Cans of PepsiCo’s Pepsi Zero Sugar soda are displayed for a file photo taken Wednesday, April 17, 2019, in Tuskeloa, Illinois.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration disagrees with the World Health Organization’s finding that the widely used soda sweetener aspartame probably causes cancer in humans, saying the studies used to reach that conclusion are flawed. I had “significant omissions”.
“Aspartame is one of the most studied food additives in the human food supply. FDA scientists do not have safety concerns when aspartame is used under approved conditions,” an agency spokesman told WH late Thursday. said shortly after O released his results.
A body of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO, found a possible link between aspartame and a type of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma after reviewing three large human studies in the United States and Europe.
Aspartame is used as a sugar substitute in about 6,000 products worldwide. Calorie Control Councila trade group representing artificial sweetener manufacturers.
Artificially sweetened beverages have historically been the largest source of aspartame exposure. Sugar substitutes are used in diet sodas such as Diet Coke and Pepsi Zero Sugar.
Aspartame is widely used because it is 200 times sweeter than sugar, which means drinks that taste like sugary products, but have fewer calories.
Dr. Marie Schaubauer-Berrigan, a senior IARC official, emphasized that the WHO’s classification of aspartame as a possible carcinogen is based on limited evidence.
Schubauer-Berigan acknowledged during a press conference with reporters Wednesday that the studies may have flaws that skew the results. He said the classification should be seen as a call for more research into whether aspartame can cause cancer in humans.
“This really shouldn’t be taken as a direct statement indicating that there is a known cancer risk with aspartame consumption,” Schubauer-Berigan said.
An FDA spokeswoman said the classification of aspartame as “probably carcinogenic to humans” does not mean that the sugar substitute is actually linked to cancer. Health Canada and the European Food Safety Authority have also concluded that aspartame is safe at current permitted levels, the spokesperson said.
A separate body of international scientists called the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives said Thursday that the evidence for a link between aspartame and cancer in humans is not convincing. JECFA is an international group made up of scientists from the WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
JECFA makes recommendations about how much of a product people can safely use. The organization maintained its recommendation that it is safe for a person to consume 40 milligrams of aspartium per kilogram of body weight per day over their lifetime.
An adult weighing 70 kilograms, or 154 pounds, would need to drink 9 to 14 cans of aspartame-containing soda per day to exceed the limit and potentially face health risks.
The US Department of Health and Human Services told the WHO in an August 2022 letter that JECFA is best placed to provide public health recommendations on the safety of aspartame in food.
This is because JECFA reviews all available data, both public and privately owned information, while IARC only looks at public data.
“Thus, IARC’s review of aspartame, by contrast, would be incomplete and could result in confusion for consumers,” Mara Burr, who heads HHS’s Office of Multilateral Relations, wrote in the letter. I wrote
The FDA has a slightly higher recommendation than the JECFA and says that it is safe for a person to consume 50 milligrams of aspartame per kilogram of body weight per day over their lifetime. A person weighing 132 pounds would have to use 75 packets of aspartame per day to reach this limit.