WHO no longer recommends artificial sweeteners
“Aspartame”, one of the artificial sweeteners, may be carcinogenic. Non-sugar sweeteners are not recommended, because they do not provide long-term benefits for body fat loss.
Both are the results of the evaluation made by WHO at this stage. Since the sugar-free boom, the number of products using non-sugar sweeteners, including artificial sweeteners, has increased. It may have been a good ally for those who are concerned about sugar, as it is sweet and delicious but low in sugar, but it seems that a moderate amount is the key.
Artificial sweeteners and carcinogenicity
In July 2023, the WHO published its assessment of the health effects of aspartame. This was announced by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives of the International
Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
IARC classifies substances into the following four groups according to the strength of evidence of carcinogenicity.
“Group 1” means that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity to humans.
“Group 2A” is probably carcinogenic to humans.
“Group 2B” is potentially carcinogenic to humans.
“Group 3” substances cannot be classified in terms of their carcinogenicity to humans, meaning that there is no evidence that they are carcinogenic to humans or experimental animals.
Aspartame was classified as “Group 2B = Possibly Carcinogenic”, second from the bottom.
How much intake is safe?
By the way, aspartame is an artificial sweetener. It is used as a sweetener in a wide range of food and beverage products, including diet drinks, chewing gum, ice cream, yogurt, and
cereals. If you look at the ingredients of products that claim to be sugar-free, there is a high probability that aspartame is used.
“You choose low-sugar products because you care about your health, right?”
“Since there is a possibility of carcinogenicity, should we avoid products that use sweeteners such as aspartame?”
The above-mentioned joint expert committee set the acceptable daily intake at 40 mg per kg of body weight. As long as it’s within these limits, it’s safe.
In order to exceed the allowable daily intake, a person weighing 70 kg needs to consume 9 to 14 soft drinks containing 200 or 300 mg of aspartame, so if it is a typical intake, it is within the allowable amount and unlikely to exceed it.
Does replacing sweeteners have any effect on diet?
Aspartame, a representative of artificial sweeteners, may be carcinogenic. So, we were told that we don’t need to worry if our intake is moderate but not excessive.
If that’s the case, I wondered if it was okay to choose sugar-free products that use artificial sweeteners with peace of mind, but those organizations pointed out that the use of non-carbohydrate sweeteners to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases is not recommended.
Non-carbohydrate sweeteners include artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and natural sweeteners such as stevia, which do not contain glucose, so they do not raise blood sugar levels and have zero or few calories.
However, according to the WHO guidelines, replacing added sugars (monosaccharides such as glucose and disaccharides such as sucrose) with non-sugar sweeteners does not help in weight management in the long term. It has been suggested that long-term intake of carbohydrate sweeteners may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and adult mortality.
In other words, it’s not good to rely on them completely just because they are sweeteners that have no calories and don’t raise blood sugar levels. The WHO points out that, ultimately, cutting down on sweetness itself is beneficial for health.
So, it’s better to enjoy sweets in moderate amounts and as occasional rewards.
WHO “Aspartame hazard and risk assessment results released”
WHO “WHO advises not to use non-sugar sweeteners for weight control in the newlyreleased guideline”