"WHO: Aspartame Safe as Sweetener Despite Liver Cancer Risk"
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has disclosed that studies conducted in Europe and the United States have identified a potential link between aspartame and liver cancer. However, the WHO emphasizes that the artificial sweetener poses minimal risk to consumers when consumed in reasonable amounts.
Understanding the Aspartame-Liver Cancer Connection
Dr Francesco Branca, Director of the WHO's Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, stated that the organization does not advise companies to withdraw products containing aspartame or consumers to completely cease consumption. Rather, the WHO encourages moderation due to the increasing use of sweeteners, including aspartame, as a response to the demand for reduced free sugars.
Call for Further Research on Aspartame and Health Risks
Despite ongoing studies suggesting a potential connection between aspartame and liver cancer as well as Type 2 diabetes, uncertainties persist regarding the precise relationship. The WHO experts stress the need for additional research to better comprehend the mechanism by which the sweetener may pose a slight increased risk. Recently published scientific journals, including The Lancet, examined the potential health effects of aspartame. Concerns regarding aspartame's safety arose when the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled it as "possibly carcinogenic to humans." However, the Joint UN Food and Agriculture Organization/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) confirmed that aspartame is safe at current levels.
Safe Usage and Recommendations for Alternatives
Aspartame, the most widely used artificial sweetener globally, has been a common ingredient in various popular consumables for decades. The WHO asserts that a safe daily intake of aspartame is approximately 40mg per day per kg of body weight, equivalent to 2,800mg for an average-sized adult. A typical can of a carbonated beverage with aspartame contains 200-300mg of the sweetener, significantly higher than what most individuals typically consume. However, the recommended maximum daily intake is significantly lower for young children, ranging from two to three cans per day. While studies have shown a slightly elevated risk of liver cancer associated with regular aspartame consumption, the evidence is not consistent across all analyzed groups. Furthermore, limited evidence from experiments on mice and rats suggests a potential link to cancer. Additionally, the analysis conducted by the WHO indicates an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes among individuals who regularly consume products containing aspartame, Dr Branca highlights that the WHO's recommendation is not to replace aspartame with other artificial sweeteners, but rather to opt for non-sweetened beverages whenever possible. The organization suggests that companies reconsider their product formulations and ingredient choices to reduce reliance on excessive sweeteners. The focus is on developing tasty products without the need for artificial sweeteners, signaling a shift towards alternative approaches rather than the creation of new products.