Does Aspartame cause Cancer?

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Aspartame causes cancer


What is Aspartame?

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than sugar and is used in more than 5,000 food products worldwide and some other daily use items like toothpaste etc. It has been approved for use in many countries around the world, including the United States and the European Union. It has undergone extensive testing and review by regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which have concluded that it is safe for consumption. Recently it has come under the scrutiny of the WHO as a potential carcinogen.


Why the controversy that Aspartame causes Cancer?

However recently there have been some concerns and controversies regarding the safety of aspartame, including claims that Aspartame causes Cancer. These concerns are primarily based on a few key studies and anecdotal reports, but they have not been supported by the overall body of scientific evidence.

One of the studies often cited in relation to aspartame’s potential carcinogenicity is a study conducted by the Ramazzini Institute in Italy. They reported an increased incidence of certain types of cancer, such as lymphomas and leukemias, in rats exposed to high doses of aspartame. However, the findings of this study have been heavily criticized by regulatory agencies and independent scientific experts due to several flaws in the study design and interpretation of the results. The doses of aspartame used in the study were also significantly higher than the acceptable daily intake for humans.

Numerous other studies, including extensive reviews by regulatory agencies, have not found any consistent evidence linking aspartame to cancer. The FDA, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and other regulatory bodies have concluded that aspartame is safe for consumption at levels within the acceptable daily intake.

What is Acceptable Daily Intake of Aspartame ?

The acceptable daily intake (ADI) for aspartame is the amount that regulatory authorities consider safe to consume on a daily basis over a lifetime without adverse health effects. The ADI is typically expressed in milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg bw).

The regulatory authorities have set different ADI values for aspartame based on their evaluations of the available scientific evidence. Here are some examples:

  1. United States: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set the ADI for aspartame at 50 mg/kg bw per day.
  2. European Union: The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has established an ADI of 40 mg/kg bw per day for aspartame.

It’s important to note that the ADI values are established with a significant margin of safety. They are typically set at levels well below the highest doses observed in animal studies that did not show adverse effects.

These ADI values are intended for the general population, including vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant women. However, it’s worth noting that some individuals may have specific sensitivities or health conditions that require them to limit or avoid the consumption of aspartame or other artificial sweeteners.

It is important to note that the perception of aspartame as a potential carcinogen may also stem from the fact that some individuals report experiencing adverse reactions to aspartame, such as headaches or digestive issues. However, these reactions are generally rare and not indicative of a carcinogenic effect.

As per the guideline released on 14th July by WHO there is limited evidence that Aspartame causes Cancer in humans, but the IARC classified artificial sweetener aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic” to humans (IARC Group 2B) and reaffirmed an acceptable daily intake of 40 mg/kg body weight.


Overall, the current scientific consensus is that the fact aspartame causes cancer is not entirely true and it is safe for human consumption within the recommended limits. If you have concerns about your personal intake of aspartame or any other food additive, it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian who can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances.

Now you can safely enjoy that favourite diet cola of yours but it would be wise to keep it to an occasional indulgence. Cheers!



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