NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 03:35
The sweetener aspartame is “possibly carcinogenic”, cancer researchers from the World Health Organization WHO report in a press statement. The sweetener has been widely used in soft drinks and food for about 50 years as a replacement for sugar.
At the same time, however, a group of nutrition experts from the WHO issued the advice that aspartame is safe to use, provided that the recommended daily amount is not exceeded. This advice was prepared together with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), another UN body. The recommended maximum intake will not be adjusted, say these researchers: asparame is therefore safe for consumers.
The label ‘possibly carcinogenic’ follows research by the IARC, the part of the WHO that researches cancer. They found “limited evidence” that aspartame intake is associated with the occurrence of liver cancer in humans and animals.
Aspartame’s current category includes over 300 other foods and other products, including aloe vera extract and “Asian-style” pickled vegetables.
Most people don’t need to worry about their aspartame intake, WHO nutrition expert Francesco Branca said at a news conference. For example, a 60-70 kilogram person would need to drink more than 9 cans of aspartame soda to exceed the recommended amount.
The organization has maintained a daily maximum of 40 milligrams of aspartame per kilogram of body weight since 1981, and that advice has not changed. But, Branca warns, “heavy users may want to consider cutting back. If you, as a consumer, have a choice between cola with sugar or sweetener, you should consider a third choice: drinking water.”