Ingredient in popular drinks could be a potential cancer risk according to new research
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According to research conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), an ingredient in diet soft drinks could potentially be a cancer risk.
Reuters reported that The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), WHO’s cancer research unit, will list aspartame as a ‘possible carcinogen’ for the first time ever from July onwards.
Aspartame is a common sweetener used in drinks, including Coke Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, Sprite Zero, Pepsi Zero Sugar and Mountain Dew Zero Sugar.
It’s even used in yoghurt and chewing gum.
The department is said to publish its findings next month, and while the report will include hazardous ingredients, it won’t outline the amount a person should consume.
That advice instead comes from the WHO expert committee on food additives, the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (Jecfa), which is set to release its findings next month as well.
“IARC has assessed the potential carcinogenic effect of aspartame (hazard identification),” an IARC spokesperson told The Guardian.
“Following this, the joint FAO/WHO expert committee on food additives will update its risk assessment exercise on aspartame, including the reviewing of the acceptable daily intake and dietary exposure assessment for aspartame. The result of both evaluations will be made available together, on 14 July 2023.”
The IARC also has two other labels for cancer-causing chemicals, including ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ and ‘carcinogenic to humans’.
However, evidence linking ingredients to cancer will be limited.
According to The Independent, businesses and regulators are already asking for clarification regarding the ingredient to avoid any confusion for the public.
However, there have been concerns about aspartame consumption for quite some time.
Professor Lawrence Young, an oncologist at the University of Warwick told The Sun: "The association of aspartame consumption with increased risk of cancer remains controversial.
“Many different studies have found no clear association or a very slight effect which is complicated by other underlying conditions such as diabetes,” he told the publication.
“Like many of the risks associated with diet and disease, this provides a warning that we need to be cautious about over-consumption of artificial sweeteners as we do excess eating of processed meat and other types of junk food.”