Recently International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has declared that use of aspartame is a possible carcinogen. IARC is the cancer research agency of WHO. This statement from IARC has created a lot of discussion about safety of consuming aspartame based artificial sweeteners. Let’s get some deeper insight in this.
What is aspartame and where all is it used?
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener consumed by some people who are either diabetic or non-diabetics to reduce sugar related calories. It is also present in many drinks, diet sodas gums, yoghurts, sweets, cakes etc.
What are carcinogens?
Carcinogens are substances which can potentially cause cancer. Substances like tobacco and alcohol are “definite” carcinogens. There are other substances where the cause relationship is not so well established, and these “may” cause cancer and are called as potential carcinogens.
What is the level of cancer risk with use of aspartame?
Although IARC has declared that aspartame is a possible carcinogen but the scientific evidence for this is very limited. It is a “possible” carcinogen and not a “definite” carcinogen.
Take home message
Since aspartame is a possible carcinogen, the answer lies in using it in moderation or as low as possible. Choose healthier food options. Eat more plant-based diet rather than processed food items. Drink naturally flavoured water rather than diet sodas. Avoid adding over top artificial sweeteners in daily diet.
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