It appears that the sweetener aspartame, commonly present in a wide array of foods and fizzy beverages, is on the verge of receiving an official classification as “possibly carcinogenic” to humans. However, this classification fails to provide any insight into the magnitude of the associated risk, leaving us somewhat bewildered. It’s worth noting that aspartame is not the sole member of the “possibly carcinogenic” club; aloe vera, diesel, and pickled Asian vegetables also find themselves in the mix. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) unveiled this information on July 14.

This sweetener boasts a staggering sweetness level that is 200 times greater than that of sugar, allowing us to relish the taste without the calorie overload. You’ll discover it listed among the ingredients of diet or sugar-free delights like diet sodas, chewing gum, and select yogurts. It plays a significant role in popular beverages such as Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Pepsi Max, and 7-Up Free. Astoundingly, it sneaks its way into roughly 6,000 different food products.

Although aspartame has been in use for many years and has received approval from food safety organizations, it remains a contentious topic. The IARC has meticulously reviewed an impressive 1,300 studies on aspartame’s potential correlation with cancer. Rumor has it that it will ultimately be labeled as “possibly carcinogenic.” However, it is important to grasp that this classification does not illuminate the true level of risk that aspartame poses to our well-being. Rather, it highlights the strength of the available evidence. Both the IARC and another expert committee on food additives made official announcements, which were complemented by a publication in the Lancet Oncology journal.