This sweetener in your diet coke may be declared ‘possibly carcinogenic’ by WHO | World News - Hindustan Times
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This sweetener in your diet coke may be declared ‘possibly carcinogenic’ by WHO

Jun 29, 2023 09:32 PM IST

Aspartame has no calories but has approximately 200 times sweeter than table sugar.

Aspartame, one of the world's most common artificial sweeteners, used in cokes for decades, has come under fresh scrutiny in the United States after a new research linked the popular sugar substitute to a possible increased cancer risk, according to a Washington Post report.

Aspartame is used in products from Coca-Cola diet sodas to Mars' Extra chewing gum and some snapple drinks. (Representative image/ Istock)
Aspartame is used in products from Coca-Cola diet sodas to Mars' Extra chewing gum and some snapple drinks. (Representative image/ Istock)

Moreover, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the World Health Organization's (WHO) are set to even declare a possible carcinogen next month, according to a Reuters report.

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Aspartame is used in products from Coca-Cola diet sodas to Mars' Extra chewing gum and some snapple drinks. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved aspartame for human consumption in 1981, but has since reviewed five times. Over 90 nations, including India, have approved its use, the report added.

Aspartame has no calories but has approximately 200 times sweeter than table sugar. According to a report, India's food safety and regulation body, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has recommended maximum permitted levels of the artificial sweetener.

The FSSAI has also mandated that products containing aspartame should clearly mention the name of the sweetener.

The increasing use of artificial sweetener has caused concern across the world. Meanwhile, the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) will hold a meeting in July where aspartame will be listed in July as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" for the first time.

According to the report, aspartame has been extensively studied for years. Last year, an observational study in France among 1,00,000 adults showed that people who consumed larger amounts of artificial sweeteners had a slightly higher cancer risk, according to Reuters.

Additionally, it followed a study from the Ramazzini Institute in Italy in the early 2000s, stating that some cancers in mice and rats were linked to aspartame.

In the past, similar IARC rulings for different substances have raised concerns among consumers about their use, led to lawsuits, and pressured manufacturers to recreate recipes and swap for alternatives. This has led to criticism that the IARC's assessments can be confusing to the public, the report added.

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