail.

While several studies have determined aspartame to be safe in moderation, some research has linked aspartame consumption to cancer.

One observational study of more than 100,000 adults in France concluded that individuals who consumed larger amounts of artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, had a slightly elevated risk of cancer.

Aspartame may also cause headaches, seizures, and depression, some studies have shown.

The FDA and American Cancer Society, however, both still deem aspartame safe for human consumption.

Robert Rankin, president of the Calorie Control Council, an international association representing low- and reduced-calorie food and beverage, said there was context missing from the “misleading claims” from the IARC.

“Consumers deserve facts, and the fact is aspartame is safe and one of the most widely studied food ingredients, which is why the Calorie Control Council is gravely concerned about any unsubstantiated and misleading assertions that contradict decades of science and global regulatory approvals,” he said in a statement to CBS News.

According to the FDA’s acceptable daily limit for artificial sweeteners, an adult weighing 150 pounds would have to ingest more than 18 cans of zero-sugar soda a day to experience severe negative health consequences from aspartame.

READ MORE: Ex-WHO Official Raises Alarm over Global Pandemic Treaty

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