WHO’s Announcement About Aspartame as Possibly Carcinogenic

WHO’s Announcement About Aspartame as Possibly Carcinogenic

If you pay attention to the latest research on healthy eating, you have probably seen the World Health Organization's (WHO) recent announcement classifying aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” and may wonder if you should be concerned.

Maybe or maybe not. The research on the health effects of aspartame is ongoing. Currently, some organizations have concluded that it may be carcinogenic and cause other health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. While other organizations have determined that it is safe when consumed in moderation.

Either way, the good news is that all GO4IT Health products are aspartame free.

What is Aspartame?

“The tumultuous history of the food additive aspartame began serendipitously thirty-five years ago. On the day that James M. Schlatter, a chemist, unintentionally discovered it, he was working on an anti-ulcer drug,” Harvard Library states. “As Mr. Schlatter mixed asparatic acid and phenylalanine, two naturally occurring amino acids that are the building blocks of protein, he stuck his finger in the mixture and, for some reason, decided to taste it. I licked my finger, and it tasted good. He later recalled. And with that, a new, low-calorie sweetener was born.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of aspartame - 200 times as potent as granulated sugar - in 1974, and it entered the market as a low-calorie sweetener in 1981. Many considered aspartame a replacement for saccharin, which was removed from the FDA's Generally Recognized as Safe list in 1973.

Aspartame is now found in more than 5,000 foods and drinks, including tabletop sweeteners, diet sodas, some chewing gums, and sugar-free, low-calorie desserts.

The World Health Organization's Announcement

On July 13, WHO's cancer research team, citing “limited evidence,” classified aspartame - “an artificial (chemical) sweetener widely used in various food and beverage” - as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

“Cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally. Every year, 1 in 6 people die from cancer. Science is continuously expanding to assess the possible initiating or facilitating factors of cancer, in the hope of reducing these numbers and the human toll,” said Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of the Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, WHO. “The assessments of aspartame have indicated that, while safety is not a major concern at the doses which are commonly used, potential effects have been described that need to be investigated by more and better studies.”

WHO also “reaffirmed the acceptable daily intake of 40 mg/kg,” meaning they deem it acceptable for a 154-pound adult to drink 9-14 cans of diet soda containing aspartame without any harmful effects.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responded, “The FDA disagrees with IARC's conclusion that these studies support classifying aspartame as a possible carcinogen to humans. FDA scientists reviewed the scientific information included in IARC's review in 2021 when it was first made available and identified significant shortcomings in the studies on which IARC relied. We note that JECFA did not raise safety concerns for aspartame under the current levels of use and did not change the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI).”

Aspartame-Free Products

If - based on the research - you decide to limit or eliminate aspartame from your diet, GO4IT Health products can help. All of our products - formulated by health experts and medical professionals, especially for weight loss and weight management - are aspartame free. Our products are made in the United States at special facilities to ensure the highest standards of quality and care.

GO4IT meal replacement shakes and bars, healthy entrees and fruit drinks, and more can help you lose weight, build muscles, and feel your best without worrying about the safety of aspartame.

Back to blog