'Safe limits' set on amount of Diet Coke you can drink without being harmed
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The World Health Organisation has revealed how much Diet Coke is safe to drink to avoid the potential risk of cancer.
Earlier this week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report which stated the sweetener aspartame - often found in chewing gum, yoghurts and 'diet' products such as Diet Coke - is 'possibly carcinogenic to humans' and may cause cancer.
It feels ironic to be writing this while sipping a Diet Coke, but thankfully for me - and other fans of the fizzy drink - there are reportedly 'safe limits' when drinking it, as long as you don't exceed a certain number of cans per day.
WHO body, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) linked the sweetener found in Diet Coke to a type of liver cancer.
Three studies were conducted; the first, unable to prove any link between aspartame and an increased risk of liver cancer, the second discovered 'some cancers in mice and rats were linked to aspartame' and the third resolved there is a 'slightly higher cancer risk' in people who ingest large amounts of the sweetener.
But how much is too much?
On Thursday (13 July) the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) ruled aspartame is safe as long as people don't consume more than 40mg per kg of body weight during their lifetime, as per CNBC.
So, as long as you're not necking back more than nine cans a day - WHO's nutrition and food safety division's Dr Francesco Branca advises against drinking between nine to 14 if you weigh 70kg (154 pounds) - then you should be all good.
And if you want to push it slightly, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set the limit slightly higher at 50mg of aspartame per kilogram of bodyweight per day.
It's been stressed the studies suggesting there is a link between aspartame and liver cancer are limited too.
Senior official at IARC, Dr Mary Schubauer-Berigan noted more research is definitely needed.
She said: "This shouldn’t really be taken as a direct statement that indicates that there is a known cancer hazard from consuming aspartame."
In a response to external safety reviews of the sweetener, the FDA states on its website: "The FDA is aware of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) conclusions about aspartame issued July 14, 2023. Aspartame being labeled by IARC as 'possibly carcinogenic to humans' does not mean that aspartame is actually linked to cancer.
"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)."
A spokesperson for the FDA also resolved: "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 the approved conditions."
So go, drink your Diet Coke - within limits - and be merry until more studies say otherwise.
LADbible has gone to Coca-Cola for comment.