Aspartame, One Of The World’s Most Common Sweeteners, Under Scrutiny From WHO

1 Jul 2023 • Aspartame, a mainstay of diet beverages for decades, is coming under new scrutiny amid fresh research linking the popular sugar substitute to a possible increased cancer risk. The move, reported by multiple media sources, is expected during a July 14 meeting of WHO research experts called the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

In May, the WHO released new recommendations advising against using non-sugar sweeteners to control weight, citing potential health risks including an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and early death in adults. They listed common sweeteners such as acesulfame K, aspartame, advantame, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia and stevia derivatives as ones to avoid.

Last year, a large observational study in France found that adults who consumed larger amounts of artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame and acesulfame- K, had a slightly higher cancer risk. The study followed more than 100,000 adults, assessing their self-reported medical history, demographic, diet, lifestyle and health data.

Critics of the study said no causal links could be established, and that observational studies are weaker than randomized clinical trials. The study included women who were on average 42 years old, mostly of healthy weight, fairly physically active and with high levels of education, making it hard to extrapolate to the broader population, critics say.

Two World Health Organization agencies are in the process of reviewing the safety of aspartame. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC and the organization’s Joint Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives, known as JECFA. The result of both evaluations will be announced on July 14, with many in the nutrition world predicting the WHO will convey new concerns about the sweetener.

Source: The Washington Post | Read full story

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