A recent report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that a group of 25 worldwide specialists has concluded that aspartame may have a “possible” connection to cancer in humans. The report, released on Thursday, highlights the findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which reviewed three significant human studies conducted in the United States and Europe.

After careful examination, the IARC identified a potential link between aspartame and hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer. These findings have raised concerns about the safety of aspartame and its impact on human health.

What is aspartame?

Aspartame, a popular artificial sweetener found in numerous food and beverage products, has been a subject of debate regarding its potential health risks.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has previously deemed aspartame safe for general consumption, the latest report from the IARC adds to the growing body of research suggesting a possible association between aspartame and certain types of cancer.

Brand names include Nutrasweet, Equal, and Sugar Twin. Since then, it has become a key ingredient in foods and beverages across North America, Asia, and Europe, data from the scientific journal Nutrients shows.

Foods that contain aspartame Here are some common foods and beverages that contain aspartame:

  • Chewing Gum: The list includes several chewing gum brands and flavors like Rev Gum Polar Mint, Sour Patch Kids, Starburst, Stride, and Trident.
  • Chips & Snacks: Doritos Spicy Sour Flavored Tortilla Chips are mentioned in this category.
  • Chocolate: Skittles Zero Sugar Original Sticks are listed under the chocolate category.
  • Coffee: Maxwell House International Suisse Mocha Cafe Style Beverage Mix is mentioned as a coffee product.
  • Cookies & Biscuits: Voortman Bakery offers a range of sugar-free wafers in flavors like chocolate, orange creme, strawberry, key lime, and vanilla.
  • Cooking Sauces: Gold’s Classic Low Calorie Borscht is a cooking sauce mentioned on the list.
  • Deli: Various deli items like pickled garlic, sushi chicken potstickers, and pickled ginger are included.
  • Digestive & Fiber Supplements: Meta Mucil offers fiber supplements in different flavors like berry and orange.
  • Frozen Fruit & Juice: Minute Maid Zero Sugar Lemonade and Pink Lemonade are mentioned.
  • Fruit Snacks: Enjoy Premium Li Hing Mango and Jade Lemon Strip are listed as fruit snacks.
  • Gels & Pectins: Assorted gelatin desserts, including Sour Patch Kids and Great Value brands, are mentioned.
  • Herbs & Spices: American Fresh Sushi to Go Ginger and Jade Li Hing Powder are listed.
  • Ice Cream: Fudgsicle the Original Fudge Pops and various ice cream bars and sandwiches from different brands are included.
  • Iced Tea: Various flavors of iced tea, including Brisk, Snapple, Lipton, and Turkey Hill, are mentioned.
  • Jam & Jelly: Doña Isabel offers strawberry jelly and vanilla flan custard.
  • Juice or Drink: Various drinks like soda, flavored water, fruit punch, and lemonade from different brands are listed.
  • Liquid Water Enhancer: Various postmix syrups and soda brands like 7 Up, Pepsi, and McDaid’s are mentioned.
  • Milk Additives: Clover Valley Hazelnut Flavored Coffee Creamer is included.
  • Nuts & Snacks: Li Hing Mochi Crunch & Nori Hurricane Microwave Gourmet Popcorn Treak and Shirakiku Hot Chicken Spicy Popcorn are listed.
  • Other Condiments: Vermont Sugar Free Butter Flavor Low Calorie Syrup is mentioned.
  • Other Drinks: Various soda brands like Coca-Cola, 7 Up, and Bundaberg are listed.
  • Powdered Drink: There are several brands of drink mixes available in different flavors, including Crystal Light, Kool-Aid, Wyler’s Light, and Hawaiian Punch.
  • Puddings & Custards: Various flavors of instant pudding and pie filling, including Jell-O and Great Value brands, are mentioned.
  • Sides: Tropical Assorted Sugar Free Gelatin is included.
  • Soda: A variety of soda brands like 7 Up, Coca-Cola, Bubba, and A&W are listed, including zero sugar and diet options.

Other notable examples include Crystal Light drink mixes, Skittles Singles to Go! Zero Sugar Drink Mix, Mentos Clean Breath Sugarfree Peppermint Mints, and Orbit Sugarfree Gum.

Some notable brands include Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Dr Pepper, Sprite, Crystal Light, and Schweppes, among others.

In terms of soda, there are numerous options such as regular and diet versions of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dr Pepper, Mountain Dew, Sprite, and various other flavors like cherry, vanilla, raspberry lemonade, and more. These sodas are available in different sizes, including cans, bottles, and multipacks.

The list also includes a range of flavored sparkling water beverages, such as Bonsai, Clear American, Signature Select, Super Chill, and Polar, among others. These beverages come in various fruit flavors like black cherry, peach, strawberry, grapefruit, and more.

Additionally, there are sports drinks like Energise and Mountain Dew’s energy drinks, as well as some prepared sushi options from brands like Healthy Sushi, Snowfox, Sushic, and more.

Does aspartame have health risks?

According to several studies, aspartame does not impact blood sugar or insulin levels, making it a popular sugar substitute in foods for diabetics.

Manufacturers have also used aspartame in reduced-sugar and sugar-free snacks, condiments, and beverages amid research that has linked excess sugar consumption to various cancers.