Is Aspartame Carcinogenic?- The Scientific Truth behind it


Image: The sampling of products made with Aspartame as sugar substituted Sweetener


The news on July 14, 2023

“IARC classified aspartame as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B) based on limited evidence for cancer in humans (specifically, for hepatocellular carcinoma, which is a type of liver cancer)”, a joint press release noted. It appeared on the FDA website.

On Friday, July 14, 2023, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer research agency classified the commonly used artificial sweetener aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” However, another UN committee reaffirmed that there was a safe daily level of consumption. 

In recent years, there has been ongoing discussion regarding the potential link between aspartame consumption and cancer. It’s essential to delve into the scientific evidence to understand this topic.

Aspartame and Cancer: Understanding the Scientific Evidence

Aspartame and cancer risks- There are numerous rigorous studies and consensus among regulatory authorities and scientific organizations worldwide. Those include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and World Health Organization (WHO)– there is no convincing evidence to support a causal relationship between moderate aspartame consumption and an increased risk of human cancer.

The studies on aspartame and cancer have included animal research and epidemiological studies. While animal studies with aspartame have suggested a possible connection, the evidence does not support such claims.

Epidemiological studies, which analyze large populations over extended periods, have failed to establish a consistent link between aspartame intake and cancer incidence. Similarly, experimental research on animals has faced criticism due to methodological limitations, inconsistent findings, and the inability to replicate results.

Multiple scientific reviews and meta-analyses examining the totality of evidence have concluded that there is no credible scientific support for the assertion that aspartame consumption leads to an increased risk of cancer in humans.

Moreover, respected cancer research organizations, such as the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), have stated that aspartame does not pose a significant cancer risk when consumed within the recommended limits.

It’s important to remember that regulatory authorities have established an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for aspartame. It represents the amount considered safe for consumption over a lifetime. Staying within the recommended ADI ensures a prudent and balanced approach to aspartame usage.

Aspartame finds its way to more than 6000 products and is a part of recipes as a sugar substitute. It is filling the gap when more Americans shy away from sugar. The reason is sugar causes inflammation and cause of obesity, diabetes, and part of the reason for Arthritis pain.

The FDA has established an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for aspartame, the amount considered safe for daily consumption over a person’s lifetime. The ADI for aspartame is set at 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.

How is the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for aspartame calculated?

To determine the maximum number of Diet Coke cans per day per the FDA’s guidelines, you must calculate your specific limit based on your body weight. Here’s the formula:

ADI (in mg) = Body weight (in kg) x 50 mg/kg

For example, let’s say a person weighs 70 kilograms:

ADI = 70 kg x 50 mg/kg = 3,500 mg

Now, you need to consider the amount of aspartame in a can of Diet Coke. A 12-ounce (355 ml) can of Diet Coke typically contains approximately 180 mg of aspartame.

To calculate the maximum number of diet Coke cans within the FDA guidelines, divide the ADI by the amount of aspartame in a can:

Maximum cans per day = ADI / Aspartame content per can

In this example:

Maximum cans per day = 3,500 mg / 180 mg ≈ 19.44 cans

Please note that this is a rough estimate, and it’s essential to consider that aspartame may also be present in other food and beverage products. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific health needs and circumstances.

The Bottomline

As with any health concern, consult healthcare professionals for personalized advice based on your circumstances. You may have a different sensitivity to the artificial sweeteners you prefer. 

By understanding the scientific evidence and separating fact from fiction, you can make informed choices about incorporating aspartame into your diet. It will not cause you undue concern about its impact on cancer risk. 

Remember, knowledge empowers us to make the best decisions for our well-being. We hope this post helps. Some people think: when in doubt, leave it out. 





Anusuya Choudhury

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