Aspartame, an artificial sweetener, has been classified by the WHO as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”


Aspartame, an artificial sweetener, has been classified as potentially carcinogenic by the WHO, FAO, and International Agency for Research on Cancer. Here are some things to avoid.

The Sweetener Truth:

Since aspartame is a low-calorie sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar), it is a popular choice for people trying to cut calories or manage their diabetes. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is used as a sugar substitute in a variety of food and beverage products. Aspartame is made up of two linked amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, which are naturally present in many foods and processed by the body during digestion. Aspartame, however, is produced chemically and is regarded as an artificial sweetener.

Aspartame is legal for use in a wide range of food and drink products, including diet sodas or diet drinks, chewing gum, gelatin, ice cream, dairy products like yogurt, breakfast cereal, toothpaste, and medications like cough drops and chewable vitamins. However, even though aspartame is generally regarded as safe for most people, it is not advised for those who have PKU, a rare genetic disorder that prevents the breakdown of phe. The World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently published assessments of the health effects of the non-sugar sweetener aspartame that noted “limited evidence” for human carcinogenicity while IARC classified aspartame as possibly carcinogenic to humans (IARC Group 2B) and JECFA reiterated the acceptable daily intake of 40 mg

The Regulatory Landscape of Aspartame and Artificial Sweeteners:

According to Dr. Pooja Babbar, a consultant in medical oncology at the CK Birla Hospital in Gurugram, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are subject to FDA regulation in the US. While the European Union proposed a slightly lower “Acceptable Daily Intake” (ADI) of 40 mg per kg per day, the FDA has set the limit for aspartame at 50 mg per kg of body weight per day. As a result, we also need to look at how much aspartame each person consumes every day in order to determine if it may be carcinogenic. It is certainly carcinogenic to humans if the dose exceeds the ADI of 40 to 50 mg per kg per day.

To give you an idea, a 60 kg adult would need to drink at least 12 cans of diet soda each day to achieve that, she said. One issue is connected to aspartame, particularly for persons who have “Phenylketonuria.” The inability of the body to break down phenylalanine results from a hereditary disease. Aspartame includes the amino acid phenylalanine, which is why items containing aspartame are labeled with a warning that says “phenylketonurics should avoid this product because it contains phenylalanine.”

Understanding Phenylalanine and Aspartame:

Phenylalanine-containing items must be avoided by those with PKU, and aspartame is labeled properly to warn such people. Since some individuals have linked aspartame to negative health consequences throughout the years, it is important to use aspartame as part of a balanced diet in moderation, just like any other food additive or sweetener.

It is advised to speak with a healthcare expert if you have any particular health issues or queries regarding its usage.

In conclusion, understanding phenylalanine and aspartame involves recognizing the importance of managing phenylalanine intake for individuals with PKU, while also considering the balanced consumption of aspartame as part of an overall healthy diet. With proper awareness and moderation, aspartame can be safely enjoyed as a sugar substitute, similar to other food additives or sweeteners.

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